OMAHA (DTN) -- As daylight hours grow shorter and harvest fast approaches, one chore on many farmers' to-do lists is prepare grain bins for storage. Utilizing a pre-harvest checklist can help catch issues with grain bins, according to Shane Stutzman, senior project manager for Summit Contracting located in Roca, Nebraska.
Stutzman's Top 5 checklist of on-farm storage inspection includes:
1) Make sure all equipment runs properly.
While the bin is empty, test run equipment to ensure everything is operational. This includes the fan and unloading equipment. Make sure bin wells and ventilation equipment are functioning properly, he said.
"It's much easier to check equipment than cleaning up the mess and then fixing the issue," Stutzman said.
2) Inspect bin components.
Visually inspect all bin components to make sure they are in good shape. This includes checking gear box oil levels, checking chains and bearings and inspecting unloading and distributing equipment.
Check the electrical panel for damage from rodents and moisture. Repair if necessary, he said.
3) Watch high-wear transition points.
This would be basically anywhere grain dumps into or out of a piece of handling equipment. This spot is where steel can wear out from the grain movement.
"This typically rears its head at the most inopportune times," he said.
4) Seal up any potential leaks.
This could be from water leaking into the bin from the roof or grain leaking out of entry doors or through the aeration floor. Patch any leaks from the year before and consider permanently fixing these areas, he said.
If the bin has a drying floor, inspect the floor's condition. Make sure floor supports are in place and solid. Again, repair if needed.
5) Keep pests at bay.
Stutzman said one area which is often overlooked in a pre-harvest inspection list is treating grain bins with a residual pesticide. It will need to be applied to the bin floor, walls and around the outside of the bin.
Damage to grain can cost producers quite a bit of money once the grain is shipped to an elevator. Ensure the grain stays in good condition by limiting pests, he said.
Russ Quinn can be reached at Russ.Quinn@dtn.com
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