The last thing you want when you fire up the grain dryer or turn on the leg is for something not to work, or for a belt to break or a bearing to fail very early in the season. You can’t eliminate every possible pitfall with preseason maintenance, but Gary Woodruff, a district sales manager and grain storage specialist for GSI, believes in the practice.
“You can eliminate a lot of potential downtime if you go through your dryer and grain handling equipment in advance, before the season arrives,” Woodruff says. “Refer to the operator’s manual for information on cleaning and maintenance.”
Over time, by operating the equipment year after year, you also learn things like where chaff or other materials accumulate, and what areas need to be checked for mice or bird’s nests, he says. Taking time to loosen a few bolts and do the cleanout before the season starts can be time well spent if it prevents a costly breakdown during prime harvesting season, Woodruff says.
If you are old enough to remember the old Fram oil filter commercials, the greasy-looking mechanic had it right. “Pay me now, or pay me later,” he would say. In this case, do the cleaning and maintenance now, or risk bigger repair bills and more time spent making repairs later, when time is money and you don’t have it to spare.
Recently, Dan Coapstick, Frankfort, Ind., went through his grain handling system and illustrated several places where he does preseason inspections. He also climbed into a new GSI bin he will use for the first time in 2021 to illustrate important safety measures to keep in mind, depending upon how new your bins are and how the unloading equipment operates.
Coapstick built his grain system in phases, starting in 2010. He relied on advice from Keith Hodgen with Hoosier Agri-Matic, Lebanon, Ind., as he put together his system. He also follows their advice on maintenance procedures.
Follow along through this slideshow. Your system will likely be different, but it also likely has parts and places where preseason cleaning and inspection for debris would pay.