How to check bins

September 20, 2017 - Issue 26

Monitor bins closely during the first six weeks after harvest and then continue to check stored canola regularly until delivery. This is especially true for higher risk bins (those without aeration or that contain high temperature, high moisture, high dockage or high green canola).

Make sure stored canola cools to 15°C or lower throughout the bin. If stored canola temperatures plateau or start to rise while outside air cools through the winter, it can signal the start of spoilage. It only takes one small hot spot to start a chain reaction that can spoil a whole bin.

How to check:

1. Cycle. The best method, even with bin monitoring cables, is to remove about a third of the canola. This disrupts the moisture cycle and helps to stop any heating or spoilage that may have begun in the central core. While unloading, feel and smell canola as it comes out of the bin. Check for visual abnormalities such as sweating. Run another moisture and temperature test. In the absence of adequate temperature sensors, this is probably the only effective way to determine if core temperatures are still high in large storage structures.

2. Use bin monitoring cables. These give a quick assessment of temperature (and some also offer moisture) readings at nodes throughout the bin. One cable has a coverage diameter of 20 to 24 feet. Bins with a diameter greater than 24 feet will need at least three cables to adequately monitor grain temperature. Cables may not detect small hot spots, so cycling can offer some extra assurance.

3. Probes. Probing through doors or roof hatches may uncover hot spots near the bottom and top of the bin, but cannot show canola condition through the central core and all sides. Be careful and consider your own safety when climbing bins to probe grain. Reduce your risk of falling by using appropriate safety equipment such as a harness.

Further reading

Canola in bags

Canola Watch