Expert: Play It Safe Unloading Grain Bins

Northwest Iowa — A northwest Iowa extension expert is telling farmers to play it safe unloading grain bins.

Kris Kohl is an agricultural engineer working for Iowa State University Extension’s Buena Vista County office in Storm Lake. He says escaping from moving grain is nearly impossible.


He says rescue from flowing grain is not easy, and is usually all but futile.


Kohl says precautions should be taken even in bins that are not being unloaded. But if it’s being unloaded — stay out.


He says in a professional setting, there are strict rules about unloading grain from a bin.


Extension experts recommend that if you do have to enter a bin — after making sure no one can start unloading equipment — that you wear a safety harness, have a buddy or two on the outside that can intervene if needed, and stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow. Then get to the bin ladder or safety rope as quickly as possible.

Kohl also says to always unload a bin from the center sump until the bin is mostly empty because if it’s not unloaded evenly a bin can collapse.

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