Canola heating

Canola is heating up. That’s good news if we’re talking prices. But it’s bad news for canola in the bin.

“We’re getting regular reports this month from growers who have lost whole bins to heating. Some have lost multiple bins,” says Jim Bessel, Canola Council of Canada senior agronomy specialist in Saskatchewan. “Periods of warm weather the past couple of weeks may lead to greater instability and potential for heating damage. And since a lot of canola went into storage with high moisture or high green counts, this increases the likelihood of spoilage.”

All canola bins and bulk storage bags should be checked. While lower grade canola is at higher risk, all canola — including No.1 canola that went into the bin dry and cool — has potential to spoil.

Checking bins requires a physical transfer of canola from one bin to another. “Hand probing through doors or roof hatches is unreliable for finding hot spots near the core of the bin,”  Bessel says. “A good rule is to move one third of the canola out of a full bin. But if green counts are high or you have a sense that the bin is at risk, transfer the whole bin.”

Feel and smell the canola as it comes out of the bin. If the bin does not have temperature-sensing cables, this is probably the only effective way to check for heating, Bessel says.

If canola has started to spoil, start looking for delivery options. Growers looking at locking in delivery contracts should make sure spoilage has not already resulted in a reduced grade.

There’s an old expression in the canola business — “Sell it or smell it.” That expression has proven accurate for many growers this year.  For a list of companies that buy green canola, click here.

The brown kernels in this crush strip are heated. Crushers are reporting higher than normal levels of heated canola this year. Photo courtesy the Canadian Grain Commission.

Questions and Contacts


If you have general questions about Canola Watch, direct them to Jay or 807-468-4006.

If you have questions on regional issues, contact one of the following Canola Council of Canada regional agronomists or provincial oilseed specialists:
Derwyn Hammond, resource manager, crop production,, 204-729-9011
Jim Bessel, senior agronomy specialist, Central Saskatchewan,, 306-373-6771
Tiffany Martinka, agronomy specialist, Eastern Saskatchewan,, 306-231-3663
Clint Jurke, agronomy specialist, Western Saskatchewan,, 306-821-2935
Troy Prosofsky, agronomy specialist, Southern Alberta,, 403-332-1412
Doug Moisey, senior agronomy specialist, Alberta,, 780-645-9205

Murray Hartman, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development,, 403-782-8024
Kerry Clark, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture,, 250-784-2559
Venkata Vakulabharanam, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture,, (306)787-4668
Anastasia Kubinec, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives,, 204-750-2717

This report is supported by each of the provincial canola grower associations. For more information on some of their activities, check out the following links:
The Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC) has a free e-newsletter called Alberta Canola Connections. and click the sign-up icon on the right site of the homepage.
In Manitoba, sign up for the Manitoba Canola Growers Association newsletter at Canola Growers E-update by
For information on activities in Saskatchewan, visit SaskCanola at

Published on February 17, 2011