Clean your equipment between fields

Combines are impressive machines. Following harvest of an individual field, as much as 150 pounds of biomaterial is captured, including chaff, grain, and weed seed from escapes that made it through the season. Once the weed seeds go through your machine, you’re unintentionally planting next year’s weed crop.

Angie Johnson is the farm and ranch safety coordinator for North Dakota State University Extension. She says to prevent weed seeds from spreading from field to field, stop what you’re doing after each field has been harvested and take some time to clean off the main areas of your equipment.

"That can be as simple as using a portable air compressor or a leaf blower. Taking it out to your combine and starting from head to tail, essentially and getting the chaff and excess crop residue which can include weed seeds blown off and into one spot instead of spreading them on from field to field," says Johnson.

She also recommends surveying your fields prior to harvest and combining the cleanest fields first to cut down on the spread of weed seeds.

Another good reason to blow off the residue between fields – it decreases the risk of the combine catching fire.

"Get it off of the engine manifolds, get it out from within those heat sources and really taking some time to pull out any debris or crop residue that wraps around rollers and bearings," she says. "And so, those can be a source of where fires can start because of that dry residue and friction and heat building up."