Maintain Your Machinery for Maximum Performance Thumbnail image

Spring’s arrival means it’s high time to prep tractors, mowers and other machinery for upcoming chores afield. A little elbow grease now will pay big dividends in the months ahead, whether you’re farming, managing food plots and wildlife habitat, or working the yard. There are many benefits to Spring Maintenance for both performance and machine health.

Besides improved performance, staying on top of maintenance also helps reduce repair costs.  It also extends the life and increases the resale value of your equipment.

Thankfully, spring machinery maintenance is a simple and straightforward process. The following tips can help you make quick work of these important maintenance duties. For additional questions, as well as parts or service, contact your neighborhood machinery experts at Minnesota Equipment.

Spring Maintenance and Tractor TLC

Tractors of all sizes benefit from spring maintenance—which ensures peak performance and fewer breakdowns. In fact, studies have shown that preventative maintenance and timely inspection can cut machinery repair costs by 25 percent.

Before you roll up your sleeves, thoroughly review your tractor’s operator’s manual. Make sure you address all recommended maintenance to the engine, electrical and fuel systems, transmission, tires and lubrication points.

When in doubt, contact Minnesota Equipment for expert advice and details on maintenance program options. Your John Deere dealer can also supply parts and recommend handy Maintenance Kits that include a variety of products including oil, spark plugs and filters tailored to your tractor’s needs.

Field Implements and Spring Maintenance

A combination of best land management practices, proper equipment selection and efficient operation allow you to maximize your machinery’s potential—whether you’re prepping a food plot, maintaining your lawn or planting field crops.

Naturally, it’s smart to repair and maintain your equipment well in advance of planned fieldwork—and certainly, before you get to the work area. Adjust and lubricate equipment according to instructions in the owner’s manual to improve efficient operation. For example, poorly lubed bearings, dull cutting edges and loose drive belts all require more energy and power to complete a given task.

Tillage machinery—replace worn tillage surfaces such as plowshares, chisel points, and disk blades. Check disks for worn bearings, missing scrapers and other parts needing attention or replacement; check and tighten nuts and bolts, and check resets for proper operation. Replace worn shovels or sweeps on spring-tooth harrows and field cultivators.

a picture of plowing

Don’t forget to level the implement front to back and side to side for even tillage depth. You can begin this process ahead of time, then complete final leveling and running depth tuning in the field.

Planters—A planter that isn’t working correctly wastes expensive seed and fertilizer. Check that disk openers on planters turn freely and scrapers are adjusted properly. Double-check tire inflation (critical to planter calibration) and packer-wheel down pressure. Make sure seed dispersal mechanism works properly. Clean seed drop tubes. If you have an air planter, check seals, the trueness of seed drum or disks, and air pressure.

Mowers and Other Harvest Equipment

Whether you’re maintaining a lawnmower, rotary cutter or forage harvester, always keep cutting edges sharp. Roughly 40 percent of the energy used by a mower or harvester is consumed by the cutting head—which means dull knives and blades can have major effects on fuel efficiency, not to mention the machine’s ability to produce a clean cut. In a similar vein, it’s also important to maintain proper blade balance and clearances of shear bars and other cutting system components.

A rotary cutter

Check knives and knife bolts on forage harvesters, mowers, and other cutters daily when under heavy use—and always after striking an object. Rotary mower blades are more prone to breakage than sickle bar mowers because they’re more exposed to rocks, stumps, and other hard objects,

Maintain A High Profile

For all tractors and other machinery that will be operated or transported on public roadways or trails, check the hazard lights and replace worn wiring and defunct bulbs as needed. While you’re at it, make sure slow-moving vehicle signage and reflectors are up to par.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 15,000 farm vehicles are involved in highway crashes annually. More than 90 percent of slow-moving and motor vehicle collisions occur on dry roads during daylight hours. Two-thirds of those are rear-end collisions. When a fatality occurs, the victim is usually the tractor operator.

Also make sure all other safety equipment—including seat belt, guards, shields, and other accident prevention features—is in place and ready to help you enjoy a safe and productive season ahead.