Feasibility of storing canola in silo bags (harvest bags)
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Silo bags are a recently-developed temporary grain storage system that is becoming more widely used in Western Canada without any scientific information about the effect of changing conditions over time on seed quality. The main goal of this study was to examine the conditions that would allow safe storage of canola in these bags in the Canadian Prairie provinces. Canola at three different moisture contents (m.c.) 8.9, 10.5 and 14.4% (wet basis), which represent dry, straight and damp classifications, were stored in silo bags for 40 weeks and seed germination, free fatty acid value (FAV), and moisture content of canola were analysed every 2 weeks along with carbon dioxide concentrations of intergranular air and temperature of canola. For dry grade canola, the germination was maintained above 90%, and FAV stayed within 1.5 times the initial value. However, the germination of damp canola dropped to below 80%, and FAV doubled its initial value within 8 weeks of storage. Another study was conducted for two storage years (2011-12 and 2013-14) to determine the changes in grain quality over time while storing 12% moisture content canola seeds in silo bags. The germination of canola seeds at most parts of the silo bags stayed above a safe level up to the end of the winter season. At the top layer of the silo bags, germination of canola seeds decreased to below 30% and FAV increased more than 2-fold of initial values during summer storage. A polynomial regression model was developed using field data to predict CO2 concentration inside a silo bag with canola. The coefficient of determination of this regression model was 0.76 and had a root mean square error (RMSE) value of 0.196. The standardized coefficients indicated that initial moisture content was 3.9 times more important than storage temperature for CO2 prediction. Permeability to CO2 and O2 of the silo bag material was determined using a specially designed testing unit and the permeability of silo bag material to CO2 was 21.61 ±1.50×10-6 m3 m d-1m-2atm-1, and for O2 was 1.95 ± 0.36×10-6, m3 m d-1m-2atm-1 at room temperature.