“Leave it alone” is best for summer canola storage in bins

Not turning or aerating canola in bins during the summer months may be the best approach in reducing the risk of spoilage if canola was cool and dry when it went in the bin, according to research conducted by a team of agricultural scientists from Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI).

“Over the course of two separate studies conducted in 2014 and 2016, we found little to no risk of spoilage when canola was just left alone provided it was cool and dry at the start of spring,” says Dr. Joy Agnew, Research Scientist – Agriculture & Bio-Products, PAMI.

Producers are storing increasingly more canola in bins during the summer months due in part to year-round delivery contracts, growth in market and production, and increased bin capacity. Determining the best management practices to maintain proper temperature and moisture in the bins during the prairies’ hottest months spurred new questions from producers, which initiated this research. This most recent project was funded by Government of Saskatchewan – Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Development Fund under the federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 program, Canola Council of Canada, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, and Manitoba Canola Growers.

Agnew and her team compared three common approaches to managing bin temperature and moisture: leaving it alone, no handling; aerating, forcing air through the bin; and turning, removing the canola from the bin and putting it back to redistribute cold or warm spots. They then monitored the temperature during June, July and August in three 3,500 bushel bins at one location using unique sensors installed inside the bin. They also intermittently monitored five additional bins at different locations using temperature sensing probes to collect data from a wider range of bin sizes and initial grain conditions.

“While this research does suggest less canola handling is better, it is still very important producers monitor the temperatures and moisture in their bins, particularly in the spring and summer when temperature differences are most likely to occur,” she says. “There are many variables that can affect the temperature and moisture in the bins, and producers must monitor the grain conditions on a regular basis.”

For a report summary and the complete research report, click here.