Where there’s oil leaks, there’s fire!

Sunday, October 2 was a day to remember but not in a positive way. We had just started filling our second truck with soybeans when disaster struck. I had unloaded the combine onto the grain cart while heading back to the road. Once I got to the road, I decided to dump off the few bushels I had left in the combine since the auger was passing right over the truck as I turned around. Once unloaded, I headed back into the soybean field. I didn’t get more than 50 feet down the field when the monitor on my armrest had a big red warning about low hydraulic pressure. Thinking I was spewing oil all over the place I shut down the combine and stepped out the door to investigate. As I looked back at the engine compartment from the top platform of the ladder, I saw a large ball of flames in the hydraulic pump area. I turned on the radio and told Dennis, who was in the grain cart, to call 911 immediately. He came over, as I was emptying the cab of important items such as my monitor with all the data on it, and emptied the fire extinguisher on the fire to no avail. We did what we could to secure items from the cab and stood back watching the flames grow as we waited for the fire trucks to arrive. Needless to say, the combine was a total loss but the fire department did manage to save the bean head.

We were able to rent a combine the next day and use that until we made a purchase. We used some down time during rainy days to research and look at combines in the area and settled on a John Deere S660 from Worthington, MN.

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Seed beans 2016

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Early morning greeting by the steers.

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Filling our largest bean bin.

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Cattle hanging out near the action.

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Truck dumping into belt conveyor.

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Viewing the unloading process from the bin roof.

Arriving early in the morning, to load soybeans harvested the day before into storage bins, we were greeted by our curious steers. This year we raised one variety for Pioneer that will be sold as seed to farmers in 2017. Seed beans are handled more carefully that other soybeans intended for the processing market. The combine is set to thresh the soybeans as gently as possible. We use a belt conveyor to fill the storage bins as well as fill the trucks that pick up the beans during the following winter. Growing beans for seed will provide a premium that compensates for the extra time incurred plus a good profit for the grower.

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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

Is it really January in Minnesota?

combine looking inFrom this photo you’d think that it’s a beautiful spring or fall day. The bi-fold shop door is open and the combine is ready for maintenance. It would be a shame to shut the door with such beautiful, sunny weather upon us.

Well, this photo was taken on January 26, 2015 on our farm. It was 46 degrees outside and the shop door did stay open for a couple hours that afternoon. We also brought the snow blower out of the shed for some PTO maintenance. Not much snow has come but we did have a problem to take care of and what better time than when you can work with the door open.

Here’s the photo taken from inside the shop to prove to you that it was indeed winter. Not much snow but it’s there all the same. Combine looking out