Stay Harvesting Rice!


The 2016 California Rice Harvest depends on a smooth operation in order to finish in a timely manner. To keep the harvesters cutting rice a daily maintenance of the machines and equipment must be executed. This involves:
-checking both engine and hydraulic oil
-greasing bearings and adjustments
-lubing the chains
…and much, much more!

Full Transcript:

In the last episode you saw how harvest works and a big part of it running smoothly is that the harvesters keep cutting. So in this episode we’re going to show you the daily maintenance ensuring that these harvesters keep cutting.

Tools: grease gun, paper towels, chain lube, straw cutter, duct tape.

Before starting the engine we’re going to check the engine oil. Reading a little low. Okay, also while we’re up here, while that header is down we need to check the hydraulic oil. Empty. Operating level.

Now, let’s open up the machine and start greasing it.

Let’s grab the grease gun. Now, there’s 10 hour, 50 hour and a 100 hour grease receivers. We run the machines approximately 10 hours per day so we’re going to hit those every single morning.

Alright, let’s grab the chain lube.

Let’s grab the straw knife. This is the tail-end of the harvester. We want to cut this straw that got wrapped around the straw-spreader. The straw-spreaders are what…spread the straw in the field and we don’t want them getting hung up because the straw gets wrapped around it. Nice and clean!

Let’s inspect the screens now. These screens back here are the last filter between rice and straw. If the screens get hung up with straw that would prevent rice from passing through them.

Now, let’s open the concave door, start the tractor, lift the header, lift the concaves and I’ll explain what all that is in a minute.

Here’s a special tool: PVC pipe with a nail at the end so I can basically floss the combine’s cylinder teeth. See this spins–beating straw, separating rice from it.

Okay, all clean time close it up.

So now what we’re going to do is take a look at the belts, make sure they’re not cracked. And also look at the tensioner pulleys and make sure they’re in correct adjustment.

Good. Good. Good. Good. Good.

If you can turn this it’s too loose. Adjustments look good.

Now we can start closing these doors.

Now back when I turned the combine on I lifted up the header for two reasons. To get better access to my windows to wash them and also to get to the rock trap. Let me show you.

I’m going to do the most dreaded task of the day. That’s clean the rock trap. However, good thing I’m the boss. Hey Mike, will you clean my rock trap out for me?

No thanks, I’m good!

So under the header is the rock trap. It’s a good time to mention that all the straw and dust that’s been floating around–it’s itchy! That’s why this is the most dreaded task of the day–why I saved it for last and why I try to get other people to do it. So far i’ve done it every single day this season.

It’s important to be upwind obviously. This is straw, mostly rice and we’re checking for mud or rocks or anything that I picked up that shouldn’t have been run through this harvester.

I keep my windows 20-20. You know, like good vision.

Oh good, fuel’s here. Diesel!

Now, let’s move this bad boy into cutting position.

Now the reason why we have a lot of time in the morning to do this daily maintenance is because we’re waiting for the moisture, the dew, of the rice to dry so we don’t want to bring rice in that has a drop of water on it and get a reading of 24% moisture when in actuality the rice is actually only 19-20%.

So that’s the daily maintenance for today. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow, the next day and the next day and the next day until we’re done cutting and then we can start cleaning up the equipment. So for today–daily maintenance check.