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‘Canola harvested with either green canola or cereal seeds or green plant material increased the risk of spoilage,’ says Neil Blue, provincial crops market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. ‘And some canola has already been reported as spoiling in storage.’
Most parts of the Prairies received some late season rain. Generally, that rain was too late to help with crop yields, as most plants were already mature. However, those rains stimulated widespread plant growth.
That green growth led to harvest delays and difficulties, particularly for canola. Standing canola was stimulated to grow after the dry summer, leading to late flowering and even some seed development in immature pods. In the absence of a killing frost, swathed canola soon had fresh canola growing into the swaths.
‘Although canola for marketing purposes is considered dry at 10% moisture, safe longer-term storage moisture levels are below 8%. If it is binned at high temperatures, canola can even spoil at 6% moisture,’ explains Blue.
After being placed into storage, canola respires for a month or more, and this respiration can release moisture, which in turn can cause heating. Aerating canola during this respiration period will reduce or eliminate the chance of spoilage.
Some producers also “turn” their canola by removing some canola from each bin, let it sit on a truck for a day or more, then return that canola to the bin. A recommended time to do this is as outside temperatures turn colder. Aerating and turning will help to even out the temperature of the stored canola and break up the natural temperature and moisture flow within the bin.
‘At historically high canola prices, producers need to protect the integrity of their valuable crop in storage,’ says Blue.
For more information on managing stored crops safely, the Canadian Grain Commission has a variety resources to help producers manage moisture, temperature and insects.
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