How long to store canola in bags

Bags are loaded for the University of Manitoba's canola bag storage study.
Bags are loaded for the University of Manitoba’s canola bag storage study.

Harvest bags are best used as a short-term storage solution under Prairie conditions.

University of Manitoba researchers made the following recommendations after a three-year bag storage study:

—Canola stored in bags at 8% moisture can be safe in bags for up to 10 months.
—Canola at 10% initial moisture can store in bags for ≤ 7 months.
—With canola at 12% initial moisture, unload bags before ground thaw.

Cold winter temperatures will increase storage safety. The smaller diameter of the grain bag may also mean that grain cools faster than in a bin, and that hot spots may be localized. Check bags often through the storage period, feeling for temperature changes. If temperature is not cooling, pay close attention. If temperature starts to rise, empty it immediately.

Other considerations:

Probes can detect temperature increases in the middle of the bag, but probe holes can let in moisture and oxygen. Seal holes after probing.

Check for animal damage that can provide entry points for moisture.

Put bags in a well-drained area and with good all-season access. Bags in a low area or on a hill surrounded by low land may be difficult to unload quickly in the spring.

Further reading:

Time for November bin checks