September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Though the 20-by-90-foot Harvestore poses a safety hazard to anyone working near it, Pronschinske has maintained his sense of humor.
"You don't have to take your family to Italy, I guess, [to see that other slanted structure, the Leaning Tower of Pisa," he said, chuckling.
His tilted silo was erected in 1977 and came with the farm when Pronschinske bought it. All was well with the blue cylinder until this past January.
"When it was full [of ground shelled corn], we took just about a gravity box out of it. That's when it kinked the first time. Then, about a month ago, it started buckling some more, as we were taking feed out," the dairyman said.
Unlike some slanting silos, this one is not moving due to unstable soil. Instead, there's a rip in the steel, about 10 feet above the base.
Pronschinske doesn't know the angle of the tilt. But he said the silo is leaning over about 10 feet at the top.
"Half the roof is over the foundation," he said.
The farmer is still trying to remove the remaining 60 or so feet of corn. He's not sure how much feed remains in it.
"But we sure as heck aren't going up there to find out," Pronschinske said.
To try to counterbalance some of the lean, Pronschinske moved the arm of the bottom unloader to the far side. In another nod to caution, he's taking corn out just a little at a time.
"We were thinking of taking it out fast. But we decided it would be safer to take it out slow, because there's a possibility of it falling over. It could kill somebody here," the farmer said.
His son, Andy, stands watch while Pronschinske hauls corn away, using a skid-steer.
"We take out three buckets and we're gone," Pronschinske said.
He admits that working near the silo makes him nervous. The farmer said, "When it was kinking some more a few weeks ago, you could hear corn moving inside. It was pretty eerie."
One machine shed is in danger of the silo falling on it, Pronschinske said. In the meantime, he just wants to get the remaining 300 or so tons of corn out. Otherwise, he said, "If it goes down, there's going to be cleanup."
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