NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Cleaning Farm Equipment

Cleaning Farm EquipmentWe had a few light rain sprinkles over the weekend.  The light rain didn’t stop the combines for long from harvesting the soybeans.  While we have lots of soybeans in Sargent County, only a small percentage has been harvested, the dust is flying as they are being harvested quickly.    

Cleaning farm equipment between fields can help reduce the spread of weeds significantly.  Combines are one of the largest machines on a farm and can contain up to 150 pounds of biomaterial, including weed seeds.

Planting and tillage equipment and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) used in the field also can accumulate mud and debris and move pathogen-infested soil and weed seed from contaminated to clean fields. While removing all debris isn’t possible, taking the time to clean equipment between fields can help reduce the movement of weed seed and other materials significantly.

Here are some steps for cleaning the combine from the North Central Agricultural and Natural Resources Academy:

  • Run the unloading auger while it is empty for at least one minute.
  • Open the clean grain and tailings elevator doors, rock trap and unloading auger sump. Make sure all bystanders are at least 50 feet away.
  • Start the combine and separator. Adjust the cleaning shoe fan to full speed for maximum airflow. Alternately, open and close cleaning shoe sieves electronically. Also adjust the rotor to full speed for maximum air suction or open and close the concaves. Operate the combine this way for at least two minutes for self-cleaning.
  • Clean out any material left in the rock trap.
  • Use a leaf blower or air compressor to remove material from the exterior of the combine, focusing on the head, feeder house, and axle and straw spreader at the rear of the machine.
  • Close the doors to the rock trap, and clean the grain elevator and the unloading auger sump.

To clean ATVs and planting and tillage equipment, the North Central Agricultural and Natural Resources Academy recommends:

  • Removing all plant material, living and dead.
  • Removing loose clods of soil that have accumulated on tires, wheel wells or fenders.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/corn-harvest-combine-harvester-4533420/ (downloaded 10/14/20)


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