The harvest season places huge demands on harvesting equipment. Poor performance and unexpected breakdowns of equipment can have a significant impact on yields. As every minute in the field is critical during the harvest season, it is important to ensure combine machines are in good repair and properly maintained to avoid downtime for repairs. As the end of the fall harvest approaches, take a look at the combine maintenance tips below to ensure that not one day of harvesting will be wasted performing repairs in the workshop.
1. Understand and Inspect Your Combine Machine
Inspecting your machinery prior to as well as during the harvesting season will minimize the risk of breakdowns. Performing thorough checks prior to subjecting the machine to rigorous work in the field will prevent lost time while taking care of mechanical problems that could have been avoided.
Understanding the ins and outs of how your combine harvesting machine works are essential in order to effectively evaluate the health or otherwise of the machine. It pays to study the operator’s manual to familiarize yourself with the appropriate settings and maintenance tasks required to keep the machine working smoothly without a hitch.
2. Pre-Scout and Adjustment to Field Conditions
Carefully scan the combine for any potential problems or obstructions that could affect the machine’s performance before putting it to work.
Adjust the settings for the size and types of grain being harvested. For example, stripper bar settings for corn heads should be set according to ear size.
3. Be Prepared for On-the-Spot Repairs
Preparing for the worst case scenario may save you precious time during the last days of harvesting. Pack an emergency toolkit for minor repairs that can be done immediately and quickly. Always have a fully-charged mobile phone on hand to call for assistance in case of a serious breakdown. Neglecting to repair a problem immediately will lead to major problems in the future.
4. Perform Regular Service Checks
Check the engine oil levels, hydraulic oil levels, fuel filter condition, and air cleaner condition before sending your combine out into the fields for a rigorous week’s work. After checking these points, grease all parts of the combine according to the owner’s manual. These routine checks will ensure that your combine and all its parts are well-oiled and running smoothly.
5. Prepare the Combine for Winter Storage
After the harvest season, the combine should be prepared for winter storage. Use a high-pressure air cleaner to clean the machine thoroughly inside and out. Avoid using water as it could cause rust in the interior spaces of the combine. Inspect running parts like bearings, fan belts, and other parts that may need replacing while the machine is running. If a problem is detected, contact dealers to order replacement parts or have the combine repaired by a mechanic.
If you follow the above combine maintenance tips you will not only have a good end to this season’s harvest but also ensure that the combine will be ready to perform optimally at the next harvest. Keeping your combine harvester well-maintained and healthy will allow you to get the most out of your harvesting time with minimum risks of unexpected issues and breakdowns.