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Air out canola to ward off spoilage: CCC

Canola growers who face variable weather during this year’s harvest will want to condition their canola by moving air through the stored crop to prevent spoilage, the Canola Council of Canada recommends.

In a release today, council specialist David Vanthuyne said spoilage could result from moisture migration and seed respiration in the bin, unless the binned canola is brought down to storage-safe temperature and moisture levels.

That especially goes for canola harvested at much above eight to nine per cent moisture, and for canola at temperatures above 25°C, said Vanthuyne, who works at Watrous, Sask.

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Canola growers will want to regularly monitor their bins for heating or mould growth, he said. As larger and larger bins are built, it’s possible for the crop in the bin to trap or generate more heat. Even dry canola at a warm temperature can be at risk, especially if green dockage is hidden in the harvested seed where it can create hot spots, he said.

Farmers will want to cool the seed to below 15°C and drop the moisture content to eight per cent, he said. Aeration and “turning” the canola can help, but if moisture levels are above 10 to 12 per cent, a farmer will need to think about heated air drying, he added.

Even then, canola growers should still monitor their binned crop all season long, Vanthuyne said. Fresh-harvested canola can hold a higher rate of respiration for up to six weeks before the seed goes dormant. Seed can then get mouldy or heat-damaged and can even ignite in some severe cases.

“This sweating stage is a very unstable condition for binned canola,” the council wrote.

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