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.
Prepping Planters for Storage
May 14, 2012
Many of you are done or close to done with planting. Even though you're racing around trying to get spraying and other spring chores done, a couple hours spent prepping your planter for storage will save you time and money next spring.
First, if at all possible, don't leave your planter sitting outside while you wait to see if you'll need to replant. If it has to sit outside until you have time to clear room in the machine shed, be sure to coat every inch of every roller chain on the planter heavily with foaming chain lube. Use a wrench to turn the drill shafts and coat the top, bottom and sides of all those chains. That will help prevent corrosion from dew and spring rains until you can get it into the shed.
Next, clean out all the seed boxes, seed hoppers and anyplace seed spilled, lodged or is hiding. If you don't find it and clean it out, mice or rats will find it this winter, and when they get done munching on all the seeds you provided them, they'll gnaw on wiring harnesses for dessert. If there is no grain or crop residue on or inside the planter, they'll go someplace else to do their winter dining.
Write down now, while it's fresh in your mind, all the small things you told yourself you'd fix "after planting is finished." Even if you don't actually fix them before storage, the list will help you remember what needs to be fixed next winter, or spring, or whenever you finally get around to working on the planter.
The final thing to do before unhooking from the planter, even if only temporarily, is to make a chart, take a picture, or somehow mark every hydraulic hose and electrical connector, so you can hook them into the right connections sometime down the road. Make two diagrams. Take two pictures. Mark the hoses in two places, 'cause if you're anything like me, you'll lose the single copy and be left to poke and guess at which connectors go into which holes on the tractor.