Modern day farming offers business owners a wealth of equipment and farm implements to help them do the job more effectively, taking the mastery out of skills and long hours of labour. While it’s a helpful addition to any farming operation, these items can be expensive and thus need to be well-maintained.
Farming machinery and equipment advances in the blink of an eye, and farmers simply cannot live without these innovative and important business assets. They make life easier for farm owners and workers, which is one of the key reasons why you need to look after them and ensure they run smoothly at all times. Poor maintained equipment can lead to breakdowns, accidents and more.
Here are five farming tips and tricks to help extend the life of your equipment:
- Learn more about your different machinery
Educating yourself and your farm employees about the different machinery and their specific requirements will help everyone have a clear understanding of what to look out for when a machine starts acting strangely. The more advanced a piece of equipment is, the more important it is to monitor the machine’s functions as this could help you to spot faults before they happen. Also, try and ensure that each piece of equipment has its own user so that they can become familiar with the machine. Give those employees the task of overseeing the equipment operations and checking the equipment daily.
- Experiment with different lubricants
When it comes to doing maintenance checks, lubrication is one of the most important factors to consider. Using the right lubricants for your equipment helps to put that necessary grease and oil back into the engine. During these checks, look out for any grease build-ups or excess oil leaks. You can tell a lot about the overall functioning of your unit by the results generated from the lubrication. This will also be able to tell you whether or not you’re using the right type of liquid for your equipment make. If you’re unsure, speak to the different agricultural equipment manufacturers in South Africawho supply the equipment you own, as they will be able to give you the professional support and help that you need.
- Keep your farming equipment clean
Cleaning your farming equipment is the first step to maintaining a healthy maintenance schedule. If you take the time to regularly clean your equipment before putting it away, you’ll be able to cut down on costly repairs. When you clean your units regularly, you’ll be able to prevent dirt build-up in moving parts which may speed up wear and tear damage too. Even if a unit is faulty, clean the equipment first so that you have a clear understanding of what needs replacing. If you’re not using a particular machine or tool, store the item safely in a sheltered area. With climate conditions being so uncertain, the hot and cold change can do major damage to your items. So, shut down equipment properly every night after use and ensure that whoever is in charge of running that unit is performing regular maintenance and cleaning checks.
- Assess equipment for wear and tear
When you’re making use of a specific item every day, it’s important to assess the machine for wear and tear. You’ll be surprised at how quickly high temperatures, shock and friction can deteriorate parts. The most common reasons as to why wear and tear occur are from the vibration caused when the belts and gears are out of alignment, when the equipment is in an accident, when high temperatures cause friction on already worn-out parts and when the machine starts to get old. The older the machine, the more frequently you should lubricate its belts and bolts to prevent rusting and dryness in moving parts.
- Maintain a schedule of maintenance and repairs
Keep a record of your maintenance plans to monitor how often electrical systems, tyres, fluids and tracks need to undergo maintenance or repairs. By keeping an up-to-date plan, you and your team will become familiar with the different components, and know what needs to be inspected when and where. Further maintenance tips that need to be incorporated into your plan is the regular change in filters, checking your gearboxes for vibration, lubrication or damages that may lead to future breakdowns, run regular togue checks on bolts, and do alignment checks on v-belts, pulleys and CVT transmissions. Proper storage is another important aspect of preventative maintenance. As mentioned, exposure to weather elements can lead to premature failure of your agriculture equipment.
Depending on your farming operations, there is always going to be equipment that needs special attention. In these cases, you will need to keep this machinery in top shape as they’re the driving force of your farming production. The minute these units stop working, everything stops running smoothly. Sometimes these faulty machines break down in moments when you need them most, therefore it’s important to have a preventative plan in place to avoid these situations. Make sure that you have a fully trained working force that can help you identify these challenges in advance, by means of regular maintenance and routine checks. These small tasks will save you plenty of downtime and money on repairs, increase the lifespan of your equipment and provide safer equipmentoptions for employees.