Whether you’re storing hay or the equipment that helped put it up, getting long-term storage right helps protect its value and longevity.
Here are our top recommendations for ensuring your hay equipment is ready for next season’s first cutting:
- Review your operator’s manual. For most equipment, the manual guides you through the long-term storage process. If you don’t find specific storage guidelines, you will find maintenance schedules, along with grease points, etc.
- Clean it up. Dirt, dust and chaff put nearly every moving part to the test. 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, as lingering moisture can promote rust.
- A well-oiled (and greased) machine. Use your operator’s manual to locate all lubrication points, including grease fittings, PTO drivelines and chains. Check oil levels in gearboxes. This layer of protection helps keep out moisture, dust and, ultimately, corrosion.
- Paint and protect. Hay causes wear and creates areas of bare metal. After cleaning, consider applying a spray-on protectant or touch up with paint to prevent rust.
- Inspect thoroughly. 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 should 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. Disconnect the battery or, at best, remove and store in a warm area and use a battery maintainer to keep up the voltage.
If you’re not comfortable performing these critical storage tasks, or if you simply don’t have the time, 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.