We were able to harvest some more of the oilseed rape on Wednesday but we still haven’t finished as the remaining areas are still too wet for the combine to travel. The combine repeatedly got stuck but we were able to ‘dig it out’ with a spade and by jolting it backwards and forwards we would get the machine out and have an attempt in another area of the field. Steady progress continued until 7.30pm when we got stuck once more. I gave the engine full throttle and tried to reverse out of the mud to the sound of a huge crack and the combine slumped over to the left. I immediately knew what had happened -the axle/reduction gearbox hub had snapped and the wheel had fallen off and was now trapped under the frame of the combine.
Having only harvested 5 acres since the last disaster with the unloading spout we were now broken down again – and in glorious harvesting weather. We’d all had enough that night and called it a day. I went spraying potatoes at 6.30 on Thursday morning and then loaded the Land Rover up with blocks of wood and hydraulic jacks ready to try and repair the wheel hub. Luckily we found a second hand hub about 30 miles away which we had to remove from a fire damaged combine before returning home with it. We had to place the wooden blocks under the front axle and then dig out the soil from under the wheel to relieve the weight of the combine that was resting on the wheel. The wheel came out relatively easily and so the next job was to jack the combine up so that the new hub and the wheel could be refitted. The wooden blocks were continually sinking into the soil because the machine had got stuck in a ‘wet hole’ in the field. After several attempts of jacking and then chocking we were able to get the combine to a height at which the wheel could be refitted. The wheel and the hub are both very heavy so we needed to use the forklift which was also sinking in the wet soil.
Harvest recommenced at 4pm after another hard day’s work of repairs. The forklift, wooden blocks, tools, chains, straps and the old wheel hub were abandoned there in the field while we moved onto the next (hopefully drier) field. The combine was altered to harvest wheat and we got started about 5pm and by 8pm the 8 acre field was completed. The grain was 14.7% moisture which is dry enough to put into the grain store without having to dry it down any further. Hopefully the wheat harvest will continue on Friday and we keep our fingers crossed that there are no more mechanical problems.
Written by Steve @ Farming Friends