The cost of farm equipment is eye-wateringly high, so if you own or manage a farm, one of the best ways to keep costs down is the fundamentals of farm maintenance.
What are the fundamentals? You need to know the different types of farm maintenance and how you can create an effective farm maintenance plan.
What is farm maintenance?
Farm maintenance, also known as agricultural maintenance, is the process of proactively planning and performing farm equipment maintenance tasks to reduce repair costs, maximize equipment lifespan, and ensure your equipment operates efficiently.
With such strict timelines in the agricultural industry, farm maintenance can help you:
- Prevent breakdowns, unscheduled downtime, and accidents
- Stick to your planting, fertilizing, and harvesting schedules
- Maintain the quality of your end produce and products
Farm maintenance also helps to protect the value of your equipment, so you get a better deal at trade-in.
What are the different types of farm maintenance?
Both unplanned and planned maintenance have an important part to play in keeping your farm equipment operational.
Planned maintenance is the process of inspecting and servicing your equipment at predetermined intervals to identify and resolve potential issues before they occur. Also known as reactive maintenance, unplanned maintenance is the unscheduled repair and maintenance work that you do after a piece of equipment breaks down to get it back up and running.
Both planned and unplanned maintenance are viable maintenance strategies that have their place on your farm. Your job is to determine the most appropriate type of maintenance for each piece of equipment.
As an example, planned maintenance, such as checking and changing the fluids of farm vehicles, is likely to be the best approach for critical equipment that is expensive to repair. On the other hand, unplanned maintenance, such as replacing a broken door on a storehouse, makes sense when you’re dealing with equipment that you can repair quickly and cheaply or bypass altogether.
What are the benefits of farm maintenance?
There are several benefits of implementing a good farm maintenance strategy.
First, regular maintenance can mitigate the risk of failures to reduce your repair costs. Frequently servicing your assets can also increase their lifecycle so you don’t need to replace them so often. You’re also likely to see a reduction in downtime, with fewer faults and failures that interrupt your processes. Finally, regular maintenance can reduce the risk of accidents and improve workplace culture.
How do you create an effective farm maintenance plan?
Keeping up with maintenance tasks can be difficult when you run a busy farm. Not only are you on a tight schedule but many farmers also use outdated systems such as notebooks and spreadsheets rather than dedicated computerized maintenance management software (CMMS).
Your farm maintenance plan is a document that defines the proactive work that you need to do to maintain all your assets, from your vehicles to your buildings. It should include an exhaustive inventory of your assets along with the specific maintenance tasks you intend to perform and at what intervals.
Where possible, those tasks should be aligned to individual assets, as every asset is different, and some are used more frequently than others. It’s also important to consider the skill sets required for each maintenance task and whether you can take care of it in-house or need outside help.
These are the elements that you should consider when creating your plan.
Think about the jobs you need to do to maintain each asset and determine the priority of those tasks before the maintenance work begins.
How will you do the work? Creating proper instructions along with a list of the tools and any safety equipment your maintenance team needs can help you complete the work safely, efficiently, and to the necessary quality standards.
Your maintenance schedule is all about when you do the work. For example, you might do tasks such as cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting equipment weekly, while other tasks might make more sense at the start of a season or when an asset reaches a certain mileage or number of usage hours.
Your plan should also identify who is going to perform each maintenance task. You might have the necessary skills in-house, but if not, think about what jobs you should leave for specialist contractors and request quotes and tenders for the work.
Think about the spare parts required to perform each maintenance task and list them so the maintenance worker knows exactly what they’re going to need. Then check the spare parts are in stock, and if not, order more. Your earlier maintenance history can help to inform your future part consumption.
How can Hippo CMMS help?
Outdated maintenance plans on notepads and spreadsheets are inefficient, unorganized, and can cause you to fall behind on your tasks. That’s where an easy-to-use and all-in-one computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) solution like Hippo CMMS® can help.
It enables you to manage work orders, schedule and track planned maintenance, and control your inventory on your desktop or on the go. You can monitor all your assets in a centralized system and view maintenance information at a glance on your configurable dashboard.
Hippo CMMS also lets you create planned maintenance schedules and automate service reminders for upcoming tasks to make sure you perform tasks on time. Your team can then complete inspections and upload photos and comments on the mobile app so you can view real-time updates from the field.
Farm maintenance is the process of proactively planning and performing maintenance tasks on your farm equipment to reduce repair costs, maximize equipment lifespan, and ensure your equipment operates efficiently.
Both planned and unplanned maintenance have an important part to play in keeping your farm equipment operational, and choosing the right maintenance type for each asset can improve your efficiency and help to keep your costs down.
Creating a farm maintenance plan is the key to keeping up with maintenance tasks when you run a busy farm. When creating your plan, you should think about the tasks you need to do, create instructions for each task, decide when the work should take place, and decide who is going to do it. Hippo CMMS lets you watch all your assets in a centralized system and view maintenance information so you can take control.