Cold Weather Combining

Published on: 02:42AM Nov 06, 2018

A difficult harvest for many of you is getting more difficult as ongoing wet weather is now turning cold. As temperatures fall below freezing, don't forget:

-Make sure your diesel fuel is winterized. Most fuel jobbers are now hauling winter-grade fuel, but if you have doubts, add anti-gel to each tank. Especially if you're still harvesting in temperatures below 20 degrees F.

-Be wary of frosty or snowy corn. You can successfully harvest corn with frost or snow on the ears as long as air temps are below 20 degrees. Combine components are cold enough, and the ice crystals are cold enough, so it all blows through like icy dust. But if air temperatures get above 20 degrees the motion and action of the combines will warm sieves to near-freezing. The frost or snow softens above 20 degrees and becomes sticky and compactible like a snowball. The result? There's a point--usually around 25- to 30 degree, where the slush mixes with corn dust and fines and plugs the sieves with an odd mixture of ice and mud. Once plugged, the only option is to wait till the ambient air temperature gets warm enough to melt out the mess, OR, get the machine inside a heated shop to melt it, OR, use a steam cleaner to thaw and blow that material out of BOTH the upper and lower sieves. (A miserable job.) So, beware on frosty mornings, and make sure after a snowfall that there's not a teaspoon of snow hidden in the shucks and leaves of every cornstalk.

-If you're an unfortunate soul still harvesting soybeans, be cautious about harvesting frozen beans. If you think 10 percent MC beans shatter badly, you ain't seen nothing until you combine frozen beans.