We heard a report this week of tough canola starting to heat after just two days in the bin. This is a good reminder to put canola on aeration right after harvest, especially if it’s tough or hot or both. Waiting a couple weeks until all the combining is done may be too late.
Factors that can elevate storage risk:
Moisture. Moisture creates a more hospitable environment for moulds that trigger heating. Clumping is a sign of mould growth. Storage research found that canola seeds at 25°C and 10.6% moisture clumped together after 11 days and visible mould colonies appeared after 21 days. Note that this research was done in small tubes with uniform conditions. With variable conditions in most bins, clumping may occur more quickly in an on-farm situation. Read more in the Canola Encyclopedia.
Hot canola. Canola binned hot, even if it has low moisture, low dockage and low green, should still be put on aeration. This will even out the temperature throughout the bin, and help remove some of the moisture from respiring seed. Even at low moisture, air movements within the bin could concentrate this moisture. For safe, long-term storage, canola should be conditioned with aeration to less than 8% moisture and cooled to 15°C or less.
Green canola. Green canola seeds can increase the storage risk, even if canola is dry and cool. Monitor closely. Small shriveled canola seed, which often comes with high green seed, can mean smaller air pockets between seeds in the bin. Smaller particles will increase the resistance to air flow. This makes it even more important to leave the fan on as it will need to work longer to cool the entire bulk.
Weed seeds. Weed seeds tend to contain more moisture than canola seeds, especially if they are green or immature. These high-moisture seeds may not be enough to elevate overall grain moisture tests, but if these weed seeds congregate in pockets in the bin they can create localized hot spot for spoilage to begin — especially if that canola is also binned hot. Bits of green weed material in the sample increase the risk.
Chaff. Without a spreader in the bin, chaff tends to concentrate closer to the walls of the bin and fines closer to the centre of the bin. This distribution exaggerates airflow problems because air tends to take the path of least resistance. Concentrated areas of chaff, which could be a start point for spoilage, may be a more serious issue in larger bins.
Conditioning tips for stored canola
Tips for drying tough or damp canola
Canola Digest article on Storage Risk