If you have recently started planting grains or soy around your farm, then you will need to invest in a combine to collect the crops. A combine is a sophisticated machine, and you will need to invest at least $330,000 in the combine if you want a new one. Heads are going to cost between $50,000 and $100,000. Due to the costs of the combine, you will need to complete regular maintenance on the machine to make sure it runs well for many years. Keep reading to learn about a few important combine maintenance tips.
Clean With Air
It is wise to always clean away dried grain, straw, or dust from the combine head once you are finished collecting crops for the day. While water is an obvious choice to remove residue and debris from the outside of the engine compartment and the cab, water should not be used around the revolving reel, auger, or cutter bar or the head.
If you use water to clean the head, the fluid can easily move into the feeder and collect on the fan, threshing drum, beater, or shaking screen. If you do not use your combine within the next few days, this can cause rust to form. Rust can contaminate crops and leave you with drums, beaters, and augers that do not move as smoothly as they should.
To reduce oxidation concerns, use air to remove debris instead. You will need to invest in an air compressor for this. If you keep your combine in the field during the warm weather months, then you should invest in a portable compressor. A 6 to 10 gallon device will be relatively compact and easy to carry to your field. You will need a gas-powered generator to plug in the compressor as well, and a long-handled wand to attach to the air nozzle.
When you are ready to clean, attach the wand to the main fitting on the compressor. Move the wand across the combine head in a sweeping motion to release dust and crop debris.
Inspect Crops For Quality And Attend To The Auger And Elevator
As grains move through the head of the combine, they pass up through the feeder and enter the grain elevator. A conveyor moves the grain down into your bin. Sometimes, you may notice that the grain appears smashed or worn along the edges. This can happen if the auger is not sharp enough to cut the grain stalks cleanly. Most augers have self-sharpening blades. A metal bar that runs along the edge of the blade will hit the auger as it turns and this will keep it sharp. Look for this metal bar to make sure it is not bent or worn. If it is, then work with your agricultural supply specialist to have the sharpening bar replaced.
If the auger sharpening bar is in good shape and sits directly against the auger, then you may have a problem with the elevator chain. This chain should be inspected often, because it can wear and break. Rollers along the chain should move freely, and flat blades or buckets should be solid and free of cracks or breaks. Also, the chain links should be intact, connected, and free of rust.
If you see rust or any breaks along the parts of the grain elevator chain, then replace the broken pieces by checking your agricultural supplier for combine parts for sale. If the chain looks like it is in good shape, then you should lubricate the bearings along the links. You will need to purchase a food grade dry film lubricant from your agricultural supplier. This lubricant will not pick up dust and debris so your elevator chain can remain clean. Spray a generous amount of the lubricant on each chain link. Make sure to do this in the evening so the lubricant can set and dry before you use your combine. The lubricant will help to keep the elevator moving smoothly so grain crops remain intact.