Just to refresh your memories, we had a grain dryer fire last fall. The dryer was repaired to the point that we could finish drying our harvest but we decided to replace it in time to use for the 2020 season.
Replacing a grain dryer is no small task and it consumed a lot of our spare time during the summer of 2020. To start things out, we thought we had a company lined up to do the crane work for us but they failed to follow through. After a text and phone call we had K & S Millwrights, from Buffalo Lake, MN, lined up to help us with the project. They were doing some work at a nearby town and would get to us once that project was completed.
In the mean time, we had a lot of work to do getting ready for the crane to come. We disconnected everything from our old grain dryer then went to the farm site of the farmer we purchased the “new to us” dryer from and prepped that one for moving.
There was no reason to expect the 2019 corn harvest to be easy but, in hindsight, it was the worst year of farming I have ever experienced! Planting corn a month later than usual is never a good thing but coupling it with the fact that the entire summer was cool and wet made the resulting crop yield and quality a costly challenge both monetarily and mentally. Corn yields themselves were okay but, when faced with the reality of dryer gas expenses due to wetter than usual corn along with an LP shortage driving prices higher yet and elevator charges and discounts for wet corn delivered to them, this year was one for the books.
We rely on a platform scale to weigh the grain we bring from the fields to our storage bins. It is not a legal scale but gets us close enough to knowing, load by load, what is dumped at our bin site. Over the past couple of years it has become unreliable and finally failed completely this fall as we tested it while getting our grain handling system ready for harvest. Normally, this would have been discovered too late in the year to do anything about it but, with the late harvest, we had a window of opportunity to order and replace the weigh bars.
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.
Late 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!