Why you need a routine maintenance plan for your farm equipment
As someone who is familiar with farming, you know it’s a demanding industry in which to work.
But working on the farm is not only demanding for people, but also for the equipment and machinery that they use on the farm day in and day out. Farmers need that equipment to hold up and be able to perform in conditions that are not always ideal.
That’s when wear and tear occurs, though. And, shortly after wear and tear begins to appear, minor maintenance issues pop up. It’s these small problems that can’t go left unrepaired. Ignoring those needed repairs only leads to larger, more expensive fixes down the road.
This is why farmers need a routine maintenance plan for their farm. These types of plans can keep you on top of scheduled maintenance and can prevent costly bills from the mechanic in the future.
Fix small problems before they cost you
The primary reason for having – and following – a regular maintenance plan for your farm equipment is to save you money on repairs over time. In fact, one study from the University of Nebraska states that routine repairs can reduce maintenance costs by up to 25%.
Plus, it’s not as though you are on your own in determining what routine maintenance steps need to be followed. You can simply consult the preventative maintenance guide that comes with most equipment. This can often be found in the operator’s manual for each piece of machinery.
Get the most possible resale price
There are other benefits to keeping on top of a maintenance plan for your farm equipment and machinery.
Staying on track with repairs and regular maintenance can also help you out in the future when you are ready to sell a piece of equipment that either no longer fits your needs. If you take care of this equipment throughout your ownership of it, then you can expect to fetch a higher sale price when that time comes.
Just make sure that you record the maintenance and repair history for each individual piece of equipment. If you can save paper records, such as receipts and other documentation, then that is even better as you can prove to potential buyers that certain repairs or upgrades were completed.
You should also do your best to keep the machinery as clean as possible while you own it. This shows that you took pride in the equipment and interested buyers are more likely to believe you when you say you took good care of the machinery.
One final piece of advice for maintaining resale value is to store equipment indoors and out of the elements for as much of its life as possible. This increases the value for trading in or selling. It also helps lower costs of repairs that can be necessary for equipment that is stored outside.
Well-maintained equipment is safer for operators
Then there is perhaps one of the biggest reasons for keeping up on maintenance: safety. A well-maintained piece of farm machinery is safer for those who operate it and for anyone who is nearby when the equipment is in operation.
Equipment that has gone without its needed maintenance and repairs creates a work environment that is not safe for anyone. It’s irresponsible and can result in injuries or even death in the worst of cases.
What should be included in a regular maintenance schedule for farm equipment?
Most farm equipment share similar needs as far as regular maintenance is concerned. There are certain checks and repairs that should be part of any machine’s routine checkup.
One of the most straightforward steps to include in a routine for the equipment on your farm is regular oil testing. By testing the engine oil and tractor hydraulic fluids, you can prevent certain failures or detect those failures before they become one of those major issues that will hit your wallet hard.
According to Farm Progress, an oil analysis will help owners keep an eye on wear and also oil contamination. Again, if these analyses are done regularly, then they can more easily point to problems or changes in performance.
Farm Progress also recommends regular engine tuneups – and against any sort of tractor engine modifications. Tuneups can help make sure engines are producing as much power as they should and that they are not consuming more fuel than what is normal.
Tractor engine modifications, on the other hand, may provide you with a higher rating, but that could put more stress on engine parts not meant to handle that rating. The end result is almost always a shorter service life and more time (and money) spent on repairs. You very likely will void any manufacturer’s warranty if you go and modify a tractor engine.
Finally, approach any piece of machinery like you would your car. If you’d keep an eye on it for your car, then do the same for any tractors or other farm equipment. American Family Insurance recommends that you keep an eye on voltage and amperage of the battery, tire pressures, air filter cleanliness and the tightness of any clamps, fittings and seals.
Don’t forget about proper cleaning
Cleaning always needs to be part of a maintenance routine. In order to keep machinery in ship shape, dirt and other grime need to be removed on a fairly regular basis. The best way to do this is with a pressure washer.
This will help equipment look better and stay in better condition over time.
Learn more about farm maintenance
Farm repairs and improvements are just one of the many ways Midwest Land Management can assist clients who work with us.
We specialize in professional farm management that encompasses everything from planning, to accounting of all income and expenses, crop input purchase negotiations, record keeping, inventory management, contract and lease negotiations and more.
Our team is fully licensed to serve clients in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. We work hard to achieve clients’ goals and objectives. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your farming operation, too.