By Albert Makendenge

Adequately and appropriately repairing farm machinery and equipment on time is what leads to successful farming since breakdowns will be reduced and productivity improved. Below are a number of tips on how and when to service farm machines in order to keep them in good condition.

Keeping a repair schedule and knowing the signs of wear and tear is very important to repairing any farm machinery on time since servicing will be done before any major breakdown occurs. Tractors for example, need to be serviced at least once or twice per year. However, the need for repair and maintenance varies from machinery to machinery, what part of machinery it is and the type of work that the machinery carries out. The main rule is to do regular checks and taking action as soon as any issues or problem arise.

Although farm machines differ, the repair and maintenance routines are almost always the same. Whether it is a tractor, a planter, a cultivator, a combine harvester or any tillage equipment, generally farmers should, from time to time, check for things like

**The tyres (checking pressure and making sure there is enough tread to get out of mud, snow or other slippery conditions)

**The battery (checking the voltage and amperage, looking for corrosion on the poles and cables)

**Checking the oil and other fluid levels (yearly checks on hydraulic fluid, daily checks on engine oil and transmission fluid as well as yearly checks on coolants)

**Looking at the air filters, carburetor and replacing them when they are no longer cleanable.

**Checking for bearings. Tightening up clamps and fittings and seals as needed. Cleaning and lubricating all the moving parts.
Winterizing the equipment (making sure it is ready for winter especially anti-freeze and hydraulic fluids)

**Inspecting for damage and ensuring structural integrity.
On top of this it is also very important to make sure that the operators and users of the equipment know how to maintain and handle it. They should know the signs of wear and tear and also be able to keep the farm machinery clean and stored in its rightful place.

**If in need of external services, farmers should deal with reputable and trusted service providers to do the repair and maintenance. All repair and maintenance activities to be recorded for future references.

These and several other checks are part and parcel of the key areas to look at when maintaining and servicing farm equipment to ensure safety of the operators, to reduce repair and maintenance costs and to avoid any delays or breakdowns during production.

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