Take the time to clean your combine to help reduce the spread of resistant weeds from field to field.When it comes to combine cleanout, have an objective, such as removing weed seeds. Mark Hanna, Iowa State Extension agricultural engineer, shares steps to clean out combines.
Thoroughly cleaning a combine can take a full day. Hanna provides a faster cleaning method, but it can still take four to six hours. Certain parts of the combine will be dirtier than others. In some situations, you might need to do a more thorough cleaning where you dismantle parts of the combine.
- When harvesting, run the unloading auger for at least one minute to empty it.
- Open sieves in the shoot and turn the cleaning fan on full blast to get rid of as much as possible.
- Unhook the grain platform or corn head.
- Open the elevator doors; rock trap door and any other access doors.
- After you make sure everyone is out of harms way (there could be flying particulates), start the combine and run it a few minutes to clean seed and cobs out. (This is the “self-cleaning” step.)
- Use compressed air, both vacuum and blowing, to get dust and particulates off the combine. Work from front to back and top to bottom until you get all the debris you can off the combine without disassembly.
Since this is time consuming, plan ahead. Prioritize specific fields at harvest to make scheduling combine cleaning easier. Harvest weedy fields at the end of your schedule so you only have to clean out the combine once. Don’t let weed seeds hitchhike and cause major problems next year.