To help farmers ensure all the bases are covered when winterizing their equipment, AGCO recently introduced its “FARMS” concept, which includes five primary steps designed to protect equipment during storage and ensure it’s ready to go next spring.
“Without taking time this fall to care for their tractors and other implements, farmers are risking a costly delay come spring,” says Keith Dvorak, AGCO product performance manager. “‘FARMS’ is a simple way to remember the important steps that go into winterizing equipment. It’s one of the easiest and most affordable ways to extend the life of equipment, adding more return on that initial big-ticket investment.”
Basically, this is how the FARMS acronym breaks down.:
F for fill tanks
- Condensation can occur as the weather changes from cool to warm. That allows water to enter partially-empty tanks and cause damage. So, top off both the fuel and the hydraulic oil tanks to eliminate the problem. Store diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in its original container during the winter. Be sure the tank vent is plugged and keep the container away from any heat and direct sunlight.
A for adequately lubricate
- One of the most effective ways to protect equipment is to make sure it is well lubricated. Grease unpainted metal parts, such as hydraulic cylinder rods to protect them from the elements.
R for repair damage
- Be sure to fix any damage that occurred during the year. This will ensure that broken parts don’t worsen or rust during the winter, and it will allow immediate access to the equipment when it is needed next spring or summer.
M for maintain and clean.
- At the end of harvest, be sure to remove dust and debris from inside and outside of the equipment. Conduct regular maintenance, such as changing the oil and fluids and checking air pressure in the tires. Protect the air inlet and exhaust from humidity. Lower each linkage fully to avoid pressure buildup in the hydraulic rams, and if possible, slacken the engine accessories belt tensioner. Finally, if preferred, remove the battery and store in a dry location.
S for store equipment
- Obviously, the best way to protect equipment is under a roof. However, that is not possible on every farm. So, cover the equipment if left outdoors, and protect computerized mechanisms from sun damage by covering with a cloth. For extra protection, use water-resistant products such as wax to help keep equipment from rusting and causing premature wear.Hay equipment requires some additional steps to effectively winterize it, but the additional effort will help maintain the value of the equipment. AGCO recommends draining any preservatives housed in the baler; remove tension on round balers’ forming belts and remove the fire extinguisher (water variety) from square balers and store properly.
“At AGCO, we believe in helping farmers protect their investment in equipment, regardless of brand,” concludes Dvorak. “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.”