Good record-keeping a must for machinery

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo

One of the toughest but most cost-effective parts of a machinery maintenance program has nothing to do with wrenches and greasy hands–good record-keeping is a must.
A machinery service program needs to be based on good record-keeping, not just the operator’s memory or feeling that a machine needs attention.
With this season’s fieldwork coming to an end, now is a good time to review your method of keeping records on machinery maintenance.
The maintenance program should be based on fact, as determined by an accurate record of service for each piece of equipment as recommended in the operator’’ manual and adjusted to individual situations.
A Midwest study found that many farmers can reduce machinery repair costs by 25 percent by improving routine maintenance procedures.
As an example, a $75,000 tractor getting average maintenance will incur about $22,500 in total repairs during 5,000 hours of operation.
But good service management can cut the cost by more than $6,000.
With a yard full of machinery, savings like this can be significant.
To handle record-keeping, it is recommended to mount a service record chart for each vehicle on the wall of the farm shop, with 10-, 50-, 100-, 250-, and 500-hour maintenance intervals indicated so they can be performed regularly and the hours marked down.
Recommended maintenance operations listed in the operator’s manual should be attached to the chart to help operators do all required maintenance procedures.
It may be convenient to cover each chart with plexiglas so all maintenance jobs can be marked with a grease pencil.
At the end of the year, the plexiglas simply can be erased and the chart reused.
The service record may not solve all machinery maintenance problems, and the system will require some work if it is to be kept up to date.
But extending machinery life is important in tough economic times and good maintenance is the best way to do it.
As a rule of thumb, it usually pays to spend one-two days in the slack season servicing equipment to avoid a one-hour loss when the machine is needed.
With an increasing need for larger-capacity equipment, every effort should be made to keep machines in top shape.
An excellent maintenance program is a good investment because it will keep long-term maintenance costs down and avoid downtime when equipment is needed most.
Dates to remember
•Growing Your Farm Profits Workshop (Emo Inn)—Day 1 (Nov. 2) and Day 2 (Nov. 9), beginning at 9:30 a.m.
This workshop can help you identify, plan for, and reach your business goals.
The program focuses on understanding your farm business activities, why it’s important to plan, develop long-term goals, and develop a set of actions to achieve those goals.
The workshop will help you identify your top priorities, develop an action plan, and provide direction regarding industry resources to aid in implementation.
Register by contacting Trivers at 274-2930 or 276-0589 (cell).

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