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Hot April Heats Stored Canola

It’s time to check your bins – again.

With the warmer-than-usual April, air circulation patterns in your stored canola have changed, which could mean hot spots and an elevated spoilage risk.

“All bins should be checked, but especially large steel bins of 5,000 bushels or more,” says Jim Bessel, senior agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. “With the intensity of the sun and with 20 C days, we are starting to see some issues with spoilage – even for canola that went into the bin dry.”

For big bins, the issue is increased compaction. That pressure reduces air flow, and with less air flow, moulds can grow. Mould growth generates heat, which triggers the canola to heat and spoil.

Growers who put tough canola in the bin last fall must be extra vigilant. “It may have been the cold winter temperatures that kept that tough canola stable. Now with the warm temperatures, it’s at risk,” Bessel says.

When the sun warms the outside of the bin, warm air moves up near the outside wall and down through the centre of the grain mass. The cooler canola in the centre of the bin reabsorbs moisture, creating an area of higher moisture and temperature that is prone to rapid spoilage.

For bins without aeration and temperature-monitoring cables, growers are encouraged to turn the grain by augering one-third of the canola out of the bin. With this method, growers get a look at the condition of the stored product, and it interrupts any increase in temperature and moisture in the central core.

At this time of year, growers should stabilize bin temperature between 10 to 15 C. If stored properly, canola can maintain its quality for two to three years.

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