Quite honestly, the last couple of weeks have been wearing on us. Progress has been slowed. Yields are variable, but that isn’t the issue. When all is said and done, we will fall in a ‘normal’ range.
The issue has been nearly daily service calls to keep the combines running. With the exception of the latest breakdown, all the issues have been electrical/electronic. Techs chased a pinched wire for a day on one combine, while the other combine diagnosis took two days of tests and trials to find a switch in the armrest console went bad. We’ve also had two nuts come off valves which are supposed to hold solenoid coils on the solenoid valve stem cause issues as well.
The last stoppage was the biggest - the mechanical issue. A drive shaft that crosses the body of the combine snapped. We usually do a good job of keeping ahead of possible mechanical problem with our off-season maintenance. However there was nothing we could do about preventing a shaft from snapping. We were told we were ‘fortunate,' because usually when the shaft snaps it takes out the battery box and hydraulic filters and causes a fire.
I can’t complain about the service, they are trying hard and generally there in short order. However, both machines were down for more than 24 hours at the same time. Dad is getting frustrated with the mounting repair bills and wonders if it is time to look to a different color. He recently read a magazine article with user ratings for combines. It suggested a different brand may be more reliable.
One of our semi-truck drivers also tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Fortunately, it happened over the weekend/rain days. Further, this time of year there isn’t time for congregating, guys are usually doing their jobs so being in close proximity of other for any length of time is rare. There were no ‘close contact’ issues to deal with. The driver is out of quarantine and ready to go. He’s texting me a couple times a day looking for something to do, I just need machines to run so he can be put to work!
Even with all this happening, and though we’ve lost enough machine days that we should be done with soybeans, we should finish with beans before too long. We were able to run until the trucks were full late last night and were started this morning before it was light.