Alert: Check bins regularly to keep canola safe

Some growers have reported rising temperatures in their canola bins.

Growers are encouraged to check all canola bins as soon as possible. Rising temperatures inside a bin can quickly lead to heat-damaged canola. While heated pockets can start very small, going unnoticed for days and perhaps weeks, they can eventually ruin a whole bin if not stopped. Cooling the bin can save a lot of money in lost grade and lost delivery options.

Reasons for the increase in reports of heated canola are wide ranging, but generally come down to moisture migration and convection currents occurring in the bin. Unconditioned canola, particularly canola that went into the bin at high moisture, high temperature and/or with high amounts of green dockage or green seed, greatly elevates the risk.

What to do? Occasionally operating aeration fans on cool days is a safe bet to ensure temperatures in the bin are dropping and are uniform for the winter months. Temperature cables are a good way to monitor whole bins, but they will not always detect initial hot spots, so it is wise to physically check higher-risk bins by transferring a portion of the bulk. This can also break up any areas of elevated temperature. Hand probing through doors or roof hatches is unreliable for finding hot spots near the core of the bin, but at this time of year areas of elevated moisture and temperature are likely to be at the top central core. When transferring, move at least one third of the canola out of a bin.

Feel and smell the canola as it comes out of the bin. If canola has started to spoil, start looking for delivery options. Many of the companies on this list will buy heated canola.

Does your storage measure up? Cool conditions in the fall make it difficult to dry canola using aeration alone. Is it time for a heated air system or a dryer? For more on storage considerations, check out the Canola Encyclopedia, the Canola Storage videos and the Storage Risk article in Canola Digest.