Gear up for Spring Cleaning

Winter is almost over, which means it’s time for farmer-style spring cleaning. Inspecting your tractors, trailers, augers, and other machinery will give you a head start for planting season.

Have your tools ready and service manuals in hand. If you have misplaced a manual, look for one on the internet. You can usually find a PDF to download or a print copy to purchase.

STEP 1: CLEAN

Choose a secure site to clean your machinery, where the risk of contamination and danger is minimized. Make sure the land is flat and stable, and not prone to runoff. The site should not be near any public water courses or drains.

Check your service manual about the best ways to clean certain areas of your machines. Examples include chemical treatments, specific water pressure or temperature, or the necessary use of vacuum or manual equipment.

Rid decks, housings, joints, and rakes of any debris. Cleaning helps prevent debris from overheating and catching fire in machinery and minimizes the risk of spreading pests and diseases.

Dispose of waste in the safest and most appropriate way. While cleaning, take note of anything that may need repairs.

STEP 2: USE A FARM-EQUIPMENT INSPECTION CHECKLIST

Ensure that your equipment is in top working condition before you hit the fields.

  • Batteries: Does the battery hold a charge? Look for signs of corrosion and replace as needed.
  • Blades: Sharpen and replace as needed.
  • Brakes: Adjust brakes, drives, and clutches according to the manual.
  • Cooling system: Look for cracks from freezing and check coolant level. 
  • Engine and steering: Run the engine for at least 5 minutes to let it warm up after the long winter — you may need to reconnect the battery. Also, ensure steering and exhaust systems are in working order. 
  • Filters: Replace filters as needed.  
  • Fluids: Check and/or change the gas, transmission oil, hydraulic fluid oil, coolant level, and any other fluids. Remove all water that may have condensed over the winter. 
  • Hitches: Make sure you have the proper hitch pins and safety clips for what you plan to pull.
  • Hoses, belts, and plastic parts: Check all belts, rubber hoses, and plastic parts like fans for cracks. 
  • Hydraulic lines: The best way to test hydraulic systems is to pressurize them and look for leaks. However, be aware that not every leak will create a telltale puddle.
  • Mirrors: Climb in the seat and identify any driver blind spots. Will you be able to see people, fences, buildings, or other equipment in your path? Adjust the mirrors for visibility.
  • Nuts and bolts: Make sure all nuts and bolts are secure.
  • Safety Equipment: Make sure all shields and guards are in place and in good working order.
  • Tires: Check pressure and tread wear for each tire. Tighten lug nuts.

STEP 3: DO A FINAL WALK-AROUND

Are your headlights, taillights, and turn signals working? Testing your lights now gives you the opportunity to make a repair. While it could be a faulty wire on a trailer, it may be as simple as replacing a bad bulb.

Also, are your slow-moving-vehicle signs still reflective and visible from the rear of the equipment? The last thing you need as you start your spring planting is to get pulled over for a broken tail light or missing sign before you even reach your field.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Now that you’re ready for spring planting, it’s time to make sure that your farm policy is ready, too. Our farm coverages are just as thorough as the best spring cleaning — check them out.

Our farm coverages