Odds are you know the phrase “don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today”; this couldn’t be truer for grain bin and dryer maintenance. With the brief break between planting and harvest, as well as the likelihood of bins being empty, summer is the perfect time to make sure your grain handling system is good to go for fall. As you make your maintenance rounds, be sure to check out the condition of your bin floors.
An uneven concrete pad is one source for bin floor issues. While we typically see this in older bins due to their age, it can occur in new bins as well. An uneven foundation results in some supports taking on more weight than others, causing them to collapse and the bin floor to bend irreversibly. If the concrete pad is uneven but still in one piece, it can be mudjacked with poly foam. Otherwise, the concrete foundation will have to be entirely replaced. If the uneven foundation caused damage to the floor, the floor will also need to be replaced.
Supports themselves can cause issues as well. If they are installed too far apart, the floor will sink. This results in the floor bending and even being punctured by the supports, leaving holes for grain to fall through. When this happens, a portion of or the entire floor will need replacing. If fans are turned on when the bin is empty, the air can push the floor up which makes the supports fall over. As long as this is caught before grain is put in the bin, the supports and floor shouldn’t be damaged. You’ll want to remove the floor, reset the supports, and reinstall the floor.
Dirt build-up is also something to keep an eye on. When debris builds up, airflow is decreased causing poor ventilation during drying and cooling. Sweeping out empty bins helps prevent this. To cut-down on dirt build-up when the bin is full, you can install small blowout doors around the bin that open up to the supports beneath the floor. Opening these doors and turning on the fans will remove the floor’s dirt build-up. While installing blowout doors to an existing bin is the more economical option, the floor can also be taken out, cleaned, and put back in.
If you happen to find bin floors in need of repair this summer, it may also be a good time to upgrade the unloading equipment. We have a variety of permanent power sweeps available for installation, which are easier and safer than older unloading equipment.
Checking your bin floors this summer will save yourself the hassle and headache of dealing with potential issues when you don’t have the time or have a bin that’s plum full.