Alberta Bulletin

Alberta Bulletin

Evaluating energy efficiency of
on-farm grain conditioning systems

Team Alberta (a working collaboration between Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission), is working with 3D Energy Limited and the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute to assess the energy consumption of grain drying in Alberta, funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

As part of a three-year study, select in-bin supplemental drying systems and heated air-drying systems in Alberta were monitored during the 2019 harvest season to assess the typical energy consumption that farmers experienced. The long-term objective of the study is to fill the data gaps related to the efficiency of in-bin supplemental heating systems and heated air dryers that Alberta farmers use. This information will assist on-farm decision making and guide government programs and policies.

A total of 36 in-bin systems and five continuous grain dryers are being monitored for this study. However, only 32 in-bin systems and three continuous dryers were utilized in 2019. Of the 32 in-bin systems, 22 are direct-fired natural gas systems, seven are indirect-fired diesel or natural gas-fired (four are diesel and three are natural gas), and three are heated using solar air collectors. Energy consumption per tonne of moisture removed (specific energy) was the chosen energy performance metric. This metric allows for an easy comparison between different types of systems regardless of initial grain moisture, final grain moisture and the volume of grain dried.

Observations from the 2019 grain
conditioning study include:

  • Variable efficiencies among in-bin
    supplemental heating systems.
  • Indirect-fired in-bin supplemental heating systems had high efficiencies in year one.
  • In-bin supplemental heating systems that ran higher supply temperatures than suggested displayed higher efficiencies.
  • Some heated air-drying systems had higher efficiencies than specified.

Years two and three will focus on increasing the data in order to better understand the variables and impact on efficiencies. Next steps include:

  • Additional measurements of in-bin systems to better understand variables impacting efficiencies.
  • Testing differences between indirect and direct-fired systems to understand the impact on efficiencies for in-bin supplemental heating systems.
  • Understanding the impact on grain quality with higher in-bin supply
    air temperatures.

Regardless of the type of in-bin supplemental heating equipment and operating method, producers should consider some of these practices for their setup:

  • Monitoring: Understanding the condition of the grain moisture content and temperature will help guide management decisions for fan and heater control strategies.
  • Ventilation: Ensure adequate headspace ventilation is available to allow the warm, moist air to be escape. A “rule of thumb” for the minimum required area is one square foot of vent space for every 1000 cfm of air flow.
  • Cooling: Grain should be cooled to less than 15°C after drying for safe long-term storage. Cooling will also remove some moisture, so drying may be complete when moisture is within 0.5 per cent of target.
  • Turning: Consider turning the bottom grain once the average bin moisture is dry to even out the moisture content in the bin.
  • For more information on the grain conditioning project or for the full report on the year one results, contact Shannon Sereda at

Alberta Canola: connecting
with growers online

COVID-19 has created too much uncertainty and restrictions for Alberta Canola to host our traditional fall run of 12 Powering Your Profits in-person events across Alberta this fall.

The FarmTech 2021 Conference has also been cancelled, and that means a change for Alberta Canola’s 31st Annual General Meeting in January.

Grower Engagement Meeting

December 1, 2020 | 9:30-10:30am

Join us online for an update on Alberta Canola’s activities, audited financial statements, and budget for the coming year.

This single online event is designed to be an easy way for growers to get the information they need leading up to Alberta Canola’s 31st Annual General Meeting.

We have chosen to keep the online event focused on our activities in a concise format. For more details on the Grower Engagement Meeting please visit where you can find links to our annual report video and publication, and to register for the meeting.

Alberta Canola 31st Annual General Meeting

January 26, 2021 | 9:30-10:30am

The 2021 Annual General Meeting will be held online. This marks the first time that canola growers in Alberta will be able to participate in, and vote at, the Annual General Meeting without needing to be physically present.

We are grateful to Alberta’s Marketing Council that oversees the operations of commissions in Alberta for allowing this online opportunity. Regardless of where you live in Alberta, we are looking forward to bringing the Annual General Meeting to your farm.

AGM Agenda includes:

  • a review of the activities, audited
    financial statements, and budget for Alberta Canola
  • voting on director elections (if there are vacancies at the time of the AGM) voting on resolutions – Resolutions to be presented at Alberta Canola’s AGM must be received no less than 10 business days prior to the AGM (by January 12, 2021) to allow for background to be collected and resolutions to be prepared for presentation at the meeting.

Registering to Vote Online

Farmers in Alberta that have sold canola and paid a service charge on canola to Alberta Canola since August 1, 2018 are eligible canola growers and can register to vote.

Eligible canola growers can be individuals or represent a corporation, partnership, or organization.

In order to ensure the integrity of the voting procedure, growers will need to register to vote. This will allow Alberta Canola to verify eligible voters, and therefore enable our third-party voting provider to provide growers with a unique access code to allow them to vote.

Voter registration closes January 12, 2021.

For more details and to register, please visit


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Canola Digest - November 2020