Whether you plan to operate your equipment or store it for winter, take these steps to winterize your equipment.

You’ve worked hard all year to keep your farm running at peak productivity, and now you’re getting ready for the winter. Make sure your productivity extends into the way you winterize your machines, so the equipment you operate can keep up with winter temperatures and equipment that is stored for the winter can hit the dirt running when it rolls out of the shed next year.
Here are recommendations to keep your equipment at peak condition through the winter:
  1. Review your operators manual. For most equipment, your manual will guide you through the long-term storage process. It will also provide maintenance schedules, along with grease points, etc., for equipment that will stay running through winter.
  2. Clean it up. Dirt, dust and chaff put nearly every moving part to the test. Pockets where these materials accumulate provide an ideal nesting spot for rodents and can hold moisture. An air compressor, broom or utility brush can help you clear the tightest nooks and crannies. Avoid using a power washer or garden hose, as lingering moisture can promote rust.
  3. Check fuel and fluids. Use your operators manual to locate all lubrication points, including grease fittings, PTO drivelines and chains. Check oil levels in gearboxes. This layer of protection helps keep out moisture, dust and, ultimately, corrosion. For operating equipment, ensure your engine coolant is appropriate for winter temperatures in your area and use a winter fuel blend.1
  4. Paint and protect. Farming causes wear and creates areas of bare metal. After cleaning, consider applying a spray-on protectant or touch up with paint to prevent rust.
  5. Inspect thoroughly. Take advantage of extra time to repair broken components or anything that needs maintenance. Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check belts and replace anything that appears damaged or cracked. Look for oil leaks, which can indicate worn or damaged seals or hydraulic lines and hoses. Address items that need attention now and make note of anything to keep watch for in the next season.
  6. Take care of batteries. If you plan to use equipment, keep your batteries charged. If you plan to store your equipment for winter, disconnect the battery to prevent a leak, and keep it charged with a maintainer.1

1Scott J. 6 Steps to Winterize Equipment. Successful Farming. Published December 12, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2018.