Grease key to keeping grain carts carting

Don’t take cart for granted | Check the tires, lights and flighting and make sure the parts that need it are greased

Soft fields and bigger farms have prompted prairie producers to add a new machine to their operations.

Once an American and European tool, the grain cart is becoming common in western Canadian harvesting systems.

“It’s more than a rolling grain (bin). It’s a machine and it needs regular maintenance,” said Jerry Ecklund of Unverferth Manufacturing of Kalida, Ohio. “There are some great companies up in Canada making carts. We’ve been doing wagons and gravity boxes since the 1970s.”

The company has built the Brent grain carts with a corner-mounted auger from their Iowa operations since 1988.

“Just because the grain cart isn’t a combine, it still needs attention. If you take care of the regular stuff it will last a long time,” he said.

“As with most farm equipment they need grease. Universals, bearings, they benefit from grease, and you’d be surprised how many folks forget this.”

Phil Jennings of Kinzie Manufacturing in Williamsburg, Iowa, also has suggestions.

“The carts are tough, but they do have wear parts and paying attention to them will keep you away from harvest time breakdowns,” he said.

“Once you add a grain cart to your farm, you pretty soon see the ability to add extra combine capacity. Once you have added the combine capacity you won’t want to lose that cart for any reason because combines will be waiting, Jennings said.

“Tires or tracks. Take a good look before harvest starts and with tires check them when you’re greasing and servicing in the morning. A flat will cost you.”

“Examine your drivelines regularly. If it has a belt package on the primary drive, check them regularly. If there are signs of wear consider keeping spares,” he said.

“Lighting needs to be in working order. Harvest doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.”

Both men said the biggest wear region on the machines is the grain flighting. Scalloped or worn edges on the flighting will reduce capacity and cause operational issues.

Ecklund said most Canadian machines are pretty new and flighting wear will be limited, however after a few years it can become an issue, especially where pulse crops and sandy soils meet.

“Most of carts are being delivered with scales on them now. At the start of harvest go to town with a load of grain in the truck and scale it. You can use that to calibrate your grain cart,” he said. “It may not have a lot of moving parts, but the ones it has shouldn’t be taken for granted.”

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