Canola to be stored on farm through summer will be safer if warmed up before outside temperatures get hot.
“The goal is to reduce the temperature differential between stored canola and the outside air,” says Angela Brackenreed, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. “This reduces the amount of moisture movement within the bin, and can prevent the concentration of moisture that can lead to spoilage and heating.”
Cold grain should be turned or aerated to raise the grain temperature to between 5°C and 10°C.
Joy Agnew, a grain storage researcher with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI), says now is a good time to warm up dry grain. “If you use air that is more than 10°C warmer than the grain, the air will lose its ability to hold its moisture as soon as it hits the cool grain. This means it will condense on the grain and possibly freeze — which would cause major airflow issues,” she says.
Agnew recommends turning the grain after it has been warmed. “If possible, entirely empty the bin and put it into another aeration bin,” she says. “If this is not possible, pull out several loads and put them back on top of the same bin. The goal here is to try to mix the grain to help even out the temperature variations and help warm up the grain a bit more.” She recommends that stored canola remain below 15°C.
The larger the bin, the greater the risk of spoilage if canola is not warmed. “Bins larger than 5,000 bushels are more susceptible to moisture migration because there will be a greater temperature differential between the outer edge and the core of the bin,” Agnew says.
Canola that went into the bin with moisture above 10 percent, even above eight percent, deserves extra attention this time of year. “Tough canola is at much higher risk, and it should be dried if it can’t be delivered right away,” Brackenreed says.
A hot air dryer will do the job quickly. Natural air drying with aeration fans can also work, but the ideal conditions for this technique are when outside air temperature is higher than 15°C and humidity is lower than 65 percent.
Agnew adds that canola dried with a hot air dryer should be cooled to 15°C for storage.