Mar. 24, 2014, Winnipeg, MB – CWB is building its first grain elevator west of Portage La Prairie, in Bloom, Man.
The elevator is expected to be ready to receive grain for the 2015 harvest. According to a news release, once completed, the state-of-the-art facility will feature industry-leading railcar loading times and 33,900 metric tonnes (mT) of storage.
The elevator will feature a 17,400 mT workhouse with cleaning facilities, and 16,500 mT of steel storage capacity. A 130-car loop track will facilitate fast and efficient car loading at up to 60,000 bushels/hour. The elevator will be serviced by the CN mainline.
Mar. 18, 2014 - To help farmers identify available grain storage locations across the province, the Manitoba government is developing a grain storage listing service.
In a news release, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) minister Ron Kostyshyn said the service will be up and running by the end of the week, and accessible at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture.
The grain storage listing service will work similar to the province's current online hay listing service. If producers have available storage that could be used in the event flooding becomes a risk, they are encouraged to contact their local GO office.
MAFRD is also working on completing a review of flood-prone areas and will be contacting farmers as a precaution to ensure grain from those areas can be moved if required. The minister also noted road restrictions will be eased this spring so at-risk grain can be transported.
Mar. 3, 2014 - The backlog of grain shipments that has left sellers with unfilled orders and stuffed storage bins has many Western farmers facing a cash shortfall just weeks ahead of planting season, according to a story in the Globe and Mail.
The number of farmers seeking cash advances through a federal government program has risen by 35 to 40 per cent as growers look for ways to pay for seed and fertilizer, while much of last year's record crop sits unsold in grain bins amid a shortage of rail cars.
The investment will improve storage capacity and traffic flow by removing some existing storage and adding additional storage, the company said in a press release. "The new layout improves flow and allows future storage expansion and intake capacity as market conditions dictate," the release said.
Lambton Conveyor Ltd. from Wallaceburg is the manufacturer of the new equipment beign installed and will manage construction of the project. Completion is expected in September 2014 and in time for fall harvest. When completed, the company says there will be more than 700,000 bushels of grain storage for the co-operatives member-owners and customers in the Thamesville area.
The seminars bring together a selection of industry leaders and experts to discuss topics of interest in the grains and oilseeds industry. Topics for discussion include:
- Tips to properly store canola
- Fundamentals of grain storage management
- New market economics: Know what the market is telling you and how you can get paid for storage
For more information or to register, contact your local UFA Farm & Ranch Supply store at least three days prior to the event.
The first is the construction of a new high throughput grain terminal near Grimshaw, Alta. The concrete facility will be developed with a 104 railcar loading capability and approximately 30,000 tonnes of grain storage. Preliminary site work is planned to start this fall.
The second project involves the expansion of Viterra's grain terminal in Grassy Lake, Alta. Storage capacity will increase by 14,000 tonnes to 36,500 tonnes, along with operational improvements to increase logistical flexibility and efficiency.
This is the latest in a series of infrastructure improvements by Viterra. In May, the company announced that it is investing more than $20 million to upgrade four of its Saskatchewan grain terminals at White Star, Humboldt, Waldron and Ituna. It has also recently completed similar expansions at Gull Lake, Sask. and Fairlight, Sask.
Neglected canola bins are at greatest risk. All canola should be conditioned right after harvest, and checked at least a couple of times in the first four to six weeks to make sure the temperature is cool and stable.
"The safest bet is to assume that all canola is at risk. To put canola in the bin and forget about it really isn't the best option," says Keith Gabert, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. "When heating occurs, it is often a surprise because the grower didn't expect that particular canola bin to spoil. They checked their tough canola, they checked their hot canola, but assumed the relatively cool and dry bin was safe."
Green seed and dockage increase the risk. And bins that are dry or cool on average may contain a few loads that are tough or hot. "Tough canola from a slough bottom or a little green material that gets into the bin can be enough to start isolated heating that can eventually damage a whole bin," says Gabert.
Adding to the risk this year is that, with a bumper crop, more canola may have gone into bins without aeration. Immediate aeration is recommended to lower the temperature and even out moisture. Canola not on aeration should be watched regularly.
Probing grain through the bottom and top hatches is one way to check bins, particularly bins without monitoring cables. In fall and winter, moisture migrating through the grain is most likely to concentrate at the top of the central core, so probing the top will be required.
Gabert recommends a composite sample of half a dozen probes. Use a probe on a pole so you can get into the central core. "Probing the top of a bin can be awkward, so please use a safety harness to reduce the risk of falling," Gabert adds.
A more effective and probably safer way to check canola is to remove at least one third of the grain from the bin. This takes more time than probing, but it also exposes canola to cool fall air, reducing its temperature.
Be hands-on when moving the canola. Watch for clumping. Sniff for the musty or burned smell of spoilage. Feel for temperature differences as the grain comes out of the bin. "If anything seems off, move the whole bin," Gabert says. "Moving canola around could be a challenge this fall if growers have no extra bins to move it to. In that case, growers may consider delivering the highest risk canola as early as possible."
For growers holding out for higher prices, safe, long-term storage is key. "However, holding out for higher prices only works if the canola also maintains its high quality," say Gabert. "That is why it's important to check all bins. For bins of concern, taking time to unload a third or more of the bin to cool it down and check for damage is definitely worth the hassle when you consider its value."
The ideal canola conditions for safe long-term storage are temperatures throughout the bin of 15 deg C or lower, and moisture at or below eight per cent.
For more on canola storage risks, go to www.canolawatch.org, the site of the CCC's free agronomy newsletter, and search for an article called "Top 10 risky situations for canola storage."
It’s a situation Albert, Paul and Ken Wagner, brothers who together grow grain and oilseeds near Stony Plain, Alberta, know well. Short storage space for about 100,000 bushels of grain and looking to store more fertilizer on-farm, their decision to buy a grain bagger six years ago instead of constructing new bins was based on sharp financial calculations. But, they have since learned that grain bags offer hidden side benefits: convenience, flexibility, time savings and – for farmers who make the leap to storing fertilizer as well – very considerable input cost savings.
“Switching to grain bagging, especially switching fertilizer storage to bags, needs a bit of outside-the-box thinking,” says Albert Wagner. “But, if you can make the mental leap, there’s a fit on most farms that do a fair volume of production, in particular if the land is spread out. There are downsides to using grain bags, but we think they are manageable and the upsides certainly outweigh them.”
The Wagners’ decision-making process started with a “back of the napkin” cost calculation comparing building traditional bin space versus buying bagging equipment.
Six years ago, Albert Wagner estimated that constructing traditional steel bin storage cost in the range of $2 per bushel, or $200,000 for 100,000 bushels of storage space. Given their stage of life, Wagner estimated financing the bin over a decade at six per cent per year, or an additional $120,000, bringing the total cost to $320,000. He then estimated that at the end of the imagined decade, the bin would be worth in the range of $75,000, leaving a total residual cost of $245,000, or $2.45 per bushel of storage over 10 years.
Then, he estimated the costs associated with bagging grain. At the time, a bagger cost about $26,000 and an extractor about $27,000. Using the same borrowing estimates (six per cent per year over 10 years), Wagner calculated financing costs of $31,800. The bags themselves cost eight cents per bushel per year, or $80,000 over a decade for 100,000 bushels of grain. Even if residual value of the machinery were $0 after a decade, the total cost of the grain bag storage would be $164,800 over a decade, or $1.65 per bushel. Comparing the $2.45 per bushel for traditional storage versus $1.65 for grain bagged storage, Wagner calculated an annual savings of $802 and a total savings over a decade of about $8000.
“But the real savings is in the decreased cost of trucking and manpower,” he adds. “Storage in the field means you don’t have to truck to a bin yard, which in our case was quite a distance away from certain fields. Using grain bags in the field significantly decreased our turn-around time and increased our overall efficiency.”
Wagner says this method of storage offers grain quality benefits as well. So long as the bag is sealed correctly and has no holes, air cannot move inside the bag, which means that heat and moisture do not migrate, and hotspots – common in a traditional bin – cannot develop. Further, because the bag is long and low, the heat caused by downward pressure in a traditional bin is not an issue, resulting in another reason for decreased spoilage.
“We found we can store grain at a higher moisture content: we put barley in at the end of September at 19 per cent moisture. There’s increased surface area so it cools faster, and it’s also airtight, so it doesn’t go bad,” says Wagner.
Based on the first harvest’s grain bagging success, the three Wagner brothers wondered if they might be able to store their fertilizer similarly.
“People are leery about putting fertilizer in bags because they see this pile of fertilizer, which is a pile of money, and they say ‘if this doesn’t work, I’ve got a problem.’ You do have to go on a bit of trust that ski-doers aren’t going to run over your bags; that the wildlife will stay away,” says Wagner. “But, using a bagger to store fertilizer offers a number of advantages, so we decided to try it even though no one else that we knew of was doing it.”
The biggest benefit of bagging fertilizer is unlimited storage space, which means a producer can buy more cheaply in the offseason. Wagner estimates the cost saving of buying 600 tonnes of fertilizer in the fall, including financing the necessary money, compared to buying the same amount of fertilizer in the spring covered the capital cost of the bagger and extractor in just two years.
And, bagged fertilizer offers enormous convenience. Farms located far from fertilizer dealers, like the Wagners’, can have fertilizer not only on-farm and waiting come seeding time, but in handy locations throughout the property to decrease turn-around time.
Six years of bagging grain and fertilizer have taught the Wagners some valuable tricks for success. For best results, choose a knoll as a storage location so that the ground slopes away from each bag end to ensure the ends don’t ever end up sitting in water. When loading, carefully monitor the stretch of the bag to make sure it doesn’t burst, especially if you are filling bags in cold weather when the material has less stretch. And, check them often for damage: they are not a good fit for someone who plans to be away for long periods over the winter.
The Wagners view grain bags as temporary storage only and try to move the grain during the winter, mostly because the risk associated with any kind of bag damage goes up once precipitation turns from snow to rain. An added reason to move the stored product over the winter is that convenient in-field storage locations at harvest are supremely inconvenient come seeding.
Most importantly, Wagner says, “Really, really clean up spills, even if the spill is only a shovel full. If wildlife figures out what you have in the bag, you have a problem. We’ve had deer find stuff under 18 inches of snow. If they don’t know what’s in the bag, they’ll leave them alone.”
Coyotes like the view from the top of a grain bag, and their claws can punch holes in the material. Wagner has found that laying a plastic snow fence along the incline at the tail end of a filled bag is enough to keep them off. Likewise, net wrap from hay bales seems to help keep birds from landing on filled bags because they don’t like the uneven surface.
The Wagners’ good success suggests grain bagging may suit other Prairie producers. If you are in the market for storage and have an open mind, run numbers specific to your own operation to calculate whether bagging grain and fertilizer could have a fit on your farm.
A recently completed preliminary study in Saskatchewan and a longer-term study in Manitoba are working towards answering that important question.
Making sure storage guidelines are up to date
In a phone survey of about 1,050 producers across the Prairies in 2009, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) found that over a third of respondents had encountered a problem with canola spoilage in storage on their farms at some point over the years.
“Those results were a bit of an eye-opener for us,” says Kristen Phillips, CCC agronomy specialist in Manitoba. “That’s part of the reason we’ve had a focus on both research into updating the safe storage temperature and moisture recommendations, and also extension to really try to drive home the importance of conditioning canola, so growers get the seed down to safe moisture and temperature conditions if they are planning to keep it in the bin for a few months.”
One of Phillips’ areas of specialty is harvest and storage management. She identifies several trends that are driving the need to ensure up-to-date storage guidelines. One trend is that more growers have higher oil content canola. The Canadian canola industry is approaching its goal to increase canola’s average oil content from 42.5 per cent in 2006 to 45 per cent in 2015. For instance, for No. 1 canola from Western Canada, the five-year average oil content for 2007 to 2011 was 44.4 per cent. (In 2012, the average was 43.5 per cent, relatively low due to a combination of temperature, moisture and disease conditions.)
“Some research in other countries, most notably Australia, has found a difference in terms of safe combinations of temperature and moisture for higher versus lower oil content canola,” notes Phillips. “That information suggests a higher oil content may make canola a little more susceptible to spoilage in storage, but we need research under Prairie conditions to be more definitive on how much the recommendations should change with higher oil content.”
Another trend is that more farmers are using larger bins, which could affect such factors as the possibility of compression damage to the seeds, and the ability of the grain mass to insulate and trap heat in the bin.
Phillips also sees certain trends that might in some cases cause growers to store their canola for longer periods, increasing the possibility that spoilage could eventually occur. “With the changes to the Canadian Wheat Board, it is conceivable that in some situations on some farms, growers may now look at marketing their cereals earlier to meet their cash flow requirements, and may hang on to their canola for a longer time to capture pricing opportunities.
“Also with the high-stability oil varieties of canola for the trans fat-free frying market, there are often some limitations on when they can be delivered. That sometimes leads growers to store at least a portion of that production for a longer time. And as the breeding programs look to increase the oil content of those varieties, it’s that much more important to know the implications for safe storage conditions,” adds Phillips. “High-stability canola is a higher value product, so the penalty for losing quality in storage is that much bigger.”
Preliminary study raises some questions
The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) conducted the recently completed study in Saskatchewan. This lab study had two components: testing the compression effects of storage in tall bins; and evaluating the effects of temperature and moisture content on stored canola. The study was funded by SaskCanola, Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund and PAMI.
With more farmers using larger bins these days, the PAMI researchers were interested in evaluating the compression effects on high-oil and regular canola seeds stored in tall bins. The high-oil sample they obtained had 47.4 per cent oil content, while the regular sample had 45.3 per cent, so the difference in oil contents between the samples wasn’t as large as they had hoped. They tested the high-oil sample at 7.3 per cent and 10.5 per cent moisture content, and the standard sample at 5 and 8.4 per cent moisture content. They incrementally added weights on top of each sample to simulate the force applied by the weight of a column of canola seed stored in a bin up to 100 feet high.
The four samples were evaluated for germination, seed damage and deformation, and oil exudation. None of the samples showed any negative effects due to the compression.
“Some studies in other countries had indicated that higher oil content canola was compressing, especially in tall bins, but our results didn’t bear that out. Of the samples we tested, there wasn’t a significant difference in compressibility,” says Nathan Gregg, a project manager with PAMI.
However, he cautions, “This isn’t a definitive result. It wasn’t a multiple replicated trial, so there might be varietal differences or differences in moisture contents, temperatures and so on that could have an effect in conjunction with a higher oil content.”
Phillips also reminds growers that, whether or not further testing confirms compression is not an issue, storing canola in taller bins still requires special attention. “The greater depth of the seed in taller bins means greater static pressure and that means more resistance to airflow through the seed when it comes to aeration.”
In the study’s other component, the PAMI researchers tested four categories of canola: high oil (47.4 per cent oil content), high dockage, high green count, and standard clean canola. The researchers conditioned the samples to seven moisture contents (7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 10 and 11 per cent) and then stored them in small-scale chambers at five temperatures (-5, +5, 15, 25 and 35 C).
They monitored the temperature within each sample to watch for heating as an indicator of spoilage. Although they didn’t detect any increase in sample temperature, some samples were visibly mouldy when removed from the chambers after two months.
The samples were tested for several oil-quality characteristics related to spoilage, such as acid value and free fatty acid level. The results suggested that oil quality in the samples had deteriorated somewhat but had not necessarily gone beyond industry-acceptable limits over the two months. However, the trends in the results were not firm enough to develop moisture content and temperature guidelines based on oil content.
Despite additional testing to examine the methods used in the tests, the researchers weren’t able to conclusively explain some aspects of the results. In particular, Gregg is concerned that they hadn’t detected heating in the mouldy and deteriorating oil-quality samples. He points out, “Farmers rely on heating as an indication of spoilage. If temperature isn’t an accurate or timely indicator, then that’s a big problem.” He would like to see further investigation to clarify to what extent grain temperature is a reliable early indicator of different spoilage processes.
Even if it turns out that early steps in spoilage processes aren’t necessarily signalled by a temperature change, Phillips thinks temperature monitoring in larger bins is still a valuable practice for obtaining information on current conditions in the bin. “My concern would be if the PAMI researchers had found heat-damaged seed, which is a big downgrading factor for the grower, without a shift in the temperature. I would like to see them explore that a little further, and determine if that was the case.”
Phillips adds that grain monitoring technology is advancing and many companies now offer monitoring cables with sensors for both moisture and temperature, which would shed more light on the actual conditions within a bin.
“As the oil content of any crop increases, the percentage amount of other material – protein, carbohydrate and fibre – in the grain is less. Oil does not absorb moisture; only the non-oil materials absorb moisture. So you would expect that, as the oil content increases, the grains would spoil faster at much lower moisture contents,” explains Dr. Digvir Jayas, a grain storage specialist in biosystems engineering and vice-president (research and international) at the University of Manitoba.
Jayas is leading the Manitoba study, which is expected to finish this year. One of the objectives of this lab study is to develop moisture and temperature guidelines for safe storage of high-oil canola. The study is funded through the Canola/Flax Canadian Agri-Science Cluster. The other members of the research team are Dr. Noel White with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Dr. Fuji Jian, Chelladurai Vellaichamy and Ke Sun at the University of Manitoba.
The researchers are testing three high-oil hybrids at four initial moisture contents (8, 10, 12 and 14 per cent) and stored at four temperatures (10, 20, 30 and 40 C) in small-scale chambers with controlled temperature and humidity conditions. The three hybrids are NX4-105 (45.4 per cent oil content), InVigor 5440 (47.1 per cent) and 45H29 (45.4 per cent).
During the 20-week storage period, samples were tested regularly to evaluate the degree of spoilage based on germination, mould and free fatty acid value.
The results so far indicate NX4-105 and InVigor 5440 samples could be safely stored for 20 weeks at 10 or 20 C at all of the moisture contents except 14 per cent. However, for 45H29, the samples at 12 or 14 per cent moisture content were already in poor condition after two weeks of storage at 10 or 20 C. The researchers are doing further tests with new samples to see if 45H29 requires special attention for storage or if the early spoilage was due to a problem in the particular sample used.
As expected, spoilage was greater at 30 and 40 C. According to the germination tests, high-oil canola at 8 per cent moisture content should be stored for less than 12 weeks at 30 C and less than four weeks at 40 C. At 10 per cent moisture, it should be stored for less than six weeks at 30 C and less than two weeks at 40 C. At 12 or 14 per cent moisture, high-oil cannot be safely stored at 30 or 40 C.
Based on the results so far, Jayas advises, “Eight per cent should be the recommended moisture content for storing canola; 10 per cent would not be safe for long-term storage.” The criterion of this safe storage recommendation is either a 20 per cent drop in germination from its initial value or the appearance of visible mould.
Jayas also notes, “Under the current guidelines, farmers are not penalized if they sell canola at 10 per cent moisture content. So they usually try to store it at close to 10 per cent, even though there’s a greater risk of spoilage. If they stored it at 8 per cent, then it would have 2 per cent less moisture and they aren’t compensated [for the lower tonnage]. As an industry, I think we should seriously look at perhaps giving farmers a premium if they reduce the moisture content to 8 per cent, because the canola would then have a longer storability.”
Although the CCC hasn’t explored this idea of pricing based on moisture content, Phillips thinks it might be a challenge to come up with a universal recommendation that fits every situation. “From a grower’s standpoint, the benefit of a lower moisture content for maintaining quality in storage comes if you’re planning to store it over a longer term. If you’re planning to deliver it relatively soon, then [being able to sell it at between 9 and 10 per cent moisture] gives you the opportunity to harvest a little sooner.”
Phillips adds, “I think it comes down to the growers having a good relationship with the companies buying their seed. The quality of the seed that you’re delivering is always part of the negotiation, and part of that quality is the moisture content that it’s been taken off at.”
She is leery about the idea of adding moisture to drier canola seed to raise the moisture content closer to 10 per cent and bring the weight up. “It might add some value, but it might instead be detrimental if you lose a grade or two on a portion of your seed.”
For now, for safe longer-term storage of higher-oil or regular canola, 8 per cent moisture content or less is preferred. But Phillips emphasizes, “Canola is likely going to need some conditioning almost regardless of the moisture content, particularly these days.
“With larger farms and more acres to cover and the shift to larger equipment, we have really increased our capacity to harvest larger volumes of canola in a shorter period of time. Our combining capacity, in terms of the acres and tonnage per hour, is probably the greatest during the hottest parts of the day when the canola is the driest. So a big proportion of your grain is likely going to be at an elevated temperature. It’s important to condition it to bring down that temperature even if it is testing dry,” she says.
“We have certainly seen individual instances where canola coming off hot has started to heat [in the bin], even though it was down around 7 or 8 per cent moisture. When you get grain temperatures around 30 C or more, canola can be pretty unstable even at lower moisture contents.”
The Canadian Grain Commission reminds producers they can prevent treated seed contamination by following these precautions:
- When possible, store treated seed in separate bins.
- Clean all equipment and bins after seeding and before harvest.
- Visually inspect equipment and bins for treated seed:
- Before harvest
- Before transferring grain between bins
- Before transferring grain to a truck or railcar for delivery
Health Canada has set maximum residue limits for chemicals in Canadian grain. Any grain exceeding these limits can be condemned. This means that the grain cannot enter the food or feed system and is destroyed.
Under the Canada Grain Act, a licensed grain handling facility cannot receive grain that is contaminated and may refuse to accept delivery of any grain that is believed to be contaminated. As well, the Canada Grain Act prohibits delivery of grain that is contaminated.
If treated seed is found in a shipment at the terminal elevator, the shipment will be held until the Canadian Grain Commission completes a chemical analysis.
Any delays caused by treated seed can result in additional cost to grain handlers or producers. For example, if a producer car is contaminated, extra charges such as storage charges or costs related to potential contamination of other grain in the facility, resulting in loss of the grain's value, could be passed on to the producer.
"Although this year was not as warm as the preceding summer, there is ample potential for stored grain insects to infest bins as grain comes in from harvest," explains Brent Elliott, Infestation Control and Sanitation Officer.
Even before harvest begins, insects may be attracted to bins if there is enough debris for them to feed on. Producers can prepare their empty bins for storage by:
- Ensuring bins and areas around bins are clean and free of debris
- Repairing or sealing any cracks or crevices. Even small amounts of grain can attract insects.
- Treating bins with a registered insecticide
- Cleaning and treating aeration plenums and spaces under bin floors where debris may collect and attract insects.
To maintain overall grain quality and minimize insect pest problems once grain is in storage, producers should dry grain before storing it, if necessary, to bring it to the recommended moisture content.
The Official Grain Grading Guide's tough and damp ranges for cereal grains are:
|Grain||Tough (%)||Damp (%)|
|Wheat, all classes||14.6 - 17.0||Over 17.0|
|Oats||13.6 - 17.0||Over 17.0|
|Barley - malting||13.6 - 17.0||Over 17.0|
|Barley - food, covered||13.6 - 17.0||Over 17.0|
|Barley - food, hulless||14.1 - 17.0||Over 17.0|
|Barley - general purpose, covered and hulless||14.9 - 17.0||Over 17.0|
Producers should also:
- Use aeration to help control the heat and moisture of grain in storage, particularly if grain is stored at a high temperature.
- Bring grain temperature below 15°C and moisture content to recommended level as quickly as possible.
- Keep the temperature of grain low and uniform, below 15ºC.
- While daytime temperatures remain high, run fans only at night.
- When air temperature is cooler than grain, run fans 24 hours to cool and dry grain.
- If using aeration, keep the surface of the grain inside the bin as level as possible to avoid the collection of moisture in the cone.
- Monitor grain routinely to ensure insects are not becoming a problem.
June 11, 2013, Winnipeg, MB - Richardson International Limited is investing $40 million to further enhance its Richardson Pioneer network of grain handling and crop input centres across Western Canada. This investment includes increased grain storage, high-speed fertilizer blenders, a fertilizer distribution centre and the creation of four new crop input locations.
This is the latest in a series of significant investments Richardson has made to expand its operations across the country. On May 1, the company acquired 19 grain elevators, 13 crop input centres, an export terminal in Thunder Bay, Ont. and Viterra's oat and wheat milling business. In April, Richardson announced it is investing $120 million to expand its grain terminal in Vancouver. Richardson is currently increasing capacity at its canola processing facility in Yorkton, Sask. by 25 per cent and also recently announced plans to expand its canola processing facility in Lethbridge, Alta.
In 2013, Richardson plans to add 14,000 MT of storage capacity to each of its elevators in Carseland, Alta., Crooked River, Sask. and Shoal Lake, Man., increasing capacity at these facilities between 54 and 68 per cent. Since 2007, Richardson has been focused on increasing storage capacity at its Richardson Pioneer grain facilities and 18 have been completed since that time.
Richardson is also further investing in its crop inputs business. Four former Viterra grain elevators - South Lakes (Stony Mountain) and Red River South (Letellier), Man., Kindersley, Sask. and Lacombe, Alta. - will each receive high speed blenders, fertilizer storage and a 6,000-square-foot chemical and seed warehouse to become full-service crop input centres. Richardson is building a 35,000-tonne fertilizer distribution centre at Carlton Crossing (Saskatoon), SK. The company is also adding six high-speed fertilizer blenders at its Richardson Pioneer locations in Oyen and Magrath, Alta., Kamsack, Saskatoon and Shellbrook, Sask. and Shoal Lake, Man.
The importance of aeration during a harvest when climatic conditions are hot and dry is not always considered, and this can result in overheating due to moisture migration. In this article, we will examine a common problem experienced during a hot and dry harvest when aeration is not utilized properly: insect, mite and mould infestation.
Both situations (overheating and infestations) can be avoided by the use of small amounts of air, typically 0.1 to 0.2 cfm/bu, moved through the grain mass to lower and control the internal bin temperature.
Insects, mites and moulds
Failing to protect grain from insect infestations may result in a loss of quality, a price that may be too high to pay considering the relatively low cost of prevention.
In the past, producers have relied on a wide assortment of chemical treatments including protectant dusts, insecticides, fumigation processes and control insect problems. However, with the use of modern aeration equipment we can control pests in a much more gentle and preventive program. Simply put, by controlling the temperature of the grain mass through the use of air we can inhibit the development of pest problems.
The insects, mites, and mould that cause grain to start heating and lose quality are inactive at low temperatures. Insects become inactive and cease to lay eggs below 8 C (49 F), mites below 3 C (37 F), and moulds become inactive below -8 C (17 F).
Cool the grain
Generally speaking, grain should be at a moisture content that is below the allowable for long-term storage. As for temperature, grain could be above 20 C, so it needs to be cooled down as quickly as possible after being loaded into the bin. It is advisable to cool down the grain to a temperature below 15 C as soon as possible after placing it into the bin.
This is because at 15 C the ability of insects to lay their eggs and develop begins to be reduced. If aeration fans are turned on immediately after the grain is harvested it is possible to have the internal temperature below 15 C in slightly less than two weeks. It is very important to note that grain that is not aerated can remain warm for months, allowing insects to survive the winter. The convection currents created by this warm air may promote condensation, sprouting (heating), and mould growth in grain that is not cooled immediately. These conditions are attractive to the development and growth of pests and will help sustain their existence.
The above-mentioned practices are aimed primarily at controlling the laying of eggs and the development of pests. More severe and cold temperatures need to be attained in the bin for total elimination (killing of the pest).
For further information, go to www.grainguardian.com.
December 27, 2012 - Product segregation codes and product codes are numeric codes created and used by the Canadian Grain Commission and grain industry stakeholders.
Product segregation code – 4–digit numeric or alphanumeric code indicating the product's grade
Product code – 2–digit numeric code indicating grain type and country of origin
If Canadian grain had been blended with imported grain, the grain is coded as CIO (Canadian and imported origin) product. In this case, the segregation code indicates the pair of origin countries of the blended grain.
Search for Product segregation codes
Jul. 13, 2012, Calgary, AB - Canadian grain farmers will soon be able to better monitor conditions in their grain storage containers, which will help them protect their valuable crops. Agriculture Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced federal support for Mifarm.ag Management Inc. to commercialize a grain management technology that uploads real-time data on grain silo conditions to a cellular network so that farmers can better protect their crops from spoilage and theft.
"This technology will help farmers monitor the quality of their stored grain so they can get the best price for it when it goes to market," said Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux. "In agriculture, knowledge is power, and this investment will give farmers access to an innovative management tool to help improve their bottom line and continue to drive the Canadian economy."
Grain monitoring protects grain value from loss by rot, insects, and theft. A remote monitoring system generates significant savings over traditional on-site inspections and can help deliver a premium to farmers for their product. The project forecasts the manufacturing and installation of 300 systems in 2013 and thousands more by 2016. The project is expected to create 15 full-time positions, mostly in management, marketing, and sales support.
"Thanks to this support from the Government of Canada, Mifarm.ag will be able to offer the grain farming community in Canada a product that will insure the quality of the grain stored," said Gary Gunthorpe, President of Mifarm.ag. "Further, this advanced technology will provide added security for farmers by reducing the risk of theft of their stored grain."
The On-Farm Asset Monitoring Service project will commercialize Mifarm.ag's remote monitoring system. Sensors located in silos monitor grain volume, temperature, relative humidity, and control fans. Information is communicated by means of a cloud-based database that farmers can access via web portal and smart phone applications.
This $750,000 investment is from the Agricultural Innovation Program-a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011, and it is part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. The Program aims to boost the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector. For more information about this and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit www.agr.gc.ca.
About Mifarm.ag Management Inc.
Mifarm.ag allows farmers to monitor their stored assets (grain, fertilizer, water and/or fuel), as well as monitor their temperature and humidity from anywhere via any device that has internet access, such as a PC, smartphone or tablet. Visit Mifarm.ag for more information.
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