Canola School: Storing and drying a high-moisture crop

As growers continue to plug away at harvesting remaining canola acres, a lot of the crop already in the bin is in less than ideal condition.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Canola School, Canola Council of Canada agronomy specialist Angela Brackenreed offers management tips for growers who have canola in bins that could be 15 to 16 per cent moisture and higher.

Using natural aeration to dry canola at these moisture levels is not an option, but Brackenreed encourages growers to aerate to break up any hot spots, even-out conditions in the bin, eliminate any potential convection currents, and use low temperatures to try and stabilize the crop. Aerating the crop may seem counter productive and expensive but it can prevent hot spots from forming in the bin.

At the elevated moisture levels some growers are managing, checking bins weekly is not unreasonable, she adds.

Moisture levels can be reduced through high temperature drying. Another option for farmers is to dry the crop in the spring when natural aeration is available, notes Brackenreed. But with a long winter ahead there is a high potential for spoilage in high moisture canola.

Brackenreed says the best advice for growers is to intensively manage the crop in the bin over the coming months. Monitor bins, turning them frequently and talk to buyers to know at what moisture levels they are willing to accept canola. There is an economic penalty associated with delivering high-moisture canola but growers need to decide whether they are willing to off-load some of the storage risk.

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