As busy forage harvest seasons are left behind, it is time for farms to turn their attention to winter servicing, to extend the life of machinery, and avoid downtime or costly repairs next season.

With many farms relying on one large high-output machine working at full capacity, often in tight weather windows, it is more important than ever for kit to run without a hitch.

According to Krone UK product manager, Ben Davies, maize harvest can be particularly tough on machines, this year especially, with the wet weather recently experienced.

“The last thing you need before your first silage cut is to be spending time fixing issues that were neglected the winter before,” he says.

The Northern Farmer: Ben Davies, Krone UK product manager

Booking machinery in for a winter service is often the most cost-effective way of addressing issues before the start of the spring silaging season.

Mr Davies says servicing in the off-season will allow more time to complete the work and source parts, which can be obtained via a regular stock order, without the time pressure associated with repairs required as the season gets underway.

“Post maize harvest, one easy win is to do a walk around your forager, baler or mower before washing to spot signs of gearbox or hydraulic oil leaks – you’ll wash away any evidence of these leaks or other issues,” he says.

According to Mr Davies, an experienced professional looking at the machinery will identify any damage caused over the previous season.

He says: “They can pick up any minor problems, such as parts which have not been greased or adjusted properly and might otherwise fail when the machine is first used in the spring.

“There are also some checks the farmer can do themselves, such as inspecting or changing oils and ensuring the PTO shaft and guards are in good condition, as well as other items as described in the operator’s manual.

“I’d advise farmers and contractors to protect their equipment from the elements by making sure it’s well lubricated, particularly if they’re unable to store kit under a roof.

“Refer to the operator’s instruction book and lubricate as recommended, grease unpainted metal parts, such as hydraulic cylinder rods, to avoid rust forming.”

He notes that carrying out these jobs during quieter periods rather than waiting until the spring means greater care can be taken while not under time pressure.

“It’s far better to get the job done safely and thoroughly, than make avoidable mistakes later down the line.”

Mr Davies concludes: “Getting on with the odd jobs you might be putting off now, may mean you’re able to get out in the field that bit earlier come the spring, with the confidence that the machines are fit and ready to go.”