April 14, 2024

Make sure your grain carts are ready for harvest

Make sure your grain carts are ready to operate efficiently — and safely — when harvest begins.

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa — Farmers will soon be getting their combines ready for the harvest season. Justin Render, senior product specialist for Kinze Manufacturing, said it’s also important to perform basic maintenance on grain carts.

“The combine always gets a pretty good comb-through before the beginning of the harvest season because there’s so many moving parts,” he said.

“Grain carts are simpler, so it doesn’t take that long to do a little bit of preventative maintenance that can help avoid downtime and increase efficiency all the way through harvest.”

Render’s key preharvest checks include:

• First, always check cart wheels and tracks. For wheels, make sure that hubs are tight, so you don’t have any nuts that are backing off and wiggling in the rim that could dump a grain cart on its side. Inspect torque on the hubs and also make sure tires are inflated to the right pressures.

• For track systems, ensure that the belts are aligned to avoid any damage or premature wear.

• Repair or replace any worn driveline components, including gears, shafts and gear boxes. Make sure hydraulic hoses and connectors are properly fitted and free of visible wear spots or leaks.

• Make sure all lubrication points are functional and greased before heading to the field.

Render also encourages farmers to promote grain cart safety.

• Begin where the cart is hooked to the tractor — something as simple as checking how the drawbar is mounted to the tractor, making sure that the bolts aren’t fatigued and pins aren’t ready to fall out. Also confirm that safety chains are in proper order and functional. These are things that can get overlooked.

• Confirm that lighting, turn signals and flashers are working properly and determine if the slow-moving vehicle sign or luminous tape needs to be replaced.

• Finally, make sure that power shaft guards are in place to cover the rotating driveshaft connecting the tractor and cart.