Planning crop storage before it comes off the field

As harvest kicks off, getting the crop off the field is important, but paying attention to how and where it's stored is equally as important.

Agronomy Specialist Angela Brackenreed with the Canola Council of Canada says producers put a lot of work into getting the crop into the bin and it's horrible to lose quality after it's in there.

Plan ahead

She says there is plenty to think about with bins even before the combine starts.

“Ensure they are clean, free of insects, other grains and mold,” Brackenreed says.

She says getting both the moisture content and temperature down becomes the focus as canola is taken off the field.

“It’s really critical for that safe storage of canola that we condition it down to eight per cent and ideally down to 15C or lower.”

Kevin Serfas, who farms in the Lethbridge, Alta. area, took barley off earlier than usual this year.

Think outside the bin

While he keeps a close eye on the grain that's stored to ensure the moisture and temperature are low, he also came up with a different solution to help him get the crop off and manage what is going into his bins at the same time.

“When we started harvesting, the grain was 35 to 36C in temperature, so we weren’t overly excited about putting it into aeration bins to cool it off because I need those bins later in the harvest,” Serfas said. “So with that stuff, we were making sure we were doing straight sale off the combine.”

He says that works fairly well for a certain percentage of the crops, adding the key is about planning ahead on how much will be sold right off the field and what is going into storage.

“It costs money to put it in a bin," Serfas says. "It costs money to take it out of the bin. It costs money to truck it both ways and storage is expensive to build.”

Bottom line

Brackenreed says it's important for monitoring to keep accurate records of what went into each bin and its condition on storage.

“We can quickly forget the condition of grain that went into which bin and forget which bin is what," Brackenreed says. "So if you have a good record of that you know ‘Bin D’ really needs extra attention and more monitoring than ‘Bin A’.”

Article by: Craig Lester