Just because harvest is finished doesn’t mean the work is done. Before farmers turn their attention ahead to next spring, they should take the necessary steps to winterize their farm equipment. AGCO has introduced an acronym, FARMS, to help farmers more easily remember five important steps to protect their equipment.
“We know after this year’s harvest, farmers will be eager to get into the field next spring,” says Keith Dvorak, AGCO product performance manager. “But without taking time this fall to care for their tractors and other implements, farmers are risking a costly delay come spring.”
The five-step FARMS process is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to extend the life of equipment, Dvorak says.
- Fill Tanks – Condensation often occurs when weather warms in the spring, which can cause water to enter empty tanks. Top off fuel and hydraulic oil tanks to eliminate this problem. Store DEF in its original container during winter. Plug the tank vent and keep the container away from heat and direct sunlight.
- Adequately Lubricate – Consult the operator instruction book and lubricate as recommended. Grease unpainted metal parts (ex. hydraulic cylinder rods) to protect them from the elements.
- Repair Damage – Fix any damage that occurred the past season. This ensures that broken parts don’t further degrade or rust during the winter. It also ensures faster access to equipment when it’s needed next spring or summer.
- Maintain and Clean – Remove dust and debris from both inside and outside of farm equipment. Change oil and fluids, and check tire air pressure regularly. Protect the air inlet and exhaust from humidity. Lower each linkage fully to avoid pressure buildup in hydraulic rams. If possible, slacken the engine accessories’ belt tensioner. Remove the battery and store in a dry location.
- Store Equipment – Keeping equipment under a roof is the best way to protect equipment, but this is not always possible. If left outdoors, cover equipment and protect computerized mechanisms with a cloth. Using water-resistant products such as wax can further protect equipment from rust and premature wear.
FARMS provides general guidance on winterizing equipment, but Dvorak adds that farmers should always consult the operators manual for instructions regarding their specific equipment. Taking care of equipment in the off-season will ensure that it will run optimally when it’s time to roll in the fields next season.
“Farmers work hard all year-round, and they need equipment that will help them complete their daily tasks,” he says. “By taking just a small amount of time this winter to make sure tractors and hay equipment are properly stored, farmers can rely on them for many growing seasons to come.”