In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
In The Shop: Maintainance Now or Maintenance Later?
Jun 07, 2011
Some guys do maintenance and prep-work on planters before they store them for the summer. Other guys park their planters in their sheds "as is" and do their maintenance and prep just before they head to the field in the spring.
I see advantages to both strategies. If you do the work before storage, all the big and little problems are still fresh in your mind, easy to remember and therefore easy to identify and fix. All the pieces and parts are shiny from use. Oiling chains and greasing components ensures they stay rust-free during storage. And some dealerships have special prices on parts and labor for those who bring their planters for service before they go into storage.
But. Waiting till next spring to make repairs and do maintenance has advantages, too. It gives the operator time to reacquaint himself with the machine and how it works before he heads to the field. All the pieces and parts will be "fresh" and the machine can go directly to the field as soon as the work is finished. Delaying maintenance till just before use also allows charging the costs against taxes in the same year the crop is grown, which may or may not be a significant factor.
Personally, I favor doing maintenance and repairs before putting a machine away for the year. I like knowing a machine sitting in a shed is ready to go to the field. I like "locking in" the cost of repairs, especially the way the prices of parts has skyrocketed in recent years. But I also understand that post-planting is a busy time, with haying, spraying and summer work making it difficult to find time to work on a planter that is "done for the year."
And, there's always the consideration, as one farmer told me: "By the time I get done planting, or spraying, or combining, the last thing I want to do is spend any more time around that particular piece of equipment!"
Kind of like what my wife says about me, after we've been traveling in close proximity to each other during a week's vacation....