No matter what size of farming operation you have, the winter season involves a special type of planning and work. It’s not an off-season, that’s for certain! The tasks performed in the colder months are extremely important. It allows us to take stock of production and make necessary adjustments or plans for changes/upgrades. And it also affords us the much-needed time to take stock of inventory and equipment so we can make any needed repairs and perform preventative maintenance tasks.
Here are some handy equipment-related maintenance tips to keep top of mind every winter to ensure each new year goes as smoothly as possible.
Clean the property itself – donate, toss, or sell parts or equipment you no longer need or use. You’ll have extra space left over for things like firewood and extra food for your livestock.
Pull equipment inside – protect whatever you can from the elements, and if it doesn’t all fit, bring in the most expensive pieces first… or call to quote a new building!
Check the roofs – the freezing/melting snow can expose new holes so be vigilant in your regular checks.
Critter-proof your systems – make sure to cover or plug holes as best as possible to keep animals from nesting inside.
Drain water from trapped areas – check for trapped water in your irrigation systems and drain it to prevent breakage in the lines.
Shut power disconnects off – prevent unwanted power surges from entering your systems by shutting these down during the off-season.
Remove batteries to store inside – most outdoor systems that aren’t being used, like irrigation engines, can have the batteries stored indoors over the winter.
Inspect for leaks – while items are left to sit idle, it’s a good time to spot leaks in equipment like distributor spouts.
Check for brittle or worn belts – replace old belts and align/tighten good belts on seed conveyors, motors, fans, etc.
Check for worn-out augers – you may need to add flighting, take out nicks, straighten shafts, and repair stems.
Inspect all fans and blades – clean any dirt buildup, repair loose connections causing noises, and sharpen and grease as needed.
Treat any bare metal – after removing any debris and dirt, apply grease or use a rust-preventative solvent spray.
Stock your indoor workspace – order fluids, parts, and spares that you may need in advance since supply-chain delays are still happening.
Bring things inside where it’s warm – it’s much more comfortable to work on items indoors when possible. You can take larger items apart outside and bring them inside to work on.
Take items to the shop for repair – some items simply can’t be repaired on the farm, so bring parts and equipment you need repairing (or replaced) to a shop, like the Woofter Fabrication Shop.
When using equipment during the coldest months, make sure it’s heated up properly – a block heater can come in very handy. Also regularly check the tire pressure and keep the gas tank full each night as the fuller tank helps prevent freezing.
And lastly, when you’re not plowing, planting, harvesting, or maintaining, you’re improving and planning – get a bid now to prep for your spring and summer upgrades and installations!
We do respect and enjoy the winter season in the plains. Winter serves as a reminder to tend to the tasks that help us do what we love the rest of the time. So, embrace the cold and get some fantastic maintenance and planning work done this season!!