When it comes to your farm or ranch operation, your equipment is one of your largest investments. Regular farm or ranch maintenance may be the best way to keep your equipment up and running. Using the slower winter months for chores is an ideal time to perform the routine maintenance your equipment needs. Use this schedule to make sure you stay ahead of maintenance on the farm or ranch, so your equipment is in optimal condition before planting begins in the spring.
Farm or Ranch Pre-Planting Maintenance
- Before beginning the season, do a thorough inspection of your farm equipment where you look for signs of wear with belts, chains, hoses and other moving parts. Take the time to replace if parts are worn – don’t wait until they break as it could cause harm to the motor.
- Loose fasteners can cause damage to thread parts, linkages and bushings, so it’s important to replace worn clamps, screws and tighten loose connections to save time and preventable repairs later.
- Inspect tires and wheel bearings and make sure they are ready for use and are properly inflated.
- Don’t get stranded. Inspect your battery for signs of corrosion. Test for strength and replace as needed.
- Because planting involves late hours, test that lights, signals and hazards are in place and in working order. Replace as needed.
- Check fluids and engine coolant levels. Also, since your equipment has likely been stored throughout the winter months, look for fluid leaks on your shop floor and perform equipment maintenance as necessary.
Pre-Harvest Equipment Maintenance
- Begin harvest with clean machines and conduct cleaning throughout the harvest. Clogged equipment can cause fire and damage.
- Because fires happen during harvest season, make sure you have fire extinguishers that are charged and in good working order, and easily accessible throughout harvest.
- Pay attention to belts, filters and hoses any time you stop for fuel. Replacing these parts when worn could prevent breakdowns at crucial times.
- Check fluid levels regularly, paying extra attention to oil and lubricants that keep your engines cool. When a tractor is new, many dealers recommend changing the oil after the first 50 hours of use, and every 100 hours after that. Replace your filters when you replace your oil. During harvest, it’s a good idea to check other fluids every day.
- Visually inspect for possible leaks, exposed wiring or signs of wear. These are signs that your equipment could use a tune-up by the implement dealer before harvest begins.
Farm or Ranch Maintenance in the Off-Season
- When you prepare to store your equipment for the season, clean and pressure wash dirt and debris to prevent rust from forming. Consider spraying with a rust inhibitor before storing in a dry shed.
- Schedule annual maintenance with your implement dealership. Consider it an annual tune-up where a professional will do a once-over and provide more thorough maintenance.
- If your combine or tractor equipment had a fire or ingested a rock, contact your Farm Bureau agent about reimbursement or replacement options. Farm Bureau offers Replacement Cost Coverage for farm machinery, so check with your agent during your annual SuperCheck® to make sure you are fully covered.
Your equipment is what keeps your farm and ranch operation up and running smoothly throughout the year. Be sure you are doing routine maintenance to ensure your equipment is in optimal condition. And contact your local Farm Bureau agent for coverage options to protect your investment.