Planning can help avert delays in harvesting fall grain

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It has been an interesting year for Kentucky’s corn crop.

Last year, we faced drought-damaged corn, while this year’s crop is on track to be record-setting and wetter than average.

Pre-pare handling equipment, dryers and storage bins well before harvest to minimize problems that can create unexpected delays.

The University of Kentucky suggests you follow the grain stream and thoroughly clean all equipment from the receiving pit or auger, all the way through the system to bin-unloading augers or conveyors. Remove all old grain, trash and debris from nooks and crannies in conveyors, dryers and storage bins.

A wet-dry vacuum is preferred over a compressed-air blower in hard-to-reach areas because it is better to collect and dispose of unwanted material rather than disperse it in the immediate area where it will attract birds, rodents and insects.

While cleaning, inspect all conveyors for excessive wear.  Make sure drive assemblies and gear boxes are working well.

It can take a day or two to thoroughly clean and inspect/repair all equipment in large facilities but the payoff is that incoming grain will be protected from possible contamination and subsequent spoilage, which could pay dividends during extended storage.  Also, preventive maintenance ensures your equipment will be more dependable and efficient.

Along with the predicted large crop, the extended weather forecast shows less-than-ideal field drying conditions, which further indicates that many grain dryers will be put to the test this year.  Be sure dryers are in top condition before harvest begins.

Most manufacturers provide a pre-harvest checklist for their equipment in the operator’s manual.  Alternately, you may opt for your dealers to perform these checks this year to be sure it is done by the book. 

While several private and commercial operations have recently replaced their dryer, many have not been used with high- moisture corn (above 25 percent) which takes longer to dry (therefore reducing capacity) and can create a bottleneck in the harvest operation.

Dryer operators should also expect to have a higher concentration of fines (small pieces of broken grain, dirt, chaff, and weed seeds) with high-moisture corn, which can reduce airflow and delay drying further.

Ideally, adjust combines to maximize cleaning and/or purchase a separate grain cleaner and use it to remove fines before they enter the dryer (first choice) or storage bin (second choice).  Otherwise, remove fines from the dryer at least once a week and from the storage bin by coring after filling.

Perform a general inspection of all electrical and gas connections.  Disconnect power and open the service panel, junction boxes, and covers on individual motor controls to look for insect nests that can create overheating and short-circuits.

Likewise, check gas supply lines, fittings, connections, and burner orifices in addition to test-firing the dryer to be sure the system is working well.

For more information on harvesting, handling, drying, and storing corn, contact your Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 732-7030.

CAIP receipts deadline approaching

All receipts for the Carroll County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP), or Phase I, are due into the Extension Office on Oct. 1.

Dates of interest

Sept. 4: Carroll County Agricultural Development Council Meeting, 8 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.

Sept. 5:Pesticide Container Recycle Day, 9 a.m. to noon, Carroll County Extension Office.  Pesticide containers must be emptied of contents, triple rinsed with water, and poked with holes in the sides of the container.


Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.