Babysitting High-Maintenance Canola in the Bin

November 4, 2016

As if canola harvest hasn’t been hard enough with all the snow and rain, the work won’t end when this crop enters the bin.

It’s going to require some babysitting.

“Number one when you’re taking off tough grain like this is it’s not ‘put it away and forget it’. It’s a 24-hour job type of thing. You need to be thinking about it,” emphasizes Nathan Gregg, project manager with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute.

In addition to monitoring and turning the grain frequently, under-filling bins if space is available will help with conditioning and reducing risk, he says.

“Any reduction in grain height that we can do obviously helps to allow better air flow if we’re doing aeration or drying through that grain mass,” he notes, in this Canola School episode, filmed at the Canola Discovery Forum in Winnipeg last week.

Since cool temperatures don’t have the capacity to remove as much moisture, some producers are adding heat to their aeration systems. Air should be at least 10 degrees C to have good drying potential, but not higher than 20 degrees to avoid roasting the oilseed.

While there are differing recommendations for when to run aeration fans — during daytime or at night, or all the time, Gregg says the answer just depends how the question is asked.

“The short answer is there are different strategies about how to optimally handle the grain most efficiently,” he explains. “In my perspective, running the fans all the time is the safest bet. It’s not necessarily the most energy efficient, or the fastest, but it’s the safest. You can’t screw up because you’re constantly changing that air and you won’t end up stalling the moisture front within the grain mass.”

Ultimately, the goal for safe long-term storage is to have canola in the bin at 8 percent moisture and less than 15 degrees C.

“We want to make sure we’re monitoring it, first off, just so we don’t lose it when we’re not paying attention,” he says.

Check out this CanolaWatch piece some more in-depth info on drying and storing tough, damp canola.

Canola School videos are produced by Real Agriculture.

You can find all of the episodes on Real Agriculture's Canola School page

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