Today I worked on loading soybeans out into semis to take to Des Moines. We used a grain vac to do this.
Now, for the uninitiated, a grain vac does not look like this:
Rather, it looks like this:
The grain vac is powered by the PTO (power take off) of the tractor and creates a vacuum. The vacuum goes through the tube (extendable in sections) and sucks the grain out, into an auger, and into the truck/wagon/whatever.
When it runs, it can move a lot of grain in a hurry. It also creates a lot of dust (dust is separated out of the grain through the discharge of the vacuum), and it is noisy. You can hear it for a 1/2 mile away easily.
Today, while my truckers were in Des Moines with loads of soybeans, Dad and I cleaned out the rest of a bin of soybeans with the vac. We unloaded the beans into a grain cart. Then, when one of the truckers go back, he parked on one side of the road, and I came out with the tractor/grain cart full of beans and unloaded into his trailer. This usually takes about 5 minutes, and we have our warning lights on. Unfortunately, some unpatient driver wouldn't wait for us and cut through my parents' ditch.
We then moved over to another farm and did the same process. The bins at this farm are not accessable by semi trucks (they'd get stuck), so we use the grain cart to move beans out to the road where the semis are at.
Before grain vacs were invented and available, the common way to clean out a bin was to put augers in/near the bin and scoop the grain to them. This was hard and dirty work. The grain vac has made life a lot easier for farmers, by far.
There's your farm lesson for the week.