This fall looks to be difficult for grain drying and storage. Even if late-planted corn matures before frost, much of it won’t have a lot of time after reaching black layer to dry down in the field. This means most, if not all, will need drying.
The likely prospect for wet corn means, in effect, it will reduce the capacity of the dryer. Gary Woodruff, district manager for GSI grain products, says you need to have your dryer in the best possible shape to get through the fall successfully.
Expect to put a lot more hours of use on dryers this year — probably as many as the past three to five years combined. This makes it crucial to have the dryer ready to work reliably before harvest. Do maintenance soon, Woodruff advises. Service technicians may not be available quickly, and parts for older dryers may be difficult to get. Remember, all equipment supplying grain to and from the dryer is as critical as the dryer itself.
The same type of inspection and maintenance tips apply to dryers whether they’re in-bin dryers or separate, Woodruff says. Aeration and unloading equipment in a bin must be ready to go, too. Trying to fix these after the bin is full is too late!
Preseason maintenance tips
Here are eight tips Woodruff provides to help you get grain equipment ready for fall:
1. Start at control boxes. Carefully inspect and clean all control boxes and any other sensors. If any component looks questionable, replace it. Starting a dryer or any electrically driven device on a wet fall day with dirt or bees wings in the box is a recipe for disaster.
2. Check belts. Look for excessive wear. Check all belts for proper tension. Replace any belt that looks questionable in any way.
3. Maintain chains and drives. Inspect chains and drives for tension, and lubricate them as indicated in operator’s manuals.
4. Remove debris. Get rid of any debris from inside and outside of the dryer, auger, drag and bin. Start with a clean system.
5. Lubricate parts. Lubricate all bearings on dryers that require grease. At the same time, lubricate and grease conveyors and other equipment before harvest.
6. Check safety equipment. Make sure safety cages are secure. Check that all safety shields on motor drives and dump points are in good condition.
7. Inspect parts and replace, if necessary. If wearable components such as augers, bearings, belts or sensors show damage or are nearing failure, replace them. In an extended harvest, the odds of parts failing increase. You can’t afford extended downtime this fall.
8. Consider hiring a professional. You may want to contact your grain system dealer for additional preseason dryer maintenance that may require specialized expertise. An inspection and preseason tuneup by a dealer is great insurance against problems. It’s getting late to schedule this visit, so call soon, Woodruff concludes.