Spring Canola Storage: It’s All In The Numbers

Two numbers should be on the minds of producers with canola in their bins – eight and 15.

“For long-term storage canola needs to be kept below eight per cent moisture and 15C,” says Canola Council of Canada agronomist Matthew Stanford. “As oil content goes up, the potential for storage issues increases, so with the high-oil crop harvested in 2008 it is even more important to watch bins carefully this spring.”

With spring comes warmer temperatures, and that can lead to spoilage and seed damage, says Stanford. 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 which is prone to rapid spoilage.

“If canola is being stored in bins without aeration and temperature-monitoring cables, augering a load out of the bin will allow producers to have a look at the condition of the stored product,” says Stanford. “Doing this will also interrupt any increase in temperature and moisture in the central core.” Remember that large storage structures are at greater risk for heating.

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

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