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Grain Augers and Power Lines Don't Mix

Grain Augers and Power Lines Don't Mix

Grain augers and power lines are one connection you don't want to make on your farm.

'Tis the season to harvest corn. In fact, it's getting late in the season compared to some years, and most still have lots of corn to harvest. The temperatures are getting colder and cloudy days and wet weather are fairly common. You're in a hurry and so are you're helpers.

It's the perfect set-up for a farm accident, even a farm fatality or serious injury, that doesn't have to happen.

Related: Watch Out for Power Lines for Harvest Time Electrical Safety

Potential disaster: This is a mock situation. If it was real the person either backing the auger by tractor, or worse yet, trying to position it by hand, would be in grave danger.

One such possibility is if you or someone working for you is moving the grain auger from one farm to another farm, or even one bin to another, with overhead power lines in the area. If you have all power lines underground that's great, but maybe the grain bins you're renting from the neighbor down the road are next to overhead power lines. You're not familiar with putting an auger up to that bin.

If you get the auger against the lines, fireworks can start. That's when electrocution or serious injury is possible. The worst possible case is to step off the tractor once the auger is into the lines, with one foot on the ground and one still on the metal of the tractor. You complete the circuit, and it flows through you.

Related: Stay Safe When Sprayer Hits a Power Line

The picture depicts a grain auger that is too close to power lines, maybe in the power lines. This demonstration was conducted by a skilled lineman for an Indiana REMC. It gets real dramatic when he puts a hot dog in the mix and the electricity flows through it, cooking it almost instantly.

One problem with augers is that it can be difficult to judge distances, including the distance from the auger in length, and the space between the auger and the power lines in height. The best option is to not take chances, and make sure there is no possibility of getting the auger against the lines before you start. If there is, chart another course of action.

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