Planting season is knocking!

Warm enough February day for the door to be open.

It happens every spring. We open the machine shed door, after clearing any remaining snow and ice from in front of it, move any equipment blocking the planter and extract the sleeping planter from it’s nest. Once the planter is outside, it receives its spring wash down. The dust that has settled on it over the past 8 months is flushed away with the power washer and the planter is ushered into the heated shop for it’s pre-planting work over. Because it worked on the day we completed planting is no reason to assume it will make it through another planting season without some refurbishing and lubrication.

Washing the dust off.

Planting weather is fickle in Minnesota. It can lull you into believing that you have all the time in the world to get the crop in and then the updated forecast puts us under the gun to get as much in before the rains or cold snap hits. We don’t want a half ready planter to come between us and the impending deadline. Continue reading

A great view!

grain-leg-east-view

East view from the 120′ grain leg.

It’s always worth the 120′ climb to the top of our grain leg. We needed to inspect and lubricate the grain system to be ready for corn harvest. Test firing the grain dryer is very critical. Without it working properly, the rest of the system sits idle and corn harvest can’t proceed. While at the top, I can’t resist taking some photos with my iPhone.

Looking to the west.

Looking to the west.

Getting ready to harvest.

combine-in-shopThe combine came out of the shed at the end of August. Using the list of repairs suggested by Kibble Equipment, from our annual inspection, we meticulously remedied each item step-by-step. We have found post season inspections to be invaluable in preventing in season down time with our equipment. combine-shop

LED Tractor Lights

Our 8310T is showing it’s age by not lighting up the field nearly as well as newer tractors. We took the plunge this fall and updated the major lights on the tractor to LED. As you can see in this picture, it was more challenging that we thought it would be. Rusty bolts forced us to take the hood off of the tractor for easy access with the tools that could solve the rusted bolt dilemma.

tractor in shop for lights

Saddle Tank Mounts – Shop Project

2014 Tractor with push tank

Push tank in 2014.

During plating season we carry ATS liquid fertilizer on our tractor. The fertilizer is surface applied in a stream over the seed furrow behind the planter closing wheels. ATS is applies at a rate of 8 gpa so it is imperative that we carry enough to avoid stopping planting progress to refill tanks. We started our with 450 gallon tanks tucked between the tracks on our JD8310T tracked tractor. We were filling more often with fertilizer than we were with seed corn. We then added a cart mounted push tank to the front of our tractor to carry another 400 gallons of ATS. While not ideal, we already owned the cart and tank so no money was invested in the extra capacity.

Fast forward to 2015 when half way through the season our cart system failed beyond repair. It worked well while it lasted but now it was time to strategize for 2016 and beyond. Our research led us to adopting the idea of mounting outboard saddle tanks to carry another 400 gallons minimum. As we explored the idea, we decided that the ideal tank size would be 250 gallons on each size so we have room to easily carry 800 gallons on the tractor without having to fill each tank to capacity and risk overflowing fertilizer on the ground as well as on the steel with rusts easily when coated with fertilizer. Continue reading

Grain Leg Maintenance

grain cups 2Late summer means putting time into maintenance of harvest related equipment. The plastic cups on our grain leg, that handles the wet corn coming in from the fields, were getting brittle. We’ve found a couple of them stuck in various places in our grain system and succumbed to the fact that we needed to replace all 203 cups on the belt. Many of the bolts were rusted to the point where we had to either snap them off through the force of our 1/2″ DeWalt impact wrench or grind them off. After many hours the task was accomplished and we’re on to the next project!grain cups