Friday, October 11, 2013

It’s harvest time! Making sure that equipment is in operating conditionis key.

peer bearingHarvest time is an exciting time for all farmers. The much anticipated reaping of rewards from the hard work done throughout growing season is nearly upon us - and now is the time to ensure that your equipment is in top operating condition.

In order to maximize time in the field, yields require preventive maintenance and adjustments to combines to ensure safety, efficiency and optimal performance. Combines should be cleaned and inspected prior to going into the field in order to reduce lost time - which cannot be made up if weather conditions become adverse.

Here are some additional tips for preventative maintenance:

Clean the combine.
  • This is a critical part of the preparation. By removing any previous crop residue and chaff, efficiency will be improved and it will lessen wear on critical components. Remove old grain, any rodent nests that may have been built in storage and clean any oil and grease buildup. This will allow you to safely inspect the combine components more easily and safely.
Check the combine for any loose or missing hardware, protective shields and components.
  • Give yourself enough time to order and install any worn or missing components.
Inspect all belts, hoses and gears for wear or damage. Also, inspect all bearings and augers.
  • This will ensure they are operating at optimal efficiency.
Check for any missing or damaged shields, guards, loose nuts, bolts and screws.
  • These provide safety and prevent machine breakdowns.
Check gauges and indicators so you don’t miss a warning while in the field.
  • Also, be sure to check lights and safety markers to avoid dangerous situations while transporting and using the equipment.
By making sure that equipment is safe and efficient early in the season, you’ll be able to pay large dividends in the field. Studies show that the loss of as little as two kernels of corn per row-foot or 4 kernels for soy beans can add up to one bu/acre left in the field. With prices at historical highs, this can add up quickly to money left in the field.

Once your equipment is tuned-up and ready for the field, some additional considerations can also help in making fall harvest safer and more efficient. When the field was planted, the seeding unit has a wider and more forgiving width pattern than the harvesting equipment. You were able to plant closer to edges of ravines, dips and other sloping areas. Harvesting equipment has a narrower center so caution must always be taken when addressing these areas.

Enjoy the harvest, reap the rewards of your hard work and be safe!


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