Growing and raising food is often a battle — against the terrain, the weather, and commodity markets. None of the scars of these battles is so evident as the condition of tractors, combines, and implements after a long season of planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Dirt gets into gears and other components; parts wear down; and unseen objects like large rocks and metal damage running machines. While farmers cannot foresee every problem, there are proactive measures they can take to enhance the operation and extend the longevity of their equipment. The following five tips go a long way toward achieving those ends.
1. Operation Lubrication
You do not have to be a farmer to know the importance of keeping machinery properly oiled and greased. In addition to the motor, other components need oiling because friction among parts is a constant with agricultural machinery. The operator’s manual will designate where oil is applied. A common rule of thumb among farmers and ranchers is to use less oil while greasing more often. The useful life of parts depends on keeping friction to a minimum.
2. The Crop Grows Because of the Hose
Hydraulics are key to the successful working of farm equipment. Directing force from one location to another on the tractor, baler or other implement is the work of compressed fluid moving through various hoses, valves, and filters. Pay close attention to irregularities and perforations in this system as failure will be a setback in terms of time and expense.
3. Fighting the Elements
Preventing erosion and weather-related damage is a sure way to maintain equipment in peak health. A proactive approach to replacing weather stripping makes sure that a machine’s sensitive parts are not subject to rust and oxidation. Trims and seals ensure that such exposure is minimal and that continued performance is optimal.
4. When the Rubber Hits the Dirt
Maintaining optimal and consistent tire pressure is essential for effective performance and tire preservation. The actual number depends on the type of tire as well as the load bearing on the axle. Farmers should also scrutinize tires consistently for lacerations, punctures, and leaks. Gone uncorrected, these problems only fester until the tire is irreparable, and an expensive new one is inevitable.
5. Cleanliness is Next to Durability
Agricultural equipment is known for many moving parts, teeth, belts, gears, and connections. With regular contact with soil, many of these components — big and small — accumulate dust, grease, and dirt in every gap, fissure, and opening. Keeping the implements clean, every inch of them, serves safety and efficiency ends while staving off cross-contamination. Many protocols are recognized for proper cleansing including wastewater management; distancing from fields and livestock; and keeping accurate records of washings — what and when, e.g.
Your dealer is a good resource regarding these guidelines and others. Staff there can advise on the particulars of models and their maintenance in addition to general rules of equipment maintenance. Keeping your agricultural equipment in proper working condition is important for your farm’s future and success.