Cleanliness is the name of the game, an industry rep said
By Diego Flammini
As producers put a bow on the 2020 grain harvest, an important next step is preparing the combine for winter storage.
With proper storage in mind, Farms.com connected with Victor Gunn, a harvest specialist at Case IH, who shared some tips for farmers.
Prior to any maintenance, a producer should consult the operator’s manual, Gunn said.
After that, the main goal for any farmer should be to ensure the combine is as clean as possible while it’s stored.
Cleaning your machinery “helps you see any potential issues for next year, and it also makes the unit a lot less attractive to rodents over the winter,” Gunn told Farms.com.
If crop residue is left on the combine, mice or other small animals could make a home in the machine. This can be problematic.
Moisture from any fermenting residue could create rust. And the little creatures could damage the combine as well.
“They can chew wiring harnesses, and the urine can get on circuit boards and cause corrosion,” Gunn said. “If we can prevent the animals from wanting to make a home in the combine, farmers should aim to do that.”
Producers can also take action to ensure the cold winter conditions don’t take a toll on the combine.
Removing some components from the machine during storage can help ensure they’ll work properly next fall.
“I recommend physically taking the batteries out of the machine as well as the display and the receiver for the GPS, and storing them in a warm location if possible,” Gunn said. “Batteries will slowly discharge in cold weather, so if you’re able to remove them for the winter, there’s a good chance they’ll survive the winter compared to if they remained installed.”
Grease is another important part of winter combine storage.
Applying grease to bearings after pressure washing the equipment can help remove any moisture.
“The pressure washer will drive water past the bearing seal, and you can get water sitting in there,” Gunn said. “The grease will help push out any water that did get past.”
And storing a combine with a full tank of fuel will help prevent any condensation from accumulating in the tank, Gunn said.