I came across an article which describes DIY system for unclogging grain bin augers from outside of the bin. This is a big deal in terms of improving safety, since entering a grain bin to remove clogs is one of the most dangerous tasks on the farm. With the wet weather this year and the late harvest, wet grain and clogs have been a huge problem this year. It seems like hardly a week has gone by lately where I haven’t seen an article about someone becoming trapped in a grain bin, and way too often these incidents have been fatal.
The DIY solution for clearing a clog from the outside was designed by Guy Mills, a Nebraska farmer. His solution uses a hose, a steel pipe, two elbow joints, and a heavy duty (250cfm) compressor to blow the clogs out/apart a few inches at a time. While most compressors that you would use to say put air in tires or operate drills don’t have that kind of pressure, most rental places have them for less than $50 a day. The compressor really packs a punch though, so if your bin is older use caution so that you don’t accidentally cause damage in the process of removing clogs. Also since this solution uses compressed air at very high pressures/velocities be extremely careful that the components you choose and your assembly methods are able to handle the pressure and follow all safety recommendations for the compressor itself.
Here is the link to the original article which gives more detailed instructions on how to build and use the de-clogger:
It’s now February and for many of us, this is the closest we get to having “down time” at any point in the year. If you find yourself with a few spare hours sometime in the next few weeks, it might be a good opportunity to think about making a farm safety plan for your farm. A safety plan doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as:
-Making sure that emergency numbers are up-to-date and are saved in everyone’s phones and/or posted where they might be needed.
– Going through your first aid kits and making sure that they are well-stocked and that nothing has expired.
-Walking around and checking that your fire extinguishers haven’t expired and are in good shape.
-Making sure that you have enough/new protective equipment like ear plugs or dust masks.
-Checking that your slow moving vehicle signs and all of the lighting on your equipment is in good shape.
-Going through your storage areas to be sure that any pesticides, medications, weed killers, etc that have expired or that you won’t use get disposed of properly.
-Working on clearing walkways and putting down fresh gravel as much as the weather allows.
The point is, as soon as planting season hits everyone is going to be super busy. By doing some of these little things that improve safety ahead of time if you have an hour free here and there goes a long way towards preventing problems later on.
If you want to create a more structured farm safety plan, the link below goes to an article that has a list of age safety plan resources at the bottom. Different farms are going to find different program structures more useful, so browse around and see if there is a template or program that works for you.