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Combine winter storage tips

Combine winter storage tips

Remove any crop debris that could absorb water, an industry rep said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

As many farmers inch towards completion of their 2019 grain harvest, they may be mentally reviewing the checklist of steps needed for successful combine storage this winter.

Before working on the equipment, however, producers may want to take some time to recover from a long season, said Kelly Kravig, the harvesting marketing manager with Case IH.

“Most farmers just want to finish harvest, drive the combine into the shed and be done for the year,” he told “But this has been one of the toughest harvest seasons we’ve seen. I recommend farmers take a deep breath and get some rest before starting to winterize the combine.”

Battery maintenance is an important part of the winterization process.

A small investment in a battery maintainer can help the combine start up again nicely next fall.

“I’ve seen some for about $15,” Kravig said. “The maintainer senses the (charge) in the battery and provides a charge when the battery requires it.

“It sure beats having to buy a new battery.”

Growers should also make sure to remove as much chaff as possible.

Leaving crop residue could lead to wear on the combine.

“Take an air compressor or leaf blower and get all of the dust, debris and chaff off the machine,” Kravig said. “Do a real thorough job in areas where plant material can build up. If chaff is built up on a part of the combine and starts to absorb moisture, it’s going to rust and create additional problems.”

Producers should clean the machine of loose grain, too, as it could bring in unwanted guests.

“There are nooks and crannies where grain can deposit,” he said. “You don’t want to attract mice or other rodents to a winter home that happens to have food. Often, mice will eat grain dust off a wiring harness but will also chew through the harness.”

Putting mothballs near the tires can also help prevent any critters from climbing into the combine, he said.

Farmers who use biodiesel in their combines may want to consider emptying the fuel from the tanks.

During the flushing process, biodiesel can help loosen any debris inside the fuel system, Kravig said.

“If you have any sediment in a tank, the biodiesel can act as a cleaner and bring up material you don’t want in your fuel pumps or injectors,” he said.


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