grain handling

Harvest Health & Safety Tips

Farmers across Minnesota are starting to take to the fields to harvest their crops. We want all of our farming friends and their families to be safe and stay healthy during this busy and prosperous time.  Please follow these farm safety tips and health guidelines. Happy Harvest!

Road Safety During Harvest

Harvest Safety TipsWe all know that sharing the roads with other vehicles during harvest can be, well, challenging. Drivers who are in a rush are not patient or careful, and accidents involving farm equipment can be dangerous. Be prepared and drive safely!

  • Watch for drivers who may not be watching for you.
  • Use your lights and flashers to ensure others see you coming.
  • Keep an eye out for animals, especially around dusk or dawn; they are on the move as fields are being harvested.
  • Use slow-moving vehicle emblems if your equipment is traveling under 30 miles per hour.
  • Consider using a following vehicle when transporting larger farm equipment on roads.

Physical & Mental Health

Harvest Farming is physically demanding and long hours can take their toll on our bodies. That physical stress contributes to accidents and even death. It is important for farmers to follow some basic health guidelines when beginning fall field work.

  • Take Breaks – If you are spending long hours in the field, take time for short breaks. It may seem unproductive, but it is good for YOU.
  • Slow Down – It only takes a few minutes to run safety checks on your equipment. A few minutes that could save your life.
  • Get Enough Sleep – When you are working long hours, it can be hard to find the time to get a good night’s sleep, but falling asleep behind the wheel can have drastic consequences.
  • Practice Healthy Eating  – Take the time to eat. Grab a bite in the morning, pack a cooler for lunch and supper or ask a family member to deliver a meal. They’ll be excited to visit you! Make sure your meals and snacks are healthy and give you the nutrition you need to keep going.
  • Relax a Bit – Take a minute to relieve stress. Enjoy the beauty of the season. Listen to music, take a walk (even if it’s just from your combine to the farm site) or play with the kids. It’s worth it to restart your mental clock.

Child Safety on the Farm

Farm families work together and during harvest, farm kids are often riding in farm equipment and helping out where needed. This is a wonderful lesson in hard work but can also be very dangerous! Here are some farm safety guidelines to protect kids.

  • Watch for kids when driving, they are hard to see and often times not looking out for you.
  • Turn equipment off, lower hydraulics and remove the key when not in use, even just for a short period of time. Younger kids especially love to “drive” and want to be just like you.
  • Designate a specific play area. Be proactive and put a fence around your swing set and sand box. It is the best way to let your kids enjoy the outdoors and be safe.
  • Keep an eye out for safety hazards around the farm. Keeping things cleaned up and put away can be very important. Then there’s nothing for them to get into.
  • Watch kids diligently. This can seem like a no brainier but make sure if kids are outside that someone is with them and watching them closely.
  • Assign kids age-appropriate jobs to do. It’s great to have them involved and learning but always have an adult there to supervise.
  • Talk to them about the dangers of the farm. Education is important, don’t just assume they know. Review farm safety often especially before or during harvest.
  • Take extreme caution when letting kids ride on farm equipment. They enjoy being in the combine or tractor with you but be sure to be safe. Keep them in a seat with a seatbelt, do not leave them unattended even for a minute and if you find yourself distracted, send them home.

Farm Equipment Safety

Farm equipment is powerful and dangerous. Many farmers are injured each year. Take safety seriously and take the time for safety checks. EVEN during your most busy times.

  • Keep kids and farm visitors away from machinery unless an experienced person is present.
  • Take time prior to harvest to review safety information. Read manuals and warning decals.
  • Inspect and clean all equipment properly.
  • Stay away from moving parts when operating and fixing equipment. Don’t value saving time over saving your limb or life.
  • Shut down equipment completely before getting out. Turn off the engine and remove the key. It’s best for your safety and the safety of others.

Grain Handling Precautions

Famers handle lots of grain during the harvest season. Grain storage bins and handling equipment can be dangerous. Take these precautions.

  • Lock entrances to grain handling areas.
  • Wear high quality, dust-filtering respirators in necessary areas to protect your lungs.
  • Properly clean all grain handling equipment.
  • Install ladders inside bins in case of an emergency.
  • Do not enter grain bins unless absolutely necessary and never when they are being loaded or unloaded.
  • Use a safety harness when entering a bin. Shut off and lockout power and always have someone waiting outside the bin to help you out if problems arise.

Have a Safe & Successful Harvest

The Corn Capital Innovations Team wants to wish you all a safe and prosperous harvest this year. Then it’s time to start planning for the future. Please contact us if you need help with next year’s cropping plan.

Fall Harvest Preparation

It’s that time of year again. Early mornings, late nights, meals in the field, trips to the parts store…it’s harvest. Before the rush begins, we remind you to scout your corn fields and clean your combine and other equipment.

Scout Your Fields Using the 3 S’s

Before you start up that combine, scout your fields to make sure they’re ready to harvest. Use the 3 S’s as your guide.

  • Scout Corn FieldStage of Growth – Check if your corn has reached black layer or if the milk line is still working its way down.
  • Stock Attachment – Check how strongly your ears are attached to the shank. If ears start to fall when you lightly move it, then you may want to consider harvesting that field early.
  • Stalk Quality – Check stalk quality by grabbing a shovel, digging up a few and splitting them open about half way down. arIdeally, cannibalization should be only happening at 1 or 1 1/2 nodes above the crown.

Clean Your Combine for Seed or Identity Preserved Grain Harvest

Cleaning your combine before harvest is an important step. Are you, and your employees, following a checklist to ensure every step is being done? We have created a checklist for you to use.

  1. Open sieves and clean out doors
  2. Increase air flow to maximum
  3. Run machine in place at field RPM’s for 2-3 minutes
  4. Stop machine and shut down engine

Brush, blow, vacuum or flush with high pressure all of these items. Work from the top down:

  • Grain tank and unloading auger
  • Straw rack and grain sieves
  • Header and feeder areas
  • Cylinder and concave areas
  • Cross auger and grain elevators

Finish by letting everything dry out, and resetting sieves and air flow. Then you’re ready to harvest. Consider keeping the first 50 bushels separate as commercial or feed grain, not seed.

Clean Your Hauling and Handling Equipment

Cleaning your seed hauling and handling equipment is just as important. Here is a checklist for you or your employees to follow. Remember, safety first!

Flush, vacuum, blow or brush all of the following:

  • Augers and elevators
  • Storage bins and boxes
  • Grain beds, trucks and trailers
  • Used sacks or bags

Have a Safe & Prosperous Harvest

Wishing you all a safe and prosperous harvest in 2015. As always, we are here to help. Contact us if you have questions about scouting your fields or if you need assistance developing a cropping plan for 2016.