As corn and soybean harvest comes to a close, take a moment to winterize grain dryers, irrigation engines and other propane equipment. Proper storage and maintenance in the off-season lowers upkeep costs and reduces downtime from broken parts, helping ensure systems work safely and efficiently next season.
Nearly 40% of farms in the U.S. use propane to run pumps and engines, heat buildings and dry and process corn and soybeans. Here, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) offers a list of tips for preparing your propane equipment for winter.
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After a busy harvest, it’s important to properly inspect and clean out grain dryers to prevent foreign material from degrading augers, auger troughs and metering rolls of your dryer. Gary Woodruff, grain conditioning technology manager with GSI, gives producers the following advice to keep their propane-fueled dryers safe during the off-season and ready for the next season:
- Carefully turn off and lock out any electrical and gas supplies before starting any maintenance or cleaning. Open all access doors on the grain basket of the dryer and completely clean out any debris with brushes or pressurized air. Leave these access doors open during the non-drying season.
- Inspect power and control panel boxes for accumulation of debris. Using soft brushes or the careful use of pressurized air, clean and wipe down these boxes thoroughly.
- Inspect burner ignition wires, flame detection wires and control and power panel wiring for deterioration and replace if needed. Inspect wiring connections that might have loosened during the drying season and tighten.
- Visually inspect bearings to see if any need to be replaced. Do the same with drive belts and chains and lubricate the chains for the winter.
- Turn off the main supply valve from the LP gas tank and bleed out all gas from the entire gas train by running the burner until all pressure is gone. Carefully inspect all hoses and fittings and replace any that show wear, tear or deterioration, particularly any flexible gas hoses.