Best Cost-Cutting Method for Farming Equipment Owners

Maintenance of agricultural machinery is vital for the success and stability of any agricultural venture. It guarantees the operations will be safe and that the necessary equipment and machinery for these operations remain available. Since maintenance is a high cost for agricultural operations, efforts are made to decrease expenditures spend on maintenance whilst also ensuring safety. How is this done? Purchasers invest in repair staff workshops and skills to equip them with the necessary skills in preventive maintenance. What is preventative maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is an umbrella term used to define a set of activities that aim to improve a system’s availability and reliability. This method generally includes inspection, lubrication, cleaning, alignment, adjustment, and the replacement of worn-out subcomponents and subsystems. Preventive maintenance activities are one of two things: component maintenance (CM) or component replacement (CP).

Maintenance Strategies

Strategies are employed so that only minimum resources would be required to check the machinery’s optimal performance. These strategies are done through maintenance activities to ensure that each system or component functions as intended based on its design and purpose. It safeguards the system’s reliability and provides the recovery of the parts of the machinery from breakdown. 

Maintenance Elements

Maintenance could either be preventive or corrective. Corrective, unscheduled, or failure-based maintenance is utilized when a failure occurs in any of the machinery’s components or when the machinery stops working. This results in unscheduled downtime and immediate replacement of parts; it is also costly, and therefore must be avoided. 

On the other hand, preventive maintenance (PM) avoids this by repairing and replacing components even before they fail. This type of maintenance is of two kinds: periodic and condition-based. Periodic maintenance is scheduled in intervals, either after a certain number of operating hours or after a specified number of operating cycles, both of which are based on the machinery’s manufacturers’ recommendations. Condition-based maintenance (CBM), on the other hand, aims to lessen system failure and breakdown using both people skills and technology. This process involves the processing and analysis of data obtained, which would determine the most optimal maintenance action to be done.

Monitoring of the condition of machinery

Since agricultural machinery is used in various conditions depending on factors such as moisture, crop type, temperature, and field characteristics, changes in conditions (based on time and place) may progress to machine failure if not adequately monitored. While most machinery is designed to adapt to changes, these changes may pose problems in some parts of the machinery. Thus, while the machinery is still operational, actions are planned to prevent failure or damage in the agricultural machinery’s system or components. These conditions include the following: 

Temperature. Changes in the machinery’s temperature may be indicative of problems such as poor electrical conditions, excessive mechanical friction, and problems in heat transfer. 

Dynamic. The energy emitted in forms of vibration, pulses, or acoustics should be monitored and analyzed. Changes in measurement may be indicative of damage or wear imbalance or misalignment.

Corrosion. The material’s extent, rate, and state of corrosion must be monitored and observed, especially on corrosion areas in tillage tools.

Electrical condition. Monitoring changes in system properties such as conduction, potential, and resistance is essential. These are useful in detecting problems such as electrical insulation deterioration.

Performance. Changes in variables such as capacity, electrical power components, structural changes, flow rate, temperature, and pressure are essential gauges in the machinery’s status and the early detection of impending failure.

Diagnostics

A diagnostic action must be run as soon as a potential failure is detected. Machine fault diagnostics usually employ artificial intelligence (use of technology), statistical methods (done through data analysis and without a physical inspection of the machine), and conditioning monitoring intervals use of periodic monitoring compared to continuous monitoring).

Summary

Machine breakdown affects productivity and halts the entire operations. Thus, prevention is done proactively through monitoring and routine maintenance and repair, which is why owners must invest in the technical facilities and in the skills training of repair staff, which, in the final analysis, is a lot less expensive than replacement of parts and untimely downtimes.

Equipment Every Farm Has and So Should Yours

Are you starting your farm? Confused about where to start and do not know which one to prioritize and to purchase? Here are some of the equipment you must have when starting off a farming venture:

Tractor

Getting a tractor is a no-brainer purchase for small-scale farmers. Tractors vary in size and are appropriate for farmers with 1 acre up to 1000 acres and more! When choosing a tractor, there are factors to consider, depending on the work you need it for. Having that said, you should consider the engine (gas or diesel?), transmission (hydrostatic, gear-driven?), hitch (simple drawbar hitch vs. three-point hitch), power take-off, hydraulics (important in lifting and in powering implements like front-end loaders and backhoes), tires (filled with air or fluid?) and headlights (especially when you consider working late at night). Common types include a lawn tractor, a garden tractor, a subcompact tractor, and a compact utility tractor. 

ATV/AUV

While it is cute to have your land worked by animals, all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and utility vehicles (UVs) would be more practical. They are instrumental, especially if you have a large space, so you don’t spend too much time walking. They’re handy in hauling harvests, towing small trailers, and even have options for attachments. Some of the attachments you can use include snow attachments especially if you expect to have snow in your area. This would include tire chains and blades. For hay, attachments such as sickle-bar mowers and hay dolly are useful. Cultivation attachments, such as plow, tiller, harrow, cultivator, and disc, could come in handy. There are also available pasture and woodlot attachments such as power loader, log arch, and brush cutter. And of course, attachments for removing dirt, such as tumblebug, rear blades, and backhoe are very useful.

Farm Truck

Farms aren’t complete without trucks. It’s the most versatile and useful piece of equipment in a small farm. There is sure to be a model suitable for your farm needs, and work can range from light to heavy-duty work. Whether it be for driving through your field, hauling and delivery, or having long trips, trucks are beneficial. To help you narrow your options for a model, ask yourself the following questions: what jobs do I need a truck to accomplish? If I need to pull trailers, what is the maximum weight? For what use will my vehicle be? Just for farming purposes, or will I also use it for family transportation or everyday use? How many people will likely ride on the truck?

Mower

There are a lot of types to choose from, depending on your need. Of course, maintaining your lawn and pasture is crucial. For that, you can choose from a riding mower, zero turn mower, pull-behind mower, belly-mounter mower, or a push-behind mower. You might want to consider a disc mower, a drum mower, or a sickle bar mower for making hay. However, if you own a large land, you might want to consider getting a brush mower, a batwing mower, or a flail mower.

Sickle

If you are working on a small space, this handheld cutting tool is handy in mowing or harvesting. 

Backhoe

If you are considering crops that require digging, a backhoe is important. 

Sprayers

Nothing beats your old trusty sprayer to fend off pests and weeds!

Irrigation System

A constant supply of water is essential if you want your crops to grow. Factors to consider when choosing a system include crop, water source, size and shape of the field, fuel cost, and labor requirements. You can choose between simple (such as a soaker hose) or complicated (such as a multilevel drip) irrigation system.

Combine or Harvester

This is a must-have for grain farmers! Combines are efficient tools for harvesting your grain crops out of the field.