Maintaining farm equipment is one of an agricultural professional's most essential jobs — proper maintenance can protect your investment, preserve worker safety and ensure maximum efficiency. Farm machines represent a significant investment, and high-quality machines can enhance your productivity and performance. Once you've invested in top-of-the-line equipment, you'll want to extend its working lifespan as long as possible. Given the many recent changes to farm technology, equipment maintenance is essential.
Preserving your farm equipment requires close attention to detail and foresight. You'll need to make time for training, cleaning, maintenance and inspections. Managing each of these tasks will help you keep your equipment running for the duration of its intended lifespan. Follow these farm equipment maintenance tips to help you preserve your machines.
Recognize Common Issues That Affect Farm Equipment
Equipment preservation calls for a working knowledge of the most common issues affecting farm machinery. Knowing what you're up against can help you decide on a plan of attack. Odds are, you're familiar with some of the challenges involved with farm equipment maintenance, but it's helpful to consider what you're working to avoid. Problems that often impact farm equipment include:
- Lack of maintenance: Neglecting maintenance tasks will cause machines to break down sooner, so farmers have to stay on top of all necessary maintenance duties. Remain diligent about proper care to steer clear of avoidable issues.
- Misuse: The quickest way to shorten a piece of equipment's lifespan is to misuse it, which is why proper and regular training is so important. Providing all necessary training and following instructions can help preserve your equipment.
- Wear and tear: Some degree of regular wear and tear is unavoidable. As long as you invest in good-quality machinery, keep up with regular cleaning and maintenance tasks and always use your equipment correctly, you can expect your machines to meet or even exceed their projected lifespans.
10 Farm Equipment Maintenance Tips
So, how do you keep your equipment working for as long as possible? When you build these simple measures into your routine, they’ll allow you to extend your machinery’s lifespan. Remember the following farm equipment maintenance tips to help you make the most of your equipment.
- Use Machines Properly
- Keep All Documents Organized
- Perform Regular Oil Changes
- Lubricate Moving Parts
- Check Hitches and Tires
- Inspect Lights and Batteries
- Keep Equipment Clean
- Identify Early Signs of Wear and Tear
- Store Equipment Indoors
- Invest in Quality Equipment
1. Use Machines Properly
One of the most important things you can do is make sure you’re always using equipment as intended, as misuse is a common cause of problems. Ensuring proper machine usage will help you steer clear of any avoidable problems and extend your equipment’s life span.
Anyone who uses a piece of machinery should be familiar with the owner’s manual, knowing what to do and what not to do. You should provide hands-on training for machine usage and keep your team up-to-date on any changes or developments. Doing so will also help you preserve employee safety — machine misuse can present a major safety hazard. Protect your team and your equipment with regular training.
2. Keep All Documents Organized
The secret to long-lasting equipment is keeping all records and documents related to your farm equipment organized. These include receipts, service records, dealership information, warranties and owner’s manuals. Whether you complete a task yourself or have it done by a professional, you still need to record it. This will ensure everything is accurate and up-to-date.
In keeping things organized, it’s a good idea to create a maintenance calendar, either by hand or using a software tool. Make sure you keep up with all maintenance tasks — you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
3. Perform Regular Oil Changes
Just like your car, farm equipment needs regular oil changes. As such, it is essential that you make sure your farm equipment receives oil changes on a regular basis. It is also good practice to check any oil filters and replace them as recommended by the manufacturer.
4. Lubricate Moving Parts
Farm equipment are very complex machines with several moving parts. As a result, you should lubricate all moving parts regularly to ensure the equipment is in good working order. Factors such as your local climate and the manufacturer’s recommendations may impact the frequency of completing this task.
5. Check Hitches and Tires
If you pull farm equipment, then it is important to regularly inspect the tires, trailer hitches and couplings on all of the equipment that you pull. Not only that, but you should also check the tractors, trucks or ATVs that you use to pull the equipment. Be sure to clean any excess dirt or rust that you find while completing this task.
6. Inspect Lights and Batteries
Check all of the lights on your equipment, including brake lights and signal lights. Be thorough and attach trailers and ensure all lights work on them, too.
You will also want to look for any signs of corrosion on your batteries. This can lead to stalling and power loss to the equipment. When it comes to seasonal equipment, consider storing the batteries indoors while the machinery is not in use. Doing so can protect the lifespan of the batteries.
7. Keep Equipment Clean
Keeping equipment clean is another vital aspect of maintenance — dirty equipment is more likely to malfunction. You’ll want to take steps to avoid dirt, mud, dust and contaminant buildup, which can shorten equipment lifespan and decrease efficiency. Clean equipment will work better and last longer. Between uses, always store your equipment in a secure and sheltered location to protect it from the elements. In addition, be sure to perform regular cleaning tasks, including:
- Checking and replacing filters: Check your machine’s filters often, ensuring they’re not blocked up. Replace them as needed.
- Checking seals: Make sure your machine’s seals are in good condition and service them if necessary.
- Pressure washing: After use, you may need to pressure wash your machine to get rid of any caked-on mud or dirt, which can cause rust or erosion.
- Oiling gears: It’s also important to oil your machine’s gears often, keeping parts well-lubricated to avoid rubbing or scratching.
8. Identify Early Signs of Wear and Tear
Maintenance also requires a careful watch for signs of wear and tear, allowing you to address these issues right away. Check the following parts of your machinery often:
- Bearings: Always check equipment bearings before operating. Your bearings should run firmly with no movement. Keep them well-greased and secure their dust covers.
- Belts: Belts must stay firm and taught, without breaks or cracks. Replace any loose, torn or cracking belts.
- Chains: Look for signs of rust or wear on your machine’s chains. Tighten any chains that have drooped.
- Shafts: Make sure any shafts are firm and straight, not bent.
- Sprockets: Sprockets should be rigid — as the teeth wear, the chain might start to slip. Check that the sprockets are tight and smooth.
9. Store Equipment Indoors
Farm equipment maintenance involves protecting your machinery from the elements. If you have the space, then store your equipment indoors when you are not using it. This is the best option to help preserve your investment and keep it running longer.
However, if you don’t have the room to keep your equipment indoors, then consider other options, such as investing in an overhang or using tarps.
10. Invest in Quality Equipment
Sometimes it all comes down to the quality of the equipment at hand. Although outdated technology and cheap solutions may provide initial cost savings, they’ll lead to greater unexpected downtime, requiring repair and replacement more often. Choosing high-quality equipment can help simplify maintenance.
High-quality equipment is more likely to run without issue. Choose machinery from reputable manufacturers like Pequea, a leader in agricultural equipment with a focus on lasting quality. Pequea products include hay tedders, hay rakes, spreaders, bale wrappers, nut harvesters and wood chippers — each with innovative technological solutions for peak efficiency and longer lifespans.
Find a Pequea Dealer Near You
Agricultural professionals know how essential equipment is to production. Unexpected downtime is the modern farmer's worst enemy, which is why maintaining farm machinery is always a top priority. You can extend the life span of your equipment by keeping up with all necessary maintenance tasks. Understanding the common issues affecting farm equipment allows you to devise a plan to prevent those problems. Always use your equipment according to the owner's manual and invest in regular training. Keep on top of regular cleaning and maintenance tasks, including preventative tasks.
Maintaining your farm equipment is much easier when you invest in high-quality machinery. Choose Pequea farm equipment for efficient and long-lasting solutions. At Pequea, we build our products stronger to last longer. We design our machines to provide top efficiency for even the toughest jobs. If you're interested in powerful, advanced farm equipment, find a Pequea dealer near you today.