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Cleaning, prepping bins can begin before last load leaves

Tom J. Bechman grain being loaded into cart
CLEAN AND EMPTY? An Indiana Prairie Farmer reader says that on their farm, cleaning of bins starts before the last load of grain is loaded out.
Reader’s Report: Reader suggests ways to begin the process in advance.

The article “12 tips for cleaning, prepping bins,” which appeared on Page 43 in the August 2020 issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, opened with this sentence: “Once you haul out the last load of grain from a bin, the real work begins.”

That opening line caught Jeanne Flanders' attention. The Hamilton County, Ind., farm wife told us, “In my opinion, ‘once you haul out that last load of grain from a bin,’ it’s too late to do a thorough clean and prep for the incoming crop.”

Flanders didn’t have a problem with the 12 tips that followed in the article, provided by Gary Woodruff, GSI district manager and grain conditioning specialist. In fact, she says her son, Jim, follows a similar list. However, he gets a head start on cleaning and doesn’t wait until the bin is empty.

It’s a tip worth passing along. Flanders notes that after every few loads are emptied out of the bin, her son enters the bin, wearing a safety harness and following appropriate safety precautions. He walks around the perimeter of the bin on grain, cleaning sidewalls with brooms and brushes. He cleans about 6 feet of bin wall at a time, starting from the top of the bin and moving down.

“That eliminates the need to use ladders after the bin is empty,” Flanders says. And it makes sure cobwebs, dust and debris from the old crop aren’t left hanging on the sidewalls.

Flanders offers another tip. Once bins are empty, they hire a paint crew to clean and paint the inside of selected bins each year. They believe this practice helps add a few extra years of life to an older grain bin.

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