High-efficiency hay starts with well-regulated equipment. And while most producers take steps to make sure their balers and compact tractors are effectively winterized, not all operators perform the summer maintenance necessary to achieve a full season of reliable use.
In addition to working with your dealer and consulting your operator manual, there are a few things you can do right now that will improve your overall hay equipment and compact tractor efficiency this summer, which we’ll cover in this two-part blog post. In Part 1, learn more about fuel and fluid maintenance with this checklist for examining your equipment.
Address fuel and other fluid concerns.
Fuel that sits in your equipment for long periods of time tends to collect condensation — and water in the tank is no good for a tractor. If you are about to operate equipment that hasn’t seen use in some time, consider replacing the fuel so the engine runs smoothly and efficiently.
Additionally, check other fluids to make sure they are helping your equipment run as smoothly as possible. Excessive moisture can also become a problem here — too much can cause hydraulic issues, poor lubrication and difficulties in shifting gears. This means you should replace oil, antifreeze, coolant, filters and hydraulic oil on a regular basis. Plus, it helps to select fluids with 1 % water tolerance to prevent rust, sticky valves and flow restrictions.
Lubricants need maintenance, too. Look at lubricant labels and consult your operators manual to make sure you are properly lubricating and refueling the fluids in your equipment.
Not sure if your fluids and fuel need replacing? It’s never a bad idea to check with your Case IH dealer and get a fluids analysis — this test shows exactly how your fluids are performing and can help indicate any maintenance needs.
Review, repair and replace hay equipment.
What good is a well-maintained tractor if your hay equipment isn’t properly maintained? Routine maintenance helps ensure you make the best, highest-quality hay possible.
First on the list: Check your cutting components on any windrowers and mowers. Changing out sickle sections and guards or disc mower blades might seem like a time-consuming task, but failing to do so can result in inefficiencies and even breakdowns out in the field.
For balers, it’s important to drain hay preservative tanks and flush out the system. Take a good look at round baler belts to assess wear and tear, and reduce tensioners to ease strain on your machine. You also want to replace any broken or missing pickup tines.
If you’re operating a self-propelled windrower, that doesn’t mean you don’t have any maintenance to do. Be sure to take good care of your machine like you would any tractor or combine — continue to change the oil, filters and fluids that are critical to protecting your equipment against breakdowns and inefficiencies.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post, which will offer more tips to make the most of your hay equipment this summer.
Case IH makes it easy to browse parts online at www.mycnhistore.com. For more information about how to build the best bales possible all season long, talk with your local Case IH dealer.