Practice Seed House Safety And Proper Maintenance

seed house
Seed house — photo courtesy Cliff Granberry Corp.

Overhead seed houses are valuable for short-term seed storage, wet seed storage and gins with limited yard space. Design improvements allow overhead seed houses to be an efficient method for loading trucks from flat-storage houses.

When fully loaded, a double-hopper seed house can weigh 200,000 pounds or more. This load hovers above trucks and personnel, so structural integrity is critical. Volatile weather can put older seed houses at risk, especially those not properly maintained.

hrough the years, moisture and chemicals from seed along with humidity cause the inevitable – rust and corrosion. Since the damage primarily occurs inside the seed house, it’s out of sight and mind.

If a structural failure occurs, personnel are put at risk of injury.

All cotton gins should review their overhead seed house safety and maintenance procedures before the start of the 2018 cotton ginning season.

Safety Comes First

• Never go beneath a seed hopper that contains seed.

• Properly guard all ladders and catwalks.

• Do not enter the seed trailer or climb on the side walls of the trailer.

• Post decals, “DANGER – DO NOT ENTER AREA BELOW HOPPER DOORS WHEN SEED IS IN STORAGE HOUSE.” These are free from your local ginning association.

• Contact your ginning association or loss control representative to get a copy of the “Cottonseed System Safety Policy” for employees, visitors and outside contractors such as seed haulers.

• Be sure to use all other known gin safety procedures daily.

Maintain And Repair

• All proper safety precautions should be taken by all personnel who perform maintenance and repairs.

• Clean out all seed.

• Clean hopper panels to remove seed oil. Steam cleaning consistently works well.

• Use sanding and steel brushing to make the inside surfaces of the hopper panels smooth again.

• Carefully examine the entire seed house for stress fractures and loose hardware, especially if vibrators have been used.

• Remove rust and corrosion.

View From The Catwalk

Best industry practices include the use of a trailer-viewing catwalk mounted on the outside of the vertical columns, approximately 9.5 feet above the driveway. This provides a good vantage point to see into the tops of the trailers to determine when to open and close the hopper doors.

Jim Granberry, president of Cliff Granberry Corp., contributed this article. Email or call (972) 381-8899.

Interns Set To Join TCGA For The Summer

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association is pleased to have three interns on board for the summer to experience the cotton industry. Seven applicants were from Texas A&M University, six from Texas Tech University and one from Oklahoma State University. The TCGA internship continues to build a good reputation, and we are pleased to see interest from college students.

Clay Braden (Texas Tech University)
Braden is from Wall, Texas, (near San Angelo) and will complete degrees in agricultural & applied economics and business administration in May 2019. He has worked on a cotton farm in Wall and on some farms near Lubbock while at TTU. Braden will work at Lone Star Farmers Cooperative (Mereta) and Edcot Co-op Gin (Odem).

Mitchell Ratke (Oklahoma State University)
Ratke is from Farwell (Parmer County, Texas) and is pursuing a biosystems engineering (bio-mechanical option) degree at OSU. He grew up on a cotton farm in Parmer County and is looking forward to seeing the ginning segment. Ratke graduates in May 2019. He will work at Parmer County Cotton Growers (Farwell) and Willacy Co-op (Raymondville).

Dolan Vollmering (Texas A&M University)
Vollmering is from Orange Grove, Texas, (near Corpus Christi). He is pursing a degree in agricultural systems management and will graduate in May 2019. Vollmering has worked for Rachal Farms in Taft, Texas, during cotton harvest and wants to learn more about ginning. He will work at Seminole Service Gin Inc. and United Agricultural Cooperative Inc. in El Campo.

TCGA has the privilege of interviewing many well-qualified college students each year for the internship. We would like to hire all of them, but that is not feasible. TCGA does provide assistance in teaming some of the college students we are unable to hire with member gins and allied industry.

This year, we were able to assist three more students. Tristan Frerich (TAMU) will work at United Agricultural Cooperative in El Campo, Bailey Matchek (TAMU) will work at Oasis Gin in Seminole, and Brendon Mikeska (TTU) will work at Lummus Corp. in Lubbock.

TCGA is excited for these college students to have the chance to show their value to potential employers.

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association contributed this article.

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