The 2015 season doesn't end with grain harvest if you store grain on the farm. We've brought you reports from the field on growing conditions all season long. We reported harvest results last week. Now as we wait for winners to be confirmed in the Yield Guessing Contest sponsored by Seed Consultants, Inc., so we can announce them here, you might heed this advice from experts who want people to remember that working with grain in bins can be dangerous.
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One farmer told us last week that his bins are full, but that he will begin hauling out corn in December. He has already sold some for delivery. In fact, he intends to forward price and sell a certain amount each month, hoping to be empty of corn on hands by June. Between now and then, hauling out grain means working around grain, which raises the need for remembering safety precautions.
He also still has one important function to do even before he begins hauling out grain in earnest. He cores bins to get the fines out of the center. That lets him aerate the grain inside the bins. Air doesn't move as well with fines accumulated in the center.
When air doesn't circulate and pockets of spoilage develop is when safety issues increase by some factor. Once an auger won't unload, the temptation is to go inside the bin, even with it running.
Bill Field, Purdue University Extension safety specialist, has spent years educating people about grain bin safety. He has also trained hundreds of first responders who might not be familiar with the farm about proper procedures to follow in case a grain bin entrapment occurs.
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The biggest safety precautions are to never work around grain bins alone, to wear safety harnesses when going inside a bin, and to never enter a bin with the auger running. He also advises having a second person stationed where he or she can see you when you are in a bin.
Should you find yourself alone at the grain center and must enter a bin. Lock out all electrical devices in case someone comes, not knowing you are there, and decides to run an auger.