Expectations for a large grain harvest this fall make it especially important that farmers take care of maintenance needs for their grain systems before the combines roll.
“It looks like yields will be high and a lot of grain will pass through the dryer, handling equipment and into the bins,” says Gary Woodruff, GSI district manager and grain conditioning expert. “It’s critical that all the equipment is in good operating condition and ready to run.”
Woodruff notes that grain system dealers are extremely busy during the pre-harvest season, so it is imperative that farmers inspect, maintain and repair, or schedule repairs, for their equipment now. He offers the following maintenance recommendations:
- Remember to shut off all power and use safe practices, including “lock-out/tag-out” procedures.
- Carefully inspect and clean all of the control boxes and any other sensors. If any component looks questionable, replace it. Starting a dryer or any electrically driven device on a wet fall day with dirt or bee wings in the box is a recipe for disaster.
- Check all belts for proper tension and replace any belt that looks questionable in any way.
- Inspect chains and drives for tension and lubricate.
- Remove any debris from inside and outside the dryer, auger, drag, and bin.
- Lubricate all greasable bearings on dryers, conveyors, and other equipment.
- Make sure safety cages are secure, and that all safety shields on motor drives and dump points are in good condition.
- If any wearable components such as augers, bearings, belts or sensors show damage or are even nearing failure, replace them. In an extended harvest, all of these will likely fail, and there can be extended down time that you can’t afford this fall.
Woodruff also suggests farmers contact their grain system dealer or check ag university resources for additional information or assistance that may be needed.