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We had to find creative ways to break the disc gang bolts loose on one of the tools.

Equipment repair work: needed and expensive

Costs for prepping machinery before spring planting can add up quickly

Now that we’re pretty much caught up on delivering grain, focus has shifted to maintenance and repairs.

Another tight year, so it will be a challenge to balance expense and necessary repair.

So far we have installed new blades on two vertical tillage tools and new seed disc openers on one of the planters. It sure doesn’t take long to rack up some expenses.

When I was talking to our local aftermarket supplier, he indicated that sales were very brisk this year. That’s a stark change from last year. It is likely upkeep that was pushed off last year now has to be done.

On a side note: the picture leading this blog is what we had to do to break the disc gang bolts loose on one of the tools. The manufacturer uses a low speed impact gun capable of 2,500 ft-lb! Since we couldn’t justify the $7,000 tool to take the gangs apart we had to improvise. We thought using the forklift and backhoe was safer than literally jumping on the end of a 10-foot breaker bar!

Our ‘big’ impact was about 20 years old, so we did spend $500 to update it to a newer, more powerful model. But still it only produces about 1,600 ft-lb, and 1,900 ft-lb in reverse. We hope the 1,600 ft-lb will hold everything together!

Checking tires and tracks
It is normal practice to check the condition and inflation of tires when we have tools through the shop. This year we also had tracks on two of the quadtracks and the front tires on another tractor rotated. Adding expense to the repairs category, our hope is to improve longevity of these machines, saving money in the long run. Unfortunately, we found one of the belts had drive lugs tearing out. We are looking to find a comparable used belt to install.

It wasn’t the news we wanted, but it’s better than finding out in the middle of the spring push.

April-like weather has pulled us into the fields. We’ve spent time repairing tile and planning a couple of ditching jobs. Again, we are trying to strike a balance in expense and reward. But when it is fit to ditch, you ditch. You never know when or how long conditions will cooperate. Very little tile was installed last fall due to the wet conditions. Who would have thought we could be outside in February in Northern Indiana with only a sweatshirt on?

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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