Combine Cleaning Procedure
When harvesting organic crops it is very important to make sure the equipment
is clean, especially when moving from non-organic to organic fields (for
example custom operators). As the first priority use combines that are
dedicated to organic production only. If that is not possible use combines
that are dedicated to non-GMO crops. When that is also not possible take
the time (may need several hours) to clean out the combine very well.
Here are some ideas:
- Consult the Owner's Manual on cleanout procedures, access doors, component
disassembly, and safety procedures.
- Choose a suitable location for the cleanup.
- Collect appropriate safety gear - eye protection, dust mask, gloves,
hard hat, ear protection.
- Evaluate appropriate cleaning equipment for each area: Air compressor
with wands; shop vac; leaf blower; large tarp; broom/whisk broom/steel
brush; screw driver; other tools as needed.
- Run discharge auger two minutes or until grain tank and auger are
- Drive combine across end rows to dislodge grain before moving to cleanout
- Remove grain head making sure to safely secure the feeder house with
- Move combine to cleanout area.
- Place tarp under combine to capture the grain being removed.
- Inspect and clean cab roof.
- Lower feeder house and clean inside and outside. Pay special attention
to areas where grain or weed seeds may catch.
- Raise feeder house and clean stone trap and remove all material.
- Clean grain tank, remove grain from top and bottom augers, ledges,
corners. Consider flushing unloading auger with other material such
as wood chips.
- Clean the cylinder or rotor and concave threshing area and separating
area by opening all access doors identified in owner's manual and removing
- Clean the straw walkers (if equipped), open all access doors. If you
must enter this area consult owner's manual on safety precautions and
use a rubber mat or carpet to lay on.
- Clean tailings and grain elevators by opening bottom access doors
and removing grain and empty and cleaning the moisture sensor if equipped.
- Clean the cleaning shoe area by removing chaffers and sieves for easier
access, or opening and closing the sieves several times to loosen debris
and remove grain. Access and empty lower grain cross-augers as far as
- Clean rear axle, chopper and spreader areas to remove all grain and
- Replace all safety shields, making sure all elevators have been reassembled
and all doors and openings are closed and fastened.
- Clean the grain platform by removing stems and grain from cutter area,
under platform auger and reel. Check inside auger area via inspection
plates if present. Clean under side shields.
- Clean the corn head by removing all stalks, ears and loose grain.
Lift snouts and vacuum to remove grain and other plant debris.
- Consider flushing combine with the next grain crop to clean the unloading
auger before collecting grain from the field.
(Adapted from Combine Cleanout Procedures for Identity Preserved Corn
and Soybeans, Iowa State University, 2003.)
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