How you store your hay equipment is as important as how you store your hay. Be it the hay or the equipment that helped make it, proper storage protects its value and helps it last longer. Winterize your equipment now, and it will be ready to make hay next spring.
Start by reviewing your operators manual. For most equipment, the manual guides you through the long-term storage process. It can also help with storage removal when you’re ready to head back to the field. If you don’t find specific storage guidelines, you will find maintenance schedules, along with grease points, etc. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with winterizing procedures, it’s time to get to work.
Clean. Dirt, dust and chaff are the enemies of nearly all moving parts. Pockets where these materials accumulate provide an ideal nesting spot for rodents and can hold moisture. An air compressor, broom or utility brush can help you clear the tightest nooks and crannies. Avoid using a power washer or garden hose; lingering moisture can promote rust.
Lubricate. Use your operators manual to familiarize yourself with all of the grease fittings. Proper lubrication will protect against moisture and corrosion and, of course, keep parts moving smoothly.
Protect. Hay wears paint and creates areas of bare metal. After cleaning, consider applying a spray-on protectant to prevent rust.
Inspect. Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check belts and replace anything that appears damaged or cracked. Look for oil leaks, which can indicate worn or damaged seals or hydraulic lines and hoses.
Stay sharp. Check all cutting components on windrowers and mowers. Replacing sickle sections and guards or disc-mower blades can be a good winter project, but be sure to examine them now and determine if they need to be replaced.
Certain types of equipment require additional, more-specific attention, including:
- On balers, drain hay preservative tanks and flush the system. Inspect round baler belts for wear and reduce tensioners to ease strain and increase longevity. This also is a good time to replace broken or missing pickup tines.
- Self-propelled windrowers require care similar to any engine-powered piece of equipment, such as a tractor or combine. Change oil and filters. Clean or replace air and cab filters. Check engine coolant and ensure it will protect against freezing at your lowest winter temperatures.
If you’re not comfortable performing tasks so critical to your equipment’s longevity, or if you simply don’t have the time or resources, turn to your Case IH dealer. Your Case IH dealer knows your equipment. Your dealer’s technicians can spot important maintenance issues before they become costly repairs and offer preventive maintenance. Your dealer also is your best source for genuine Case IH parts, filters and lubricants.
No matter how you prefer to manage maintenance, get the job done now. When next year’s first cutting hits at the peak of your spring workload, you’ll be glad you did.