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Harvest 2017: Start with a preseason checkup and go through the entire dryer.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

June 21, 2017

3 Min Read
READY TO GO? Now is the time to do maintenance on your grain dryer — and take care of any necessary repairs.

Take advantage of midsummer to make sure your grain dryer is ready to go this fall. That’s the advice of Gary Woodruff, GSI conditioning applications manager.

Here is a closer look at steps you can take now to minimize dryer problems during harvest.

1. Do a preseason checkup. The key thing is to check for any wear and tear that could affect the safe and proper operation of the dryer, Woodruff says. A complete preseason check, preferably by your servicing dealer, is extremely important this year for the safe and dependable operation of your dryer.

Tag and lock out the electrical main supply before checking or servicing any electrical or mechanical device on the dryer, he emphasizes. Follow all warnings and procedures in the dryer manual for safety.  Follow all national, state and local regulations. Don’t attempt any electrical or gas repairs unless you are licensed to do so, Woodruff advises. You can remove the safety shields to inspect, but make sure they’re back in place before operation.

2. Clean the dryer. Make sure all supply augers, downspouts and columns of the dryer are completely free of any debris or bird nests, Woodruff says. Hopefully the control box was cleaned after the previous fall. If not, thoroughly clean it now.

Make sure any floors or internal areas are completely free from fines or debris, he adds. Check and clean these areas during the season weekly, or more often if there are lots of fines.

3. Inspect the dryer. Check all belts for wear, hardness from age and proper tension, Woodruff says.  Replace any belt that’s questionable. Tension belts per the manual, but don’t overtighten them. That can cause motor bearing issues.

With all valves closed and lines empty for safety, check all gas hoses and connections to be sure all are in good shape and not leaking, he adds. Most gas guidelines recommend replacing any flexible hose or line every 10 years. Woodruff advises doing a soapy water test on connections. 

Inspect and clean the burner to make sure there are no nests or other obstructions that would prevent proper operation.

4. Make a dry run. Check the dryer for proper operation before filling with grain. Use the preseason directions in the manual to guide you through the process, observing all safety precautions. GSI dryers have a preseason mode to allow fans and burners to safely run without grain in the dryer, Woodruff says.

Per the manual, do all yearly maintenance, including greasing, lubricating and changing gear oil.

Make sure all guards and safety equipment have been replaced after inspections.

Bring up the control circuit and make sure all safeties and operational screens are running properly and are in order, he emphasizes. Start the load, metering and unload systems. Make sure they’re operating properly while testing automatic safeties and shutdown systems. Do this before the dryer is loaded with grain to make sure the unload system is operational, Woodruff says.

Next, start the fans and burners with the gas supply off to check for proper operation of the safety system.  The dryer should shut down within a minute.

Carefully and slowly open the gas supply, and start fans and then burners to make sure they properly light and operate with no unusual voids or color in the flame, Woodruff recommends.

5. Do the first fill. Make sure the columns fill correctly and the dryer is full. It should automatically shut down after the dryer is full, Woodruff notes.

Do one final inspection after starting fans and then burners to make sure gas pressures are correct and the temperature control system is operating properly. 

Finally, use the manual to start regular operation of the dryer.

Editor’s note: This is the fifth article in a series about preparing for harvest.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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