Farmers keep a close eye on the yield monitor as their combines roll across the field. GSI (Grain Systems, Inc.) recommends that growers also monitor their grain storage system during harvest and rate its performance once the season’s over.
“Evaluating how well their grain system handled the harvest season, and what improvements may be needed, is one of the most important steps farmers can take to help prepare for next year,” said Gary Woodruff, GSI conditioning applications manager.
Woodruff suggests farmers keep track of any grain handling, drying or storage issues, and then give their grain system a post-harvest “report card” based on the following considerations:
- Material handling: How well did grain handing equipment – dump pits, grain legs and other conveyors – perform in loading and unloading of grain? If bottlenecks were experienced, consider adding faster, higher-capacity handling equipment for next season.
- Dryer capacity: Ideally, grain should be dried the same day it is harvested. If wet grain remained in a hopper tank longer than one day, plan to add drying capacity next season to protect grain quality.
- Grain storage capacity: Did grain bins have adequate storage for the bushels harvested? If not, and it was necessary to transport more grain than expected to an elevator, expanded storage may be a wise investment for 2018. Hauling grain to an elevator not only entails storage costs, but may also can take time away from harvest for transportation.
- Safety: Post-harvest is also a good time to consider possible system enhancements, such as improving safety. This can include installing roof stairs or peak platforms on bins, checking to see if bin safety cages are secure, and making sure all safety shields on motor drives and dump points are in good condition.
- Maintenance: Grain bins and dryers should be thoroughly cleaned of debris as soon as they are empty and the entire storage system inspected, so that all equipment will be ready for next season. Common maintenance needs can include repairing and/or replacing worn motors and belts, damaged down spouts, noisy gear boxes, worn flights on augers and oil leaks.
“The off-season is a much better time to address these issues, rather than waiting until the busy spring or summer periods, when dealers are booked and required parts may be difficult to find in time for harvest,” Woodruff said. “Farmers know the importance of inspecting and cleaning their combine following the harvest season. It’s just as important to evaluate their grain system to be sure it will efficiently meet their storage needs for next season.”
For more information, farmers can contact their GSI dealer or visit www.grainsystems.com.