Farm safety is important year-round, but in the spring, two types of grain bin safety incidents tend to happen more often, according to Iowa State University Extension safety specialist Chuck Schwab. Both incidents happen when stored grain wasn’t kept in the best condition or had moisture build up over the winter, he says.
In the first scenario, clumps of spoiled grain can clog the unloading auger. That in and of itself isn’t dangerous, but it does require farmers to take caution when breaking that grain loose.
“That grain can cause trouble when you’re unloading it,” he says.
Be diligent – turn off the auger each time before trying to free up clogs from atop the grain pile, even if it takes multiple tries, Schwab says. Never stand on grain as it is unloading.
In the second scenario, the top surface of stored grain can create a crust if there is some localized spoilage.
“That crust can support its own weight but is not strong enough to hold more,” Schwab says.
Again – not a problem by itself, but farmers must again take caution and be aware that just because the top looks normal, the grain beneath it is gone if unloading has occurred. That has caused multiple entrapment situations in the past when farmers stand on this “phantom” grain pile, only to have it collapse beneath them.