A grain auger is an agricultural device used to transport grain. The auger is made up of a solid shaft within a tube, with a flattened steel spiral surrounding. The spiral, called flighting, is welded onto the shaft. As the flighting turns counterclockwise, the grain moves up and is pushed into the shaft. In turn, the grain is pushed into a gravity-fed hopper, which pours grain into trucks, grain wagons and storage bins.
The grain auger was invented in 1945 by Peter Pakosh; initially, it was the subject of ridicule by inventors and designers. However, Pakosh continued to refine the invention, and began selling the machinery in mass quantities in 1953. From there, it became the industry standard, and grain augers are in wide use today.
A grain auger is portable, being easily transported via wheels on the bottom. These augers are commonly used on both large and small-scale farms. Augers can be almost 60 feet long, and must be in a lowered position before moving. If the auger is moved while in a raised position, it can get tangled in electrical lines, raising the risk of electrical shock and serious injury
On some grain augers, there is a guard on the intake end to keep debris from falling down the shaft. If a machine does not have a guard, there is a high likelihood of grain contamination; most agricultural departments recommend guard use to prevent such problems. Gran auger guards are usually triangular, covering the intake completely and only allowing small grain pieces to get through.
In most cases, a grain auger is only used during harvest time, when grain is ready for storage and transport. The NASD (National Agriculture Safety Database) recommends yearly maintenance, including a safety inspection. During the inspection, part functionality is ensured, the machine is lubricated according to manufacturer specs, and finally, the machine is tested.
Augers in Oregon are now available to the public, with hydraulic power and a diesel engine. These augers are easier to transport, clean and use. Grain augers greatly simplify the harvesting, loading and transportation process, and when properly maintained, can prevent grain contamination.
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