I can honestly say I don’t know how fall is here already, but it is. Seems like yesterday we were doing all we could to get the crop planted and now ¾ of 2015 is over and it is time for the combines to head to the fields. Something to consider before getting full into the harvest season is the safety equipment on your combine. Let’s take a moment to go over some items that should be inspected before the season begins.
The first thing to check on your machine would be the location of fire extinguishers. Usually these are located near the cab steps, in the engine compartment and potentially on either side of the machine near the separator. Make sure that all the fire extinguishers are in place and consider the need for added fire extinguishers based on the number that is currently on your combine. Check the level gauges on the extinguishers to make sure they are all showing charged and do not need recharged. There are many types of extinguishers from pressurized water to ones that will need professionally recharged. Be sure to identify the type of extinguisher you have and read the proper procedure to recharge it.
The next item to check is the lighting and reflective materials on the harvest equipment. Combines, tractors, grain carts and grain hauling equipment should all be inspected for visibility. Take a moment to verify all lights and flashers are in working order. Repairing any burnt out bulbs or wiring issues will save you time during harvest. Check all the reflective materials as well. Time and sunlight are not friendly to these items. Over time the SMV signs, reflective tape, etc. on your machines can lose their reflectiveness. Inspect the equipment and replace any of these items that have become dull so that the visibility is maximized.
During the harvest season it is important to keep the combine free of debris. Chaff on the combine can easily become a fuel source for an engine fire or if a bearing heats up. I would recommend at the end of each day blowing off the chaff from the machine. This can be done with an air compressor or a leaf blower. The leaf blower works well because it is small, portable and you won’t have to drag a hose behind you while you are moving around the machine. Be sure to use eye protection and a dust mask while blowing debris from the machine. With all the foreign material floating in the air during cleaning it can easily be deposited in your eyes and lungs if safety equipment is not utilized.
Most of the combines that head to the field have been cleaned and are shining in the sun on the first days of harvest. However it doesn’t take many days of running the machine for that to change and it is hard to distinguish the color of the combine through all the dust stuck to the outside. Make sure that you are keeping the windshield, mirrors, headlights, warning lights and reflective materials cleaned through harvest. Doing so will allow the operator to have good visibility while combining the crops and allow others good visibility of the machine while transporting.
As generations of the populations pass, there will be less and less individuals that grew up on a farm and understand the job that needs performed during harvest. These individuals are not familiar with the combines, tractors, grain carts, etc. that will be traveling down the roads this fall, make sure that you are doing your part to keep your machine visible and illuminated during road travel.
From all of us at Ag Leader have a safe and productive 2015 harvest!
Ewalt, Kelly. Slow Moving Vehicle Triangle.jpg. Digital image. Slow Moving Vehicle Triangles – Be on the Lookout! Michigan State University, 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. <http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/slow_moving_vehicle_triangles_-_be_on_the_lookout>.