With cold weather fast approaching and evenings closing in, now is time for farmers to get Winter ready. During Winter, good maintenance of all aspects of farming is vital. A lot of tasks on the farm need to be considered before housing and now is the time to do so.
Currently, the focus is usually on preparing sheds. This includes cleaning them, carrying out any repairs, checking troughs and water supplies. However, farmers must not forget a farm essential – their tractor.
Throughout the coming months tractors will most likely be used for feeding and general yard work every day. With a high workload ahead of them maintenance is essential for tractors to work efficiently.
HSA statistics show that vehicles and machines account for over 50% of all farm deaths in the last 10 years (2011 – 2020). Of these fatalities, 55% involved a tractor. Along with training and safe work practices, good maintenance is key to prevent accidents.
Check the tractor
Farmers should get into the habit of checking their machines daily. Walk around the tractor and check for any visible signs that may require attention. In particular, check for oil leaks, tyre wear, any dents and loose bolts or pipes. Also, a tractor can only perform efficiently if its fluid levels are correct. Check the engine oil, coolant, and hydraulic oil. This takes less than 5 minutes and can save farmers time and money in the long run as they can identify and fix issues as they arise.
Should a tractor need new tyres or any other garage repairs, now is the time to book in. Farmers may also want to book tractors in to be serviced and cleaned. It is important that the tractor is ready and in full working order for when animals are housed.
Keep it clean
Keeping the tractor clean is important. Always keep floors, doors, and pedals clear. Footwear should also be kept clean to avoid slips etc. Do not keep items like tools, draw bar pins, ropes etc on the cab floor as this can cause a distraction when driving and could lead to an accident.
Check the front loader
Farmers should also remember to check their front loaders. A common piece of machinery on Irish farms, they are relied on to carry and transport heavy items such as bales, bags of fertiliser etc.
It is important for farmers to be aware that if not looked after properly, front loaders can be dangerous and cause accidents. Ongoing maintenance will help avoid breakdowns, repairs, or injury. Schedule time in daily to grease it, check the pipes and watch for any leaks. Should any pins or bushings appear worn, get them fixed immediately.
Preparing your farm for the Winter months is vital for everything to run smoothly and safely. Farm Relief Services offers reliable farm aid to help with daily farm tasks. To find out more about services FRS provide call 1890 790 890 or visit our website at www.farmreliefservices.ie.