Canola combined during recent hot weather should be put on aeration to prevent heating, says Kristen Phillips, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. Canola harvested in very hot weather has to go on aeration to cool it off. Even if dry, hot canola can start to heat and spoil within weeks.
Canola at 10 per cent moisture is at risk of spoilage when put in the bin at 20 C. At temperatures above 30 C, which was the harvest temperature for a lot of canola binned over the past couple of weeks, the spoilage risk is that much greater, Phillips says.
Even canola binned at moisture contents below eight per cent may still be at risk at these high temperatures.
Green seeds and dockage, including canola plant material, weed material and insect parts, create additional start points for heating and can make the situation worse.
All canola should be conditioned immediately after harvest. Conditioning involves the movement of air through seed to ensure safe storage over a period of time. The basic recommendation is to put canola into aeration bins immediately after harvest and turn the fans on until canola has cooled to 15 C. If aeration bin space is not available, keep moving the canola from bin to bin until it cools. In fact, this practice is also useful for canola that has been on aeration. Moving canola after a couple weeks on aeration adds another level of security to make sure the highly valuable crop is safe.