What is Farm Maintenance?
Farm maintenance is the process of planning and performing regular farm equipment maintenance. This is done to reduce potential repair costs, keep equipment performing as well as possible, lengthen the equipment’s lifespan, and prepare all the equipment for different farming activities.
Farm maintenance can be planned and unplanned. Planned farm maintenance involves proactively scheduling and performing maintenance tasks. Tasks under this category include inspecting equipment, applying lubrication, and calibrating the tools. On the flip side, unplanned maintenance is usually performed when equipment breaks down or malfunctions. This could be something as simple as repairing a door or as complicated as overhauling an entire engine system in a tractor.
Farm maintenance applies to any type of farming. There are many kinds of farms that you may regularly see and encounter. These include:
- Arable farms
- Pastoral farms
- Mixed farms
Faulty equipment can do a lot of harm to a business. To start, when equipment breaks down, it can be expensive to replace or repair. These unplanned costs can take a huge toll on a farm and its operational efficiency.
Without regular farm maintenance, equipment is at a much greater risk of breaking down. This means there’s a higher chance that you have to conduct unplanned repairs or replace equipment.
When you conduct regular farm maintenance, you won’t have to worry about equipment breaking down and disrupting operations as much. Additionally, farm maintenance allows you to prolong your equipment’s lifespan and retain its value. That way, when it comes time to upgrade your equipment, you can trade in the old models for a better deal.
What Happens When You Don’t Conduct Proper Farm Maintenance?
The main consequence of failing to conduct proper farm maintenance is faulty equipment. When farm equipment isn’t maintained, it won’t perform as well. This means that your operations won’t be as smooth or efficient as you want them to be.
Besides that, unmaintained equipment is at higher risk of breaking down. And when equipment malfunctions, it can stall entire operations and prevent you from reaching your goals on the farm. On top of that, repairing broken-down equipment can be costly and time-consuming, which is why most farms are highly recommended to practice regular farm maintenance.
Proper farm maintenance also creates a safer work environment. Faulty equipment can be dangerous for workers. But when equipment is well-maintained and always performing properly, there’s a much smaller chance of accidents and undesired incidents on the farm.
Common Types of Farm Maintenance
All farms must practice proper farm maintenance. This is to ensure that all their equipment is working fine and that they can use all the equipment on the farm to effectively perform and finish tasks. Depending on the type of farm and equipment you have, you may need to conduct different types of farm maintenance. However, here are some of the most common types of farm maintenance that all farms need to perform.
One of the most crucial aspects of farm maintenance is inspections. This refers to regular checkups that personnel conduct on different equipment. This is a form of proactive maintenance as it allows you to find any issues and problems with your machines before they turn into bigger problems and hinder production.
Ideally, inspections should be scheduled and performed regularly. And to ensure that the person conducting the maintenance leaves no stone unturned, using farm equipment inspection checklists can be a huge help to businesses.
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Lubricating Moving Parts
Another part of farm maintenance is lubricating the moving parts of different equipment and machinery. Over time, the cogs and other moving parts in certain machines lose their lubrication, making it very hard for them to operate properly. This is why teams need to regularly apply lubrication to these moving parts. That way, all the equipment works as smoothly as possible.
Additionally, lubricating moving parts allows machines to last much longer. So, when lubrication is a consistent part of your maintenance routine, you extend the lifespan of your farming equipment.
Checking and Refilling Fluids
Most farm mechanical farming equipment requires fluids to ensure the smoothest possible operations. There are some fluids that teams need to check daily, while others only require annual checking. And when checking the fluids, it’s important to refill or replenish them the second you think there isn’t enough fluid. This ensures that the equipment always has the fluid it needs to run as smoothly as possible.
Precision and control are very important when conducting agricultural operations. This is why it’s crucial to calibrate equipment as part of farm maintenance. This can be done right before harvest or as part of your regular maintenance routine.
It’s important to calibrate equipment according to your needs and the manufacturer’s specifications. If you don’t follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, you might calibrate your equipment incorrectly, which can get in the way of operations.
Preparing Assets for Different Seasons
Farms need to make adjustments according to different seasons. With varying temperatures and conditions at different times of the year, it’s important to prepare all your assets according to the season. That way, they perform as they should regardless of the temperature or weather conditions.
Some examples of prepping assets for different seasons include:
- Cleaning animal shelters so that livestock stay warm during winter
- Inspecting mulchers and similar equipment when grinding up crops during the fall
- Checking pesticide spraying equipment in the spring before planting crops
- Preparing fertilizer distribution systems in the summer
The type of maintenance you need to perform depends on the season, the kind of farm you run, and the equipment you need. So, every farm may have its own maintenance practices that are crucial to its operations. This is why you need to account for your farm’s needs before planning a maintenance routine.
Agricultural Assets To Maintained
It’s important to practice regular proactive maintenance on any type of farm equipment you have. All the machines and tools you use for harvesting, planting, and growing crops and livestock need to be maintained to ensure they have a long lifespan and perform properly. Some of the common agricultural equipment that needs regular maintenance include:
- Fertilizer spreaders
- All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs)
- Irrigation systems
- Pesticide dispensers
Again, different types of farms utilize their own equipment. But regardless of what equipment you use in your farming operations, it’s always important to perform proper maintenance to ensure their longevity.
FAQs about Farm Maintenance
Generally, the farm operator or manager is in charge of planning out farm maintenance and establishing a proper maintenance strategy. However, all the personnel on the farm needs to practice farm maintenance on all pieces of equipment that they use.
The cost can depend on the size of your farm, the type of livestock or crops you grow, and the equipment you use. However, studies show that the average annual cost of maintaining a farm in 2022 is around $182,130.
Maintenance in agriculture ensures that all equipment is working fine. And when equipment fires on all cylinders, operations are much smoother, and farms have a much easier time sticking to the schedule and reaching goals.