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End-of-Season Maintenance Key to Hay Equipment Performance

Haying equipment end-of-season inspection and maintenance checklists; a few simple steps before storing for the winter are keys to machine performance and long life.

After a long summer in the hayfield, it’s tempting to simply back haying equipment into the shed for the winter without giving it a second thought. However, conducting a thorough end-of-season inspection and writing down maintenance needs while they are still top of mind can be time well spent.

That’s the advice of Dean Morrell, product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products and 35-year-veteran of the quality hay business.

“A full end-of-season visual inspection helps ensure you’re well prepared to complete needed repair and maintenance projects during winter downtime,” says Morrell. “Months down the road it can be hard to remember that noise you wanted to check out before next season. By writing it down, you have a big head start on maintenance that will leave your equipment in top condition, ready for another productive season.” Good machine care, with proper maintenance and repair not only helps ensure proper operation and long life, it helps maintain resale value, Morrell points out.

A clean machine simplifies fall maintenance and inspection. It also helps minimize rust which can start where dirt and moisture collect on a machine.

Begin with removing dirt, dust and hay debris by sweeping the machine or using high-pressure air or a power washer. While balers often carry the most dirt and hay material, it’s best to use air when cleaning balers because of their many moving parts and opportunities to create rust. High-pressure washing is best for cleaning mower or conditioner cutter bars. Rakes as well as self-propelled and pull-type windrowers can be pressure-washed to remove dirt, dust and hay debris.

Although some maintenance tasks can be deferred until winter, at a minimum, grease machines and change oil and filters before parking. Balers and self-propelled windrowers typically require the most care before going into winter storage. Rakes generally require minimal maintenance, but it’s still important to give them the attention they need before storing for the winter, says Morrell. He offers these “quick tips” for end-of-season maintenance and reminds producers to follow the operator’s manual and manufacturer’s recommendations.

Within the next days we will share more tips on how to prepare for end-of-season maintenance for your baler, rake, and windrower.

For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson products or to find a dealer near you, visit www.Hesston.com.

AGCO’s Support of North American Wheat Harvest an Overall Success

AGCO Wheat Sunset

AGCO plays its part to maximize uptime for Custom Harvesters in the field

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.
AGCO Combine Harvest Support supports Custom Harvesters in the field.

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.

North American Wheat Run – A Valuable Experience for AGCO Tech Van Interns

The AGCO Tech Van can support all Combines on the wheat run—regardless of make, helping to increase customer satisfaction.

The AGCO Tech Van can support all Combines on the wheat run—regardless of make, helping to increase customer satisfaction.

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.

As the team moved further north, the crop became worse as the drought took its toll.

As the team moved further north, the crop became worse as the drought took its toll.

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.

Excellence from the Combine Harvest Support Team during Wheat Run, NA

Combine Harvest Support

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.

Massey Combine RepairThe 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.Gleaner

One of the best experiences for James Petrich thus far has been the ability to listen to the custom harvesters and learn what works and what could use improvement. “As an Ag Engineer, I have gotten a better understanding of the harvest and have come up with ideas to further improve on the machines.” “One of the nicest things we’ve experienced was when Bruce Nelson invited all of us to eat with his crew at the Cattleman’s Steakhouse in Pierre, SD one night in mid July. We all had a good time getting to know each other and Bruce made it known that he very much appreciates us being there right away when things break and our willingness to help anytime,” explained Josh Martinez.Currently in Billings, MT, the harvest has slowed with some of the worst wheat crop that harvesters have seen. Montana didn’t get much precipitation this past winter or spring, so there was little to help the wheat grow, making it hard for both farmers and for harvesters. Hot, dry conditions put excess wear and stress on the combines, making them more prone to problems. Fortunately, the AGCO Combine Support Team is there to keep the harvest going.

The Farm Animal Photo Contest is here!

The second annual Farm Animal Photo contest is here! Did you enjoy the AGCO Farm Dog photo contest last year?

This year we’re doing things a bit differently and you can now show off any animal for a chance to win the new iPad! Upload up to three different photos into the contest from now until Thursday, April 19, 2012. AGCO will then pick finalists from the pool of photos, where everyone will then vote for the winner! The grand prize winner will win the new iPad and four of the top finalists will win $25 iTunes gift cards.

Which of your farm animals will you show off? Enter now!

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