Now is the time to focus on your grain system’s readiness to ensure a smooth transition into harvest.

Safety is the first priority. Always lock out the power to any equipment you will be inspecting or working on. Make sure all shields and guards are in place and working properly to protect you, your family, your employees and service providers. Do a walk around your facility and observe every moving part and electrical connection. If you see anything that is not as it would be if it was brand new, fix it now so it doesn’t cause a catastrophe when you get caught up in the rush of the busy season.

Inspect your empty bins for evidence of corrosion, leaks and damage from insects and rodents. Wire brush or sand off any red rust and recoat with soy zinc primer or aerosol cold galvanizing paint. Clean out old grain, fines, chaff and dirt from bin and all equipment, including under bin floors if there is a buildup. Seal any air and water leaks that are evident. Seal concrete cracks to prevent water and ice damage.

Make sure all your receiving and handling equipment is ready to run. Auger flights should have flat outer edges. Sharp flighting is a sign of wear and causes grain damage. Worn out auger flights are dangerous to work around, can fail at any time and should be replaced. Auger tubes, housings, conveyor trunking and spouting need to be inspected for wear spots, discoloration, dents and general condition. Bearings should run free and easy and accept lubrication readily. Pulleys and sprockets need to be properly aligned; belts and chains need to be tensioned properly and inspected for damage or wear. Properly lube all joints and gear boxes to manufacturers’ specifications.

Electrical equipment should be thoroughly inspected for exposed wires, loose connections, rodent damage, open junction boxes and general integrity by a trained professional before being tested. Make sure that all safety circuits and components are in place and operating properly.

Gas heaters require special caution when prepping for the drying season. It is best to rely on a trained service technician to ensure peak performance in season. If you do attempt this yourself, inspection should always be done with the gas supply and the power turned off. Inspect and test all safety circuits, gas connections and components. If the burner doesn’t fire normally when tested, immediately shut off all gas and power and call a professional technician.

Attention paid to your bins and equipment now will ensure it works properly when harvest time arrives.

Don Fuller serves as grain systems customer service manager at GROWMARK.