Five Things Every Farmer Should Know Or Have

Here’s a few random things that you might find useful to know someday. Of course, you might know all this already but read on anyway — just in case.


One of our trucks has a PTO that likes to grind even when the clutch is pushed in. This is common on many trucks. I found that if you push in the clutch and move the transmission shift lever slowly into one of the synchronized gears the cluster shaft in the transmission will quit turning and you can shift the PTO into gear without grinding.


All of our farm land is away from our yard sites so packing a lunch is an every day affair during seeding and harvesting. After years of running out of food and drink at the end of a long day I started packing a few extra items of necessity. I pack a few granola bars, small bags of nuts, dried fruit and any type of sealed foodstuff that can handle freezing and high temperatures. I also put in an extra water bottle or two. I use a frozen plastic pop bottle for an ice pack in my lunch box. Then when it thaws a bit I have extra water if I need it. I keep this box of extra goodies in my half ton from spring to fall. This handy thing has saved me from starvation or dying of thirst during that last round near midnight time and time again.


As well as extra food it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit with you. They’re available for a few dollars and might be quite handy in the field. Also consider your medication. If you take regular medications pack a few extra in case you need them. Some other general medications may be handy such as headache remedies, antacids (for those lovely lunches I make), sinus medications, etc. Also don’t forget to pack warm clothes — this is Western Canada; my parka is in my truck 12 months out of the year.


We often have to take off riveted brackets from truck frames. These are riveted on so securely that even when the head is cut off the bracket is still securely stuck to the frame.

The easy way is to use the cutting torch. First, cut off the heads of the rivets. If you’re lucky the bracket might come off with just the heads cut off. However we find that on most of them they are still solidly attached. Carefully heat up the headless rivet and blow out the centre of the rivet that is still in the bracket. This is a bit tricky to do without wrecking the bracket. Once the centre of the rivets is cut out the bracket will easily come off the frame I had to remove one the other day that was on a frame in the midst of a large area of tall dry grass (Clearly, the gardener missed trimming that portion of the estate last year). I found that if you drill out the centre of the rivet first it will cut off easily with a chisel. Make sure to centre punch the rivet and drill it out to about three-quarters of its diameter. Drill about half way through the rivet until you are through the bracket. The rivets are usually soft and drill easily. Then chisel off the head of the rivet. The bracket should then come off easily.


You’ve likely got a hoard of valuable stuff you take with you to the field for emergency repairs. Here’s a few others things that might be handy.

A large piece of clean flat cardboard. Find one that folds up nice to go behind the seat. Use it when you have to lay in the mud and dirt to fix some faithless piece of machinery.

Duct tape, of course.

A flashlight. Even in our long summer days at times you may need a good flashlight to look inside things to see what has flown apart. Or to help you after the sun has gone down.

Portable air compressor. One of those 12 volt jobbies that costs about $40 and plugs into your lighter plug. They’re slow but I’ve used ours to fill a few tires.

I hope these thoughts make your fixing, seeding, spraying and harvest adventures a bit easier. Be careful out there. Take your time, don’t rush and carry a cell phone to call for help if you need it.

Ron Settler, his wife Sheila, and their sons Ben and Dan farm and run a repair and salvage business at Lucky Lake, Sask.

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