LANGHAM, Sask. — Grain bin safety, both inside and outside the bin, is no longer taken lightly.
Farmers are taking steps to stay off ladders, living by the adage: keep your feet on the ground, not below it.
Grain level monitors have long been considered essential tools when filling and emptying bins. Whether it’s a digital device or a conventional peep sight, the better the monitor, the more producers have learned to appreciate them.
A Minnesota firm has developed a simple non-electric device called the Grain Gauge and it was attracting producers to have a look at the tool during the Ag In Motion farm show at Langham, Sask.
It consists of a pair of stiff, springy wires covered by a canvas cone inside the bin, serving as the mechanical sensor. As the grain level inside the bin reaches the sensor, downward pressure on the canvas pushes it toward the floor.
The wires are connected to a horizontal cylinder mounted on the outside of the bin wall, which shows a reading when the canvas is pushed downward. As the canvas sensor moves down, the outside cylinder rotates counter clockwise turning from black to green, thus indicating that grain is at the level. The green indicator glows in the dark to help when working at night.
When grain pressure is relieved, the outside indicator reverts back to black. The sensor responds and gives a reading whether producers are filling or emptying the bin.
Like any grain level sensor system, the manufacturer recommends installing three units on each bin. There should be a sensor near the bottom to show when the bin is almost empty, one near the top to show when the bin is almost full, and one at the very top of the wall to show when it’s completely full.
The Grain Gauge’s manufacturer, Jamie Remmick, said the current version of the monitor is the result of an evolution from the first models eight years ago. The new unit has been available to Canadian farmers since 2014. He adds that he is able to sell directly to Canadian farmers.
“We have no problem shipping over the border,” said Remmick. “Our regular price in limited quantities is US$105 per unit. But when we sell in lots of 24 sensors, we drop the price to $80 per unit.”