Some canola has been harvested and is already in the bin. When canola is put in a bin, there are risks. Even when the canola is at the moisture level of 10% (the moisture that is where canola is bought dry), there is potential for problems. Understanding the potential problems will help avoid storage issues through the winter storage season. The place to start when looking at storage problems is to look at the canola sample itself. If the sample has a lot of chaff in it, the risk of heating goes up. If the sample has green seed color or immature seed, the potential for heating goes up. A canola crop that is hot when it goes in the bin is also high risk for heating. A canola crop can respire in a bin for up to six weeks after combining. Respiration means that moisture will be moving around in the bin and creating potential hot spots in the bin. The bin that the canola is being stored in will make a difference with the potential for heating. Make sure the canola is going into a clean bin. Old rotting grain can create a hot spot to start the new canola heating. Smaller bins are less likely to heat than bigger bins. Wooden bins breath better so they will be less likely to have heating problems. Bins that have temperature monitoring systems can be watched and dealt with if temperature changes are noted. Bins with aeration can even the temperature and moisture out in a bin of canola. Aeration will help make sure the whole bin of canola is in condition as it heads into the winter. As the risk goes up for a specific canola sample, look for the safest storage that you have to hold this high risk sample. Once the grain is in the bin, use the tools that you have available to reduce the risk of heating. Temperature monitoring systems should be used to check for hot spots in the grain on a regular basis. If you don’t have temperature sensors in the bin, push some steel rods into the bin that can be occasionally pulled out and checked for temperature variation. Make sure that a rod is in the top of the bin and in the center. This is the most likely place to find heating. Once we get into winter, watch the snow on the top of the bin. If the snow has left the roof of one bin and not all the others, it is likely that there is a hot spot in the bin with no snow on the roof. Finally, once harvest is done, pull a load out of each bin. If canola is going to heat, it will most likely heat in the middle. When this load is being pulled out, have a look for bugs. If bugs are present, the bin needs to be dealt with. Managing canola in the bin is essential. Take time to do this right and you will have more quality bushels to sell at the end of the year.
By Dave Cubbon, P Ag