Whether you’re choosing to start a farm as a hobby or for business purposes, farming requires the same amount of thought, preparation and planning as it does when choosing to grow your large-scale farm and truck variety. Small farmers require the basic agriculture equipment, such as a tractor. And although on a smaller scale, it’s helpful to have the big farming advice you need when purchasing your first unit.
If you are going to invest in some farming equipment and tools to assist you with organic farming in South Africa, you need to remember the importance of regular maintenance. Maintenance is the key to long-lasting equipment and good resale value on your return on investment (ROI).
Here are a few important tips to consider when looking after your equipment:
- Winter equipment usage
Usually, in winter, farmers tend to store their equipment for their next harvest or production season. However, if you are using your equipment for hobby reasons, you will likely want to make use of it throughout the year. Often times, it’s good to complete a thorough service check beforehand.
When you ride your tractor in the winter, be sure to check the tyre pressure. The weather will immediately affect the air and pressure in your tyres, so make sure you check them before you begin your activities for the day. If you are planning to travel through muddy or slippery terrain, look at considering a set of tyre chains to help you manoeuver your way through the dirt roads. Another tip is to adjust your coolant and oil according to the weather, to ensure your machine operates at optimum level during the colder days.
- Winter equipment storage
If you want to store your equipment over the colder months, you will need to prepare your equipment before you decide to switch machinery off, store tools and close the shed door. Firstly, you will need to drain the fuel tank and check the air filters. Thereafter, refill your tank with a lighter fuel to avoid corrosion and to keep the system moist while standing still. If you do not do this, it could cause the seals to dry up. Clean each tool and piece of equipment thoroughly to remove any dirt or grass which might affect performance in the future. Lastly, remove the batteries from any unit to ensure they don’t leak.
- Summer preparation
When the sun’s out, the work begins. Every farmer enjoys gathering their tools and equipment and preparing for the summer months ahead. Once your equipment and machinery have sat for a couple of cold weeks or even months, the summertime is a wonderful opportunity to take pride in your equipment and service each unit to prevent any unnecessary downtime. While it might seem like you’ve attended to everything when you stored the items, remember that time can easily affect the current state of each unit. Start by changing the engine oil to a heavier fluid and installing a new filter.
Next, you will need to check your tyres and brake pads to ensure they’re in good condition and can withstand a full season. Also, check and charge any electrical items, as well as lubricate every area to avoid any rusting or corrosion.
- Production services
Farmers who are running their harvest season need to keep maintaining equipment from time to time. Preparing your equipment for the season can either boost production or slow down operations completely. Even though you’ve checked your equipment, constant monitoring and attention could prevent any unwanted services. Be sure to lubricate the chains regularly and replace them once they start to show signs of wear and tear. Clean the air filters regularly, especially if you’re making use of your tractor in dusty areas. Lastly, monitor the oil and coolant usage as this could play a role in your machine’s performance.
In months that you choose to store your equipment, make sure that they’re stored away from any conditions that could affect each unit’s performance. If your storage area is not completely sheltered, invest in some cloth covers for further protection on each piece of equipment. Always remember that some machines and tools require more care and maintenance than others. Do not allow anyone who is unqualified to operate your equipment, as this could lead to bad driving habits or even accidents. A well-kept tractor will offer good value for money when you decide advertise your second-hand tractor available for sale in South Africa.