November 25, 2019
Keeping Your Equipment Maintained During Farming Slow Season
The farming slow season is a great time to work on equipment maintenance. You know that none of your equipment will need to be in the field or ready in a hurry because everything has been harvested and put to rest for the winter.
Equipment maintenance is a necessary part of the trade. After all, if you can’t rely on your vehicles, tools, and other supplies to operate when you need them, how can you deliver on your farming requirements?
Winter is the perfect time to identify and complete maintenance requirements. Here’s an efficient way for you to complete your repairs and tune-ups before spring comes and brings a new host of tasks.
Take Inventory of Your Farming Equipment
The first step in any maintenance plan is knowing what equipment you have on hand. Tracking your assets will help you stay on top of repairs and any other needs that come up throughout the year. It’s the smarter way to approach keeping your items in working condition.
Not only do you need to identify what you have, but pinpoint what time of the year these items are used. Are they used year-round? Only in the planting season? The items you use first or on a constant basis are likely the ones that need maintenance right away.
Don’t forget to identify any leased equipment you use. While you may not personally be responsible for maintenance, it’s still good to know what’s yours and what’s being rented. Recording the items you lease can also help you set up reminders to return them when they’re no longer being used.
Identify Maintenance Needs and Priorities
Now that you know what equipment you have on hand, and what maintenance needs to happen before each piece will be ready for the planting and harvesting season. What sorts of issues is each piece of equipment prone to displaying? What are some signs of damage that you can’t afford to ignore? Make sure you check for these symptoms and apply the necessary fixes when the time is right.
When you know what times of the year you use all of your equipment, you can prioritize which pieces need immediate maintenance, and which ones can wait. That way, if you run out of time, everything you need for the planting season will be ready to use.
After you’ve got an exhaustive list of all the equipment you have on hand, it’s time to prioritize repairs. It’s possible you may not be able to complete all the repairs you need before the planting season arrives. Knowing which maintenance fixes are mandatory and which ones are just nice to have will give you a clear order in which to complete them.
Create and Stick to a Maintenance Schedule for the Farming Slow Season
Now that you know which items will be used first, you can create a schedule that starts with the most used tools, vehicles, and more.
Work backward from when you need to start preparing from the planting season. Put the last mandatory repair right before planting season starts and work back from there. Try to build in time for things to go wrong. Most often, when you start inspecting items for maintenance, you’ll find things that need replacing that you would have no way of knowing about without inspecting each piece of equipment. Leaving time for these things to go wrong will give you enough time to complete repairs, instead of scrambling to get everything done.
If you aren’t able to finish everything before planting season starts, identify times of the year when you have a bit of a break. Plan maintenance check-ups during these times, so you aren’t caught by surprise by dysfunctional items. Preventative maintenance can go a long way towards making things continue working throughout the year.