Your attention may be focused on getting the planter ready, burning down cover crops or preparing for the spring rush, but don't forget that if you still have grain in the bin, it needs monitoring.
As spring approaches and temperatures warm up, careful monitoring of grain in the bin can be important, experts say.
It's especially true if you hadn't intended on holding grain in the bin this long. Grain going in for long-term storage into summer (corn) should be 14% moisture in final storage, says Richard Stroshine, Purdue University Extension grain specialist. If you hadn't intended on keeping grain this long, you may not have dried it down that far.
The grain control center room on Nidlinger Farms, Decatur, is impressive for many reasons, but none more important than for the storage hooks that hold safety harnesses and other safety equipment along one wall. It's not a sight one sees in every grain center on many farms. In fact it's not a common sight at all – not nearly common enough.
John Nidlinger says whenever anyone on the farm is working on bins on the outside, the harness equipment is a must. It's also a must if they have to go inside bins to check on or work with stored grain, he says. The harnesses are there to be used, and they designed storage for them so everyone would know where they were when they are needed.
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Bill Field, Purdue University Extension safety specialist, says it's never advisable to be inside a grain bin if the unloading auger is on and grain is not flowing. That means an obstruction, often a mass of spoiled grain, is blocking the inlet. Once it breaks free or someone breaks it free, and the auger is running, grain rushes out once again and you can be trapped in flowing grain in a matter of seconds.
Whenever you do have to work in a bin under any conditions, safety harnesses are recommended.