March 16, 2010

There is nothing quite like pulling into a field in the spring and beginning the planting process.

Once you have taken part in this annual rite of farming, those warm, spring days when the soil is still too cold and wet can nearly drive you crazy. The only thing to do is to bury yourself in pre-season maintenance. Not only will it extend the working life of the equipment, it will also reduce the potential for breakdown in the field. With that in mind, check your operator manuals for maintenance and service suggestions, and get busy.

Pull the unit out of storage, and give it a careful visual check, making note of any unusual wear marks. This is also a good time to check bolts for loose or missing nuts. Cotter pins should also be checked and replaced if worn.  Check moving parts to be sure they move freely and smoothly when not under load.

If there are hydraulics involved, give the hoses a careful once over, feeling for rough spots or possible leaks. Replace kinked or worn hoses. Look for any sign of fluid leaking around fittings and replace as needed. 

Check, clean and grease fittings on bearings. Replace any Zerk that either appears blocked or where the spring-loaded ball has failed. Don’t over grease. An over-greased bearing can overheat. A rule of thumb is to only inject grease until resistance is felt. 

These steps, along with other recommended service, will keep your equipment working better, longer. Perhaps even more important, they will keep you busy until your fields are as ready for the planting season as you are.

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