I went down to Illinois in December to meet Marland Sample, owner of Sample's Grain Vac Service and find out how a custom grain vac service operates. The day went by quickly, it was a clean-up job in corn. There were 2 bins, the first was 10,000 bu, the second 12,500. The first bin was pretty standard, and took about 3 truck loads with a 900 bu semi. The second bin, however, was a little bit trickier.
Because the corn was still up to the top of the door, the owner of the farm, was planning on climbing onto the roof and dropping in with a shovel to clear the way. Marland had an easier solution: he loosened three of the four bolts securing an 8" metal plate to the bin door, leaving only the top bolt in place, and while holding the hose just underneath, slid the plate over, creating a crack and allowing a controlled stream of grain to pour out. Most of the grain was sucked up by the hose, the little bit that escaped dropped into the bucket I had strategically placed below. It only took a few minutes for Marland to clear the doorway enough to climb inside, then things really picked up. Marland slapped on the load-out nozzle and started moving in a semi-circular motion around the bin, sucking up pile after pile. Eventually, he switched to the clean-up nozzle and continued in a similar pattern.
I've always wanted to take a crack at the clean-up nozzle and see how it works, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity! Marland was happy to take a short break while I messed around and tried to mimic what I'd seen him doing a minute before. Boy, was I in for a surprise! For something that looks a lot like mowing the lawn, there's a lot more technique involved than one might think. For example, when full of grain, the hose attached to the clean-up nozzle become pretty darn heavy! So I would advise against picking it up to move it around the bin, as great a work out as it is, working up a mean sweat in cold weather isn't a good idea! Take a look at the video below to see how Marland uses the clean-up nozzle efficiently.