5 Combine Maintenance Tips for a Strong Finish to the Harvest

November 13, 2013

The fall harvest season puts large demands on equipment and unexpected breakdowns or poor performance can significantly impact yields, as time repairing combines takes away from critical moments that could be spent in the field. As the fall harvest comes to a close, let’s take a look at five combine maintenance tips that will ensure the final days out in the field aren’t wasted in the shop performing repairs.

John Deere combine corn harvest

Understanding and Inspecting Your Machine: Important prior to, as well as in the midst of the harvesting season, operators should perform thorough scans of their combines prior to rigorous days in the field. Neglecting to do so could result in lost time addressing issues that could have been dealt with prior to the day’s work.

In order to effectively evaluate the health of the combine, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of the combine. Be sure to thoroughly review the operator’s manual to become familiar with appropriate settings pertaining to the harvest.

Pre-Scout and Adjust to Field Conditions: Before rolling the combine through the field, be sure to scan for any obstructions or potential threats to the combine’s health. Additionally, be prepared to adjust the combine settings based on the types and size of grain being harvested. Stripper bar settings on corn heads should be adjusted based on ear size: the smaller the ear, the narrower the gap should be.

Combine in field

Be Prepared to Make Immediate Repairs: Preparation for the worst case scenario is always important during the final days of the harvesting season. Make sure to take a cell phone into the field so calls to dealers or other assistance can be readily available in case of a breakdown. If repairs need to be made, make sure to do so as quickly as possible. Forgetting or neglecting to repair any issues (of any magnitude) could lead to larger or more frequent repairs in the future.

Combine cab

Perform Service Checks: Be sure to have an understanding of engine oil levels, fuel filter condition, air cleaner condition, and hydraulic oil levels prior to the day’s or week’s work. When these checks have been made, grease all points of the combine as shown in the owner’s manual. Performing these routine tasks will prevent breakdowns and keep the combine (and all of its parts) running smoothly.

Prepare for Winter Storage: After the harvest season has been completed, it’s time to prepare the combine for winter storage. Clean the combine inside and out with air, as water getting into interior spaces of the machine could result in rust. Run the machine while inspecting fan belts, bearings, and any other parts that may need to be replaced prior to storage. If a problem is identified, dealers can be contacted and parts can be replaced to make sure the combine is ready to perform the next time it’s needed.

Following these five simple combine maintenance tips will put harvesters in a position to keep their machine healthy and allow them to get the most out of their final days out in the field. Feel free to share this post with friends or read more like it by connecting with us on Facebook or Google+!