A half-day spent winterizing farm equipment can produce major savings, according to a sampling of equipment experts.

“My theory is that maintenance costs less than repairs,” says Dan Anderson, a technician for Van Wall Group, an Iowa-based implement dealer.

Anderson puts a thorough cleaning first on his list of winterizing steps: “When you really clean a machine, you look at it more closely and see cracked metal, worn belts, or bad bearings that you might overlook when it is in use. If you don’t catch them until you’re in the field next spring, you’ll pay for the same repair plus the damage to related components, and it will mean a breakdown right in the middle of a busy season.”

Mark Hanna, Extension agricultural engineer at Iowa State University, says time spent preparing equipment for winter can keep a $500 repair from turning into $2,000 worth of damage. He offers a winterizing checklist.

It’s especially important to remove all grain and crop residue from combines so they won’t serve as source of food or bedding for rodents.

“Right now, they are looking for places to nest where they won’t be disturbed,” says Hanna. “Get into all the nooks and crannies and remove all biomaterial."

It’s fairly common for mice to chew on wiring harnesses, according to Hanna. “That could quickly add up to several thousand dollars in repairs if mice sever the wrong connections.”

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