Equipment issues in 2020

Equipment issues in 2020
Nov 19, 2020

Farmers share the machinery snags they ran into this year

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Farmers can run into a whole host of issues during a given year.

From bad weather to new regulations, growers need to be ready to adapt and make decisions on the fly.

A farmer may also be faced with an equipment issue at an inopportune time that he or she needs to address. connected with some farmers who shared the machinery challenges they faced and how they corrected those issues.

Rick Juchems, who owns a 600-acre corn and soybean farm in Plainfield, Iowa, ran into the same issue on his Gleaner combine twice this year.

“For the first time ever, I broke an injection line on the engine,” he told “The combine was running really rough during soybean harvest and, instead of six cylinders, I was running on five.”

Juchems ordered the necessary part and had mechanics come complete the repair.

But within two weeks he ran into another combine issue.

“About a week and a half later, the same line broke again,” he said. “This time was when we were harvesting corn. We ordered extra parts but hopefully the combine runs next year without any problems.”

The combine wasn’t the only piece of equipment to experience issues on Juchems’s farm.

His Brent 644 wagon blew a tire while it was full of grain.

“We slowly brought it back into the yard, got it unloaded the next day, and had the tire changed,” he said.

Equipment breakdowns are a part of the job, but farmers can’t spend time dwelling on them, Juchems added.

“You just find other things to do in the meantime,” he said. “If the equipment isn’t going to work until it’s fixed, then you might as well try to tackle some other tasks on the farm.”

A Canadian dairy farmer ran into problems with one of his milking robots.

Greg Fentie from Springfield, Ont. had to replace parts on his Lely robot.

“We had to change the water heater, core, vacuum pump and a part in our air compressor,” he told “The air compressor has to be food-grade, and it has a scroll inside of it that we had to replace or else you can’t milk cows.”

Fentie had to have a technician from the manufacturer come out to do the repair.

“I think the scroll was just shy of C$5,000 (US$3,750) plus the labour,” he said. “It’s expensive stuff but (the equipment) needs to be fixed (immediately) because the clock is ticking, and cows need to be milked.”

The equipment issues shut down milking on Fentie’s farm for almost four hours and it took almost double that amount of time to make up the gap.

“We were looking at close to 10 hours before we were caught up,” he said. “The longer your (operation) is down, the longer it takes to get back on track.”

Both Fentie and Juchems offered maintenance tips for farmers to help them prevent, or accept, equipment issues.

“A mechanic told me that you need to take time to do your maintenance or the equipment will take your time later to do the repair,” Fentie said.

“You can do all the preventative maintenance you want, but you have to know in the back of your mind that sometimes things just break,” Juchems added.

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