How to Keep Your Equipment Maintained in the Winter Season
Farmers are outside in every weather imaginable, the winter weather can cause extensive damages on farming equipment by causing it to rust and fall apart. The importance of proper equipment care and maintenance is very important because replacing damaged equipment could cost thousands of dollars.There are different enemies to tractors while being out in the field completing tasks. When farming, rust is inevitable because of water, grime, and different types of fertilizers.
In the USA commercial farming is done in all types of weather. Farmers and their ground equipment must cope with extremes of temperature including cold, heat, snow and rain. Winter can cause extensive damages on farming equipment by causing it to rust and fall apart. Blistering heat of summer can also cause failures. Down time due to equipment failure can result in huge losses. It is imperative that farmers prepare for these threats by proper maintenance. Perhaps building in redundancy also adds another level of protection.
Farmers can inoculate their business with some prudent and cost effective methods. They can join farmers associations and benefit from reduced maintenance agreements. Large numbers of farmers can approach equipment manufacturers for extended warranties on farm equipment. So instead of 3 years warranty on a harvesting combine, the association may negotiate 5 years. Exclusive supplier awards may results in longer warranties and reduced new equipment costs.
Farmers with similar crops located in the same geographical area may also enter into equipment sharing arrangements. When a farmer’s equipment is not working, sharing could be a temporary solution if their neighbors are not using that machine. A effective equipment sharing arrangements require good communication among farmers.
Farmers may also wish to consider in house self service options. In the Midwest, there are mega farms consisting of thousands of acres. Sometimes access to the farm is by small airplanes or long commutes by truck. It is more practical to be able to handle basic repairs and maintenance in house. Farm owners and their staff must be able to conduct routine equipment maintenance. Proper fluid applications on equipment is vital. These may include oil, coolant and brake fluids. Fluids are what keeps the engine of the machine running smoothly, so it’s important to make sure they are properly taken care of throughout the snowy winter months. In addition to using fluids, which are tested through extreme conditions and services, follow these steps to keep your machine ready for cold weather:
A general outline for proper machine use is only the start for cold climate operation. Furthermore, applications and resources vary greatly across the country. For more information specific to your machine and climate, consult your local service dealer. The more research done to protect your ground service equipment can save you a lot of money in the future.
In Florida, sugar cane harvesting equipment may require a different approach to equipment used on crops in the Midwest. The summer heat can be as harmful as brutal winter cold. Engine coolants must be properly maintained to prevent damage due to overheating. All moving parts must be lubricated to manufacturers specification. Again warranties, manufacturers and third party servicing contracts are all viable options for proper farm equipment maintenance. Even the very mild winters of South Florida must be taken into account because the rare frostbite has potential for damage if farm equipment is not winterized as it is more likely to be in North Florida and other parts of the USA.
Planning is also essential. Farmers must project how many pieces of equipment, numbers of hours required during harvesting and planting seasons and how to prepare the equipment for these peak times. It is not enough to have equipment in good working order. It must be meticulously prepared for peak operating times but effective servicing during ‘down times’. This starts with keeping flawless servicing recording preferably in sync with manufacturers specifications. There has to be an evaluation of contracts for crops from purchasers. Timing of delivery of crops will contribute to servicing of equipment for peak periods. Even crop storage facilities has machinery that must be maintained. Trucks that transport crops to storage bins or directly to purchasers must be maintained. A master schedule is valuable to ensure that planting, harvesting, transportation and storage are efficiently coordinated and executed.
Of course, equipment cannot be serviced if it’s not in the possession of the farmer. Measures must be taken to guard against equipment theft and vandalism. Don’t make it obvious that you have valuable machinery up for grabs. Would you leave your door unlocked when you go to work in the morning? It would not be wise to put your best farming equipment on display for any spectators to see. Keeping your ground equipment out of plain sight (in a barn or shed) so that it’s not easily noticeable and accessible from the road is probably the easiest way to avoid possible theft. It’s less likely that someone will trespass on your property without knowing what they have to gain from the risk. Also, a barking guard dog will make someone think twice about sneaking onto your farm to get a look around, an added bonus is that they are also a man’s best friend.
Thieves often move in the shield of darkness, since it decreases the chance that they will get caught. That’s why it is recommended to install motion sensor security lights with timer lights that turn on at sundown because they are an inexpensive but very effective way to scare unwanted visitors. It is never wise to leave keys in unlocked vehicles, but locking up your equipment is worth the extra few minutes of effort. Along those lines, locked fencing and gates can provide an added layer of security that might convince thieves to look for easier open targets. Maybe adding some barbwire will deter potential thieves. There are different enemies to ground tractors while being out in the field completing tasks. When farming, rust is inevitable because of water, grime, and different types of fertilizers on the ground. There are many effective anti rust applications that can be administered after a manufacturers warranty expires. Be careful not to make alterations before warranty expires because there is a risking of voiding manufacturers warranty. This is not advisable.