Farm safety is increasingly important as machinery becomes larger and more complex and operations work more hours per day. Accidents can not only be harmful, but can cost the farm valuable uptime needed to be successful in today’s economy. We’ve composed a few basic shop safety tips that can help ensure you return home safely every day.
1. Make sure that your work or maintenance area is swept and all spills are cleaned up after working on each of your machines. Slippery floors caused by spilled oil, fuel or water are often causes of accidents. Wearing shoes or boots with treads can help prevent slipping.
2. Never climb on top of shelves, boxes, or chairs when trying to reach something high up; use a ladder that is appropriate for the situation.
3. Back muscle strains are one of the most common types of injuries, causing almost 900,000 disabling injuries each year; half of which are caused by improper techniques. You first need to look at what you are lifting and ask yourself if you think you can do it by yourself. If you have any doubts, it is much safer to ask for help than to injure yourself. Bend down at the knees instead of with your back. This allows you to keep balanced easier, have more power when lifting, and reduces the chance of straining back muscles. When lifting, tighten your stomach muscles and look straight ahead. Doing so alleviates using your back and can prevent injury. While carrying the load, hold the object as close as you can to your body as possible and set down the object by using the same technique as lifting.
4. Make sure to wear protective equipment when working on machines. Wearing protective eyewear, ear protection, gloves, and masks to protect your body from burns, cuts, dangerous chemicals and loose debris in the machinery.
5. Be aware of children and pets when moving or starting equipment. Consider purchasing an AGCO AgCam backup camera to have a clear view when maneuvering in reverse.
6. Stay out of filled grain bins and wagons to avoid entrapment and suffocation. If you must enter a grain bin, ensure that machinery is not running and locked out to keep someone from starting the equipment. Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope and have someone supervising the process to ensure your safety.
7. Most importantly, AGCO wants to remind all farmers that proper training is the best way to ensure you and your employees are safe and help avoid accidents. Consider developing a safety program that educates all employees on the farm of potential risks and what to do if there is an accident. Spend time and walk around your farm, inspecting all equipment and machines to ensure the risk level is minimized.
What are some other ways you are focusing on safety at your farm or business?
James Petrich, much like the other AGCO Combine Harvest Support (“Tech Van”) interns, spent his summer months helping custom harvesters and learning as much as he can about Gleaner combines and keeping them out in the field.
Being brought up in a farming family that runs Gleaner combines, James was already familiar with the advantages they had and how they worked. Being able to work on the latest combines, he was able to learn tricks and techniques that he could bring back and share with the rest of his family back at home. During his time there, James worked with people from all backgrounds to learn about electrical diagnosis’ on combines, replacing worn injectors and accelerator rollers, among other more common repairs that has helped him gain a deeper understanding of the support needed to have a successful harvest.
In addition to the technical knowledge that was learned, the interns were able to see the country like most other Americans could only dream about and hear stories from the harvesters that would shock even the extreme. The intern’s experience came with costs—12 hour work days, 7 days per week for three months.
Overall, the harvest this year was a success, even with the drought which struck much of America’s Great Plains. The Tech Van crew noticed that even with increased hours from previous years, combines had superior uptime that helped to lead to a smooth harvest. This superior uptime was attributed to higher quality from the factory and better dealership pre-delivery inspections that when combines give customers the great AGCO experience they expect.
The Tech Van crew will be heading to Kansas soon to help with the final harvest of the year. During the winter months, the crew stays at their base in Hesston, Kansas where they will review the 2012 season and plan ahead for next year.
Going over notes taken from the harvest, they decide on what parts they need to stock in the trailer and clear out parts for combines that are over the 5-year mark to make room for new models. From there, they will start the cycle all over again next Spring in Texas, with the AGCO Combine Harvest Support team leading the way to another successful harvest.
The 2012 Wheat Run went by faster than ever. Mikael Ekstrom and Andrew Voegeli, two of the four interns who had been traveling with the AGCO Tech Van this summer, gained valuable first-hand experience of the harvest by helping to support multiple combines of the custom harvesters on the run. The Tech Van’s central goal is to maximize uptime and help increase crop yield as much as possible. This year’s dry weather made the harvest harder as much of the crop growth was hindered. The interns noted that although the Oklahoma harvest was plentiful at between 70-90 bushels per acre, farmers in Montana were happy to get 40 bushels an acre as very little rain had fallen over the course of the season.
Surprised by the quality and speed of service, the interns were working hard with the Tech Van crew to ensure the combines were up and running. One situation that involved rotor bearings’ replacement had the Tech Van crew coordinate and work with a local AGCO dealer to get the bearings to the field faster and the combine back up running in a matter of hours. There were even a few times that needed a more in-depth process where an AGCO engineering team was consulted to research how to bring the machine back up to speed. While the engineering team was hard at work, the AGCO Tech Van crew would often find a temporary fix way to get the combine back out in the field, such as using a pickup truck to help jack up a combine that would help the crew until an official repair could be made.
The interns learned a lot about the harvest, gaining people skills with both farmers and custom harvesters. Most importantly, Mikael and Andrew discovered what it takes to support custom harvesters allowing them to take on the grueling task year after year. One of the most important lessons that Mikael and Andrew have learned is the ability to think on their feet. “Problems don’t always come at the most convenient time when the support team is right there. It is how you handle the situation and quickly come up with a solution is what matters the most,” said Andrew. Although Mikael’s and Andrew’s work has wound down, both have gained knowledge and experience that they can take back to the classroom to share with their professors and classmates that can help generate new ideas and solutions for future runs.
The AGCO Combine Harvest Support Team has been following the wheat run over the past few months providing support to keep them running and on schedule. Four AGCO interns have been with the Combine Harvest Support team helping and gaining valuable first-hand experience working in the agriculture industry. One of the largest surprises for the interns was how a short drive to the next farm can drastically change crop conditions and yield. “In parts of Oklahoma, some of the harvesters were saying that it was the best [harvest] they had ever seen, while others said it was one of the worst,” explained Andrew Voegeli. Due to the warm spring, the harvest started two to three weeks earlier and has progressed extremely fast this year.
The weather plays a large part in the harvest, and when the weather is ideal the custom harvesters are out in the fields for 12 to 16 hours per day. With uptime being one of the most important things during a busy harvest, the Combine Harvest Support Team has been working hard to ensure that the combines are running smoothly. When a problem does occur, speed is the name of the game, and the harvesters are very happy and appreciate what the tech van is doing to help. “For instance, the support team put on new valves for the cylinder of a downed combine. After ten minutes, they were up and running again,” said Voegeli. That’s why many custom harvesters buy AGCO branded combines like Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger; they know that the AGCO Combine Harvest Support Team will be there when they are needed the most and can even repair competitor’s machines as well.
We announced the expansion of our current Kansas City, MO, AGCO Parts facility to a full-service parts distribution center (PDC). The facility (specifically, located in Independence, MO) covers 900,000 square feet and now includes $100 million of parts inventory, an increase of nearly 40 percent. To mark the official opening, more than 100 dealer representatives and customers toured the facility April 10 and 11 during Grand Opening activities.
Our effort to expand this center and increase our inventory is expected to improve order responsiveness, which means that parts deliveries that can arrive as much as two to three days faster than before. Changes implemented will result in faster delivery of in-stock parts and earlier delivery of emergency and priority shipments for nearly 90 percent of the dealers served by the Kansas City PDC. This is the third of our AGCO Parts PDC’s to be upgraded to a full-service facility in the last two years. Collectively, the upgrades offer significant benefits for customers to reduce shipping times, since now one-half (four of eight) of AGCO Parts’ North American PDC locations are full-stocking. These are just a few examples of our intensive efforts to improve parts availability.
“As growers continue to increase the size of their operations, the need to minimize downtime becomes increasingly important,” says Joe DiPietro, director, Supply Chain, AGCO Parts.
“Transitioning our Kansas City parts distribution center to a full-service location further illustrates AGCO’s commitment to support our dealers and their customers. This will provide faster service to our dealers and enhance their efforts to keep customers’ equipment in the field and performing at optimum levels. ”
With its central location at the crossroads of major Interstate systems, the Kansas City facility serves dealers in the Midwest, northern Plains and eastern Mountain regions which are all important markets for AGCO Parts. Parts for all product lines from tractors and combines to tillage and application equipment are stocked there, with shipments to dealers made daily.
Additional changes implemented by AGCO Parts across North America during the past three years that also are designed to improve customer experience include:
• an updated and reorganized inventory management system;
• increased dealers’ parts inventories
• revisions to online parts books, making it easier and faster to order the correct parts;
• PM360, a pro-active preventative maintenance program, designed to enhance machine uptime, resale value and operating efficiencies, as well as provide peace of mind and optimum machine productivity;
• extended customer service hours during planting, spraying and harvest seasons.
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For more information about AGCO Parts, our products, services and in-season promotions visit www.AGCOParts.com.