Hi Ho, hi ho….

Happy New Year !

I hope that everyone reading this has had an enjoyable holiday season. We certainly have and now it’s back to work !

The weather has been quite mild the last few days which has made farm work much more enjoyable. Cold weather is hard on both men/women and machinery. What starts and runs easily at above O temps doesn’t always happen at below O temps.

During harvest last fall we experienced several days of rain. In order to keep moving we take it off damp and dry it down later. Storing damp grain in grain bags is a lot safer than in bins because the bags keep it deprived of oxygen and reduce heating and spoiling.

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grain bags in our yard

Here we are taking the grain out of the bags in the field. By the time we got the equipment warmed up and in place it was about 9am the sun was just coming up on the horizon and it was a balmy -9 celsius.

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The machine that is hooked up to the bag is called an extractor and it has a large auger inside that augers the grain up to that spout, simultaneously cutting the bag and rolling it onto the roller that you can see closest to the tractor. Each bag holds a deceptively large amount of grain, these ones hold 12,000 bushels. To put that in perspective – that’s 3,672,000 bottles of beer*. The extractor is powered by the tractor which moves in reverse as the grain is removed from the bag.

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We load the back end of the truck first as it keeps the weight more evenly over the wheels and also is in keeping with the direction that the extractor moves. The truck does have to be moved as it is loaded though.

As you can see, we don’t have a lot of snow yet so it makes the job a lot easier. Once we get a few feet of snow it’ll take a lot longer to get started.

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This truck is probably the only Mercedes I will ever drive !

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The wildlife are quite curious and can often do a lot of damage to the bags. We set up electric fences around the bags to cut down on the damage but smaller animals can and do get around the fences and chew on the bags.

 

Once we get the truck filled we take it back to our yard to our drier set up. See the guy on the side of the bin?

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That’s hubby popping the spout into the bin. I would have done it but, you know… someone has to take the picture.

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O.K., with the spout in place we can begin unloading the truck. The bin on the right is called the wet bin and it is gravity fed into the auger that takes the grain into the red and grey grain drier to the left. The grain drier is heated with propane and has a series of channels inside and a powerful fan that combine to dry the grain. Samples are continuously taken and tested for moisture levels; the drier fan and heat are adjusted as needed. Once the grain passes through the series of channels it is augured out the left side of the drier and up into the dry bin.

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This is a shot of the truck as it unloads. The truck box is on a hoist and is gradually lifted as the grain runs out the end gate. Yes, it’s a dusty job, and since this is barley, you want to stay out of the dust whenever possible because it’s itchy !!! The hoist has a remote and so does the end gate so technology has really helped here 🙂

We haven’t started the drier yet in these pictures. Once the drier is started and if the weather is cold you’ll see clouds of steam coming out of the drier. $$$ floating to the sky !! It’s better all around to dry on these good weather days.

I hope to get to the sewing machine today and maybe I’ll have a finish to show you soon !

  • in my research for this post I found there to be a wide variance in the bottles per bushel information. I have used the low figure here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. prairiecharmquilts
    Jan 03, 2016 @ 18:45:47

    My husband was a farm hand for 6 years. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Tracey
    Jan 04, 2016 @ 09:05:17

    We don’t do grain bags on our farm. You probably grow more than we do!! 😉 I loved seeing your shadow in your pics.

    Like

    Reply

  3. allisonreidnem
    Jan 05, 2016 @ 16:22:43

    Thanks for another look at what farming is really like. Your photos and explanations open up a whole new world to me!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Jody
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 14:52:28

    I LOVE this inside (outside) glimpse of your farm – it fascinates me. I live where it is all farming, but we have apple orchards, grapes, currents, peaches, no grains!

    Like

    Reply

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