With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, you can practically smell your crops growing already!
It’s time to do some inspecting and maintenance around the farm to get a head start on this planting season. The last thing you want is to bypass carefully inspecting your equipment now in order to get into the field because you could run into problems later when the busy season really starts to pick up!
Rockford Mutual recommends cleaning, inspecting and testing your equipment now to maximize your time during planting season this spring:
1.Cleaning Farm Equipment
Equipment covered in oil, dirt, mud and dust will not only make it hard to perform a proper inspection – it will also increase the chances of a mechanical fire.
The heat of your machinery can easily ignite chaff and other debris it comes into contact with. This can be extremely dangerous if your equipment catches fire while you’re in the field because you may not have the means of extinguishing the flames.
- Look for rodent nests on the combine that could’ve accumulated during storage.
- Clean up any oil or grease buildup.
- Clean housings, decks and rakes of any debris.
- Make note of anything that might need repairs along the way.
2.Inspecting Farm Equipment
Before you hit the fields make sure your equipment is in top working condition. Prior to working on equipment, always turn off machinery and shift into park or neutral with the parking brake engaged. Here is a laundry list of items that are worth inspecting:
- Fluids – Check and/or replace the gas, hydraulic fluid oil, transmission oil, coolant fluid, etc. Now is a great time to stock up on fluids for future maintenance.
- Nuts and bolts – Ensure all nuts and bolts are secure on equipment.
- Tires – Check the pressure and tread wear on every tire, tightening lug nuts along the way.
- Brakes – Adjust brakes, drives and clutches according to the manual.
- Hitches – Ensure you're utilizing the proper safety clips and hitch pins for the weight you plan to pull.
- Cutter bars, grain platform, and skid plates – Always inspect cutter bars for flexibility and movement. Check the grain platform for knife sharpness. Identify any wear and tear on skid plates under the grain platform and replace them accordingly.
- Blades – Sharpen and replace as needed.
- Mirrors – Jump into the driver's seat and identify any potential blind spots the operator might encounter. Adjust the mirrors for maximum visibility of other people, fences, buildings and equipment in the surrounding area.
- Hoses, belts, chains, and plastic parts – Inspect all belts, rubber hoses, and plastic parts like fans for cracks. Ensure belts are tightened appropriately and chains are adjusted correctly. Replace any items that look worn.
- Batteries – Ensure your battery holds a charge.
- Engine & Steering – After checking that the area is clear, start the engine and run at a fast idle for a minimum of 3 minutes. Inspect fuel, air and oil filters to ensure they don’t need replacing. Also, double-check your steering and exhaust systems to ensure they are functioning appropriately.
- Safety Equipment – Ensure all guards and shields are in place and in good working order.
3.Testing Farm Equipment
Don’t forget to test your headlights, taillights and turn signals before heading to the fields. Checking your lights now gives you the chance to make a repair before work gets busy. While you could have a faulty wire, it might be as simple as replacing a bad bulb.
Double-check that your slow-moving vehicle signs are still reflective and visible from the rear of your equipment. You don’t want to get pulled over for a broken taillight or missing sign before you even get to the field.
By completing these spring cleaning tasks around your farm, you can focus on the prosperity of your fields during planting and harvest season.