Farm upkeep projects might not top your summer fun list, but they sure beat making major repairs during the height of the season. And then there are chores that simply need doing — and the dead of winter is no time to paint a house. By making good use of these summer hours, you’ll avoid headaches down the road.
Preparing for county fairs. Putting up hay. Sneaking away for a couple of days at the lake. You can just feel summer slipping away. But if you make time to squeeze in a few tasks over the next few weeks, you’ll be prepared for an even busier harvest season.
Consider breaking up your to-do list into these three areas:
Around the farm
- Check stored grain. If you haven’t regularly inspected remaining old-crop grain, it’s time for a trip to the top of your bins or storage silos. Spoilage can take hold anytime and spread quickly.
- Clean grain bins. Don’t wait until you’re ready to start filling bins at harvest to be reminded about those few bushels you left behind. Check bin walls for rust. Make sure bin floors are solid.
- Inspect and repair grain-handling equipment. If you have an electrical problem with the fan on one of your grain bins, it’s best to discover it now, not when you start filling it. Fire up fans and driers. Check bearings, flightings and safety shields on augers. Make sure gearboxes are properly lubed. Flip the switch on electric motors. Check belts and chains.
- Clean up and organize your shop. If you haven’t had the chance to get your shop back in order post-planting, now’s the time. While you’re at it, inventory parts and restock lube, oil and filters.
Livestock care and feeding
- Inspect stock ponds. Heavy spring and summer rains have helped keep stock ponds full. But they also might have threatened the integrity of those ponds and dams. Some might need rebuilding or repair.
- Check and repair fences and gates. Summer is fencing season on some farms. On other farms, fencing season is whenever the fence fails. A little inspection and maintenance now can save time and hassle later.
- Repair winter-feeding equipment. For those years when fall turns to winter seemingly overnight, feed-ready hay rings, bunks and feeding equipment make the transition easier to take.
Home and landscape
- Maintain air conditioning. Change air filters regularly. Check your outside unit for dirt and debris. Hose off coils frequently to keep the system cooling efficiently.
- Fresh paint. Your house or outbuildings might not need a paint job, but you likely can find spots where a touch-up can improve aesthetics and help protect against the elements.
- Summer pruning. Late fall through early spring is typically the best time for vigorous pruning because trees are dormant. But minor upkeep during the summer can keep your landscaping in top shape.
- Change lawnmower oil and lubricate and sharpen blades. Although you might never let maintenance slide on your tractors or combines, it’s easy to jump on the mower and into mowing season when you’re still trying to wrap up spring planting. It’s time to catch up on mower maintenance and keep your lawn equipment humming through the rest of the season.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Drainage systems have been tested in many parts of the country. Leaves and other debris blown in with one of this year’s many storms can prevent those systems from functioning properly. It may seem premature to clean gutters before fall leaf drop, but a little extra work could prevent much more serious issues, including soil erosion or a wet basement.
Whether you make summer maintenance a priority on your farm or take more of a get-to-it-when-you-can approach, upkeep is important. Look for opportunities to get the whole family involved. It allows you to spend valuable summer time together, spread the workload and free up more time for ballgames or fishing holes. And of course, the right equipment always makes the job easier. Visit your Case IH dealer for the supplies, tools and equipment you need to more quickly cross items off your to-do list.