Get your Farm Ready for Winter
As the days grow colder in towns like Botkins, OH, or Bloomington, IN, we know it’s only a matter of time before winter sets in. Getting your farm ready for winter is important and makes getting started in the spring that much simpler. Check out the following tips to get your farm and equipment ready for the winter season.
5 Tips to Prepare your Farm for Winter
Have an Emergency Plan
Being caught unprepared in the cold is not only frustrating but also potentially very dangerous. If a winter storms rolls through and leaves you and your family stuck in your home, you need to be ready to deal with that scenario. Discussing these types of scenarios with your family every year can be very helpful as it allows you to be ready if something does occur. Additionally, it is recommended to have an emergency supply kit with items such as clean water, food, a battery-powered radio, and a first aid kit. If you have a generator (another of our recommendations), it should be tested to ensure it is functioning properly before an incident occurs.
Winterize your Vehicles
Daily vehicles need some winter prep to maintain good working condition.
- Checking the various systems such as battery, wipers, lights, brakes, tires, and fluid levels.
- Be aware of road conditions, especially if the possibility of ice is present.
Prepare your Animals
If you have animals on your farm you also need to make sure they’re content and safe for the winter.
- Make sure you have enough feed on hand.
- Keep sufficient bedding (and maybe a little extra) to ensure the animals are warm and comfortable.
- Confirm their water access is functional for the coming cold months.
- Keep your animals as healthy as possible headed into the winter as the cold and wet conditions can make sickness even more difficult on your animals.
Prepare your Property
Once the heavy snow sets in, it’s difficult to address some aspects of your property so it’s better to do it sooner than later.
- Any debris in high traffic areas that could be obscured by snow should be removed.
- Snowplow stakes should be placed on the perimeter of any driveways and parking areas to ensure a plow does not damage structure or land.
Prepare your Shelter
As you’ll be spending a lot of your time indoors in the cold months, it’s important to make sure that your home is ready for this time of year.
- Clean your gutters and repair any leaks in the roof.
- Removing tree branches that may cause damage to the building.
- Store any hoses you have until the spring.
How to Store your Tractor for Winter
Leaving your tractor exposed to the elements can cause irreparable damage. A dry, temperature-stable structure is the ideal location to store your tractor. Tractor covers can also aid in protection, but it is best to avoid plastic covers, as the restricted air circulation can trap moisture and lead to other machinery issues over time.
Clean, Inspect, Repair
Give your tractor a thorough cleaning and a visual inspection. If you find any damage or other concerns, take the time to address those issues now. Correcting issues now will better prepare the tractor for immediate use next season.
Check the Engine
Before storing, clean and inspect your tractor’s engine area. This inspection should include a review of the engine oil and all filters. If oil and any filters require replacements, do so. Changing oil removes any contaminants present and introduces new oil additives to protect your engine. Allow the tractor to run for a few moments, until it reaches operating temperatures, to circulate the fresh oil.
Stabilize the Fuel and Replace Fuel Filters
Untreated fuel left in the tank for an extended amount of time begins to break down, eventually clogging the small holes that fuel needs to pass through. If you are using bio-diesel, drain the fuel and add regular diesel, then allow your engine to run for a period of time to circulate the fuel.
Disconnect and Store the Battery
Leaving your battery in the cold for the winter can lead to a dead battery in your tractor next season. After ensuring your current battery is fully charged, disconnect it and find a dry, cool location for its storage. If your battery will be stored for an extended period of time, consider installing a maintenance charger (strongly recommended).
Lubricate and Protect
Lubricate all fittings and paint, and apply protectant on all exposed metal parts.
Consult your manual - The documentation provided with your combine should outline details such as storage recommendations as well as maintenance guidelines. Following these best practices will ensure the ideal preparation for your combine’s long-term storage.
How to Store Your Combine for Winter
Give your combine a full inspection prior to storage. If any damage occurred this year, take the time to address those issues now. Making repairs and cleaning your combine now will better prepare the combine for immediate use next season.
Top off the fuel
Filling up your combine’s fuel tank prior to storage can save you a great deal of future hassle. As the weather changes, if there is empty space in the tank it is possible for condensation to form. If water builds up and gets into other parts of your fuel system you could be facing potentially expensive repairs in the future. Keeping your fuel tank full in the offseason helps avoid this scenario.
Disconnect/store the battery
Leaving your battery in the cold for the winter can lead to finding a dead battery in your combine next season. After making sure your current battery is fully charged, disconnect it and find a dry, cool spot for its storage location.
Following these suggestions will help ensure your combine’s lifespan isn’t cut short by the adverse conditions of the winter months. If you have other questions regarding your combine or any other equipment contact the experts at Koenig Equipment today!