The most recent issue of Canola Watch, a digital publication put out by the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), includes spring drying tips for high-moisture canola. With the advent of spring, warmer weather is on its way, which is bad news for moist canola in storage.
“There is a lot of high-moisture canola on farms this spring and most of it will have to be managed before delivery,” says Angela Brackenreed, agronomy specialist with the CCC. She says farmers probably shouldn’t rely on being able to deliver high-moisture canola to elevators in time to reduce the risk.
“This is a real challenge, which is why we’re talking about it now,” Brackenreed says. “With the sun now packing more heat, high-moisture canola could become volatile in the bin.”
Here are some steps you can take to manage high-moisture canola:
- Check all of your bins: while research shows that summer-stored dry canola is best left alone once it’s in the bin, the same is not true for moist canola. Take out a load from each bin to check for heat and damage.
- Use any available on-farm infrastructure to protect stored canola. If you have access to a grain dryer, make use of it; otherwise, add supplemental heat to aeration systems. Propane- or diesel-powered powered heaters will improve drying capacity significantly. Unheated air will not help dry canola when the temperature is 10 C or lower, but will instead increase the risk of spoilage.
- Once outside air is consistently above 0°C for extended hours each day, use the supplemental heaters to bring incoming air to at least 15-20°C. Joy Agnew, former grain storage researcher, has said that air at 18 C will dry the canola five times faster than 10 C air.
- Turn canola in the bins every few days to encourage drying with supplemental heat. For speedier drying, remove some grain from the bin – this could reduce the drying time by half.
- Ensure the warm, moist air carried by airflow through the bin has adequate ventilation to escape. Inadequate ventilation in the headspace will result in condensation on the top layers of grain, which increases the risk of spoilage and damage.
For more tips on how to grow and manage canola, visit canolawatch.org/.