Get Your Forage Equipment in Shape in 5 Simple Steps

Athletes use the off-season to get stronger and faster, hone skills and recover from injuries sustained during the year. Once the season ends, preparations for next season begin, and success in the off-season requires a sound plan.
     The same can be said of off-season maintenance programs for forage equipment. So we spoke with Jerry Bandstra, Senior Service Technician at Vermeer Corporation, who helped us develop a 5-step plan that can get your yellow iron in shape this off-season.
1. Learn from Last Year
     During hay season you may encounter equipment issues you plan to have inspected in the off-season. But by the time your equipment is delivered for maintenance in the winter, that squeaking sound you heard back in August may have slipped your mind. Bandstra recommends logging any issues that come up during the season so you can share them with your Vermeer dealer come maintenance time.
2. A Clean Machine Sleeps Well
     After working hard out in the hay fields all summer long, the temptation is to simply store your forage equipment and worry about maintenance issues come spring. Bandstra encourages Vermeer customers to clean off their forage equipment prior to storage.
     For this, Bandstra recommends using an air gun to blow away dirt, grit and hay debris. He cautions that using a power sprayer can lead to rusting if parts are still wet when put into storage.  In addition, he advocates changing filters and the oil, and cleaning and lubricating components that need to be manually greased, like gears, chains and the PTO on Vermeer balers.
3.  Give It a Good Look
     Potential problems are easily overlooked. Components may look fine and still operate well, and yet under the surface they are ready to be replaced. Bandstra recommends performing a close examination of heavy wear areas, like the pickup, tailgate and netwrap system on Vermeer balers. Also, be sure to inspect pickup tines on balers and rakes and replace any that are wearing out.
4. Safety First
     Your own personal safety is paramount, which is why Bandstra encourages all Vermeer customers to inspect their safety features regularly to make sure everything is functioning properly. This not only includes your fire extinguishers, floodlights, and safety chains and guards, but also make sure wheel bearings are tight.
5. Get It Down to the Dealership
     You know your forage equipment inside and out, as do the service technicians at Great Plains Kubota. Delivering your forage equipment for routine maintenance will prolong the life of your machines, bolster performance in the fields, and maximize your return on investment.
     As mentioned earlier, be sure to share with your service technician anything you observed out in the field or during your end-of-season inspection. Lastly, aim to get your equipment in sooner than later. Bandstra notes that service shops get ultra busy later in the winter when folks are scrambling to get their forage equipment in shape for the upcoming hay season.

By Vermeer Corporation – www.greatplainskubota.com

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