Pre-season preperation for maize harvest

21/8/2020
Silage Clamps

When we hit the maize silage harvest window we are also entering the end of a long year with shorter days and increased pressure to make the most of the good weather.

Rushing to get through large areas of maize puts pressure on harvest teams and it is important this does not distract from important safety measures which could lead to nasty accidents.

Think like an F1 pit team.

The best prevention of accidents is preparation, preparation also helps increase efficiency.

Silage covers are a great example; having them on site a week in advance of when you need them means you are ready if you have to start a couple of days early to hit a weather window.

Check lists are helpful. This could be as simple as a list of the things you need ready before you begin harvest – see an example below.

You might want to consider a check list for machinery which covers morning checks, especially important when machines are shared between drivers. Recording that day’s driver also helps create a sense of responsibility.

Preventative maintenance is easier said than done but repairing a broken tail light or worn hydraulic hose is much easier in a concrete yard with time on your side than it is late at night in the middle of a maize field in the rain.

Staff training and management – it is your responsibility to ensure anyone working for you is safe. A real sticking point like use of mobile phones at work is easily solved with a simple policy everyone follows.

Example pre-harvest clamp and cover check list:

  • Clamps emptied and cleaned
  • Drains cleared
  • Panel joints checked and repaired
  • Covers ordered and a plan for covering the clamps agreed
  • Who will be on hand to sheet the clamps?
  • How will the sheet sizes you have ordered be used; ARK will provide you a design for your clamps if you need it
  • Are all your sheets, gravel bags and nets in one place and are the nets in good order?
  • Have you put your side wall sheets up the walls?

When you start harvesting:

  • Is access to the clamps clear? Is there a way to run a one-way system around your site to avoid trailers bunching?
  • Have trailer drivers been given accurate directions to the fields and back to the farm and what are your expectations of them when they are on the roads. For example, you might point out good places to pull over to allow traffic past
  • Have you agreed and informed the person filling the clamps the maximum fill height and side slopes you are expecting?

And finally:

  • Do you have a plan if there is an accident?  
  • Do you know who would be responsible if it is your clamp then you are responsible for everyone that works on it!

If you need help with anything, especially silage sheets, netting and gravel bags please get in touch with ARK today.

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