Avoiding Potentially Large Losses This Harvest Season

With harvest just around the corner, it is important to mitigate the risk of any down time or major losses of your equipment. Some common dangers include combine or tractor fires, which cause over $20 million in property losses each year and millions more in lost time during the busy season. The best way to minimize a loss is to do your part in maintaining your equipment and making safety a priority this harvest season.

Preharvest maintenance check
Every harvest season should begin with a clean machine. About 75% of all machinery fires start in the engine and engine compartment, so be sure to pay special attention to that area. Pay close
attention to your machine operator’s manual and follow the schedule for routine maintenance. The complete maintenance check includes:
• Removing any oil, grease, or residue buildup.
• Checking guards, brakes, and safety devices.
• Reviewing all working parts for any damages or leaks.
• Reading the manufacturer’s instructions.

Combine operation
While your mind may be focused on getting the field done, it is important to consider the amount of work your equipment is being put through. Consider the following while operating the combine:

• Utilize a leaf blower or broom to get rid of dust and crop residue on your
machinery every four to six hours.
• Carry a fire extinguisher in the cab, and one that can be reached from the ground. Ensure these extinguishers are working properly by checking them periodically throughout the season.
• Shut off the engine and let it cool for at least fifteen minutes before refueling.

Maintenance throughout the season
Be sure to keep up maintenance throughout the season for a safe harvest. Not only should you start the season off with a clean machine, it is how you should start off each day. Daily safety includes:
• Inspecting the exhaust system for any leaks or damage and look for any exposed wiring.
• Looking for any excessive heat or wear on bearings.
• Ensuring belts have proper tension to reduce friction and wear.
• Making sure fittings are greased.
• Checking fuel, oil, and hydraulic lines.
• Checking lubricant levels.
• Cleaning off the combine at the end of each day.

Yard maintenance
Keeping your yard free of large objects that could damage your equipment, is important too. Remove tree limbs that are hanging low and talk to electrical companies if you have heavy rains in your
area. Train your employees to pick up large rocks to avoid damage from foreign object ingestion.

Hay Fires
Keeping a close eye on your cut and/ or baled hay can help you avoid losses from a hay fire. Ensure hay is within the proper moisture content ranges based on the type of hay and baling method. Once hay reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it is entering the danger zone. The temperature will need to be checked daily and the stacks may need to be disassembled to promote air circulation. Anything probed at or above 175 degrees Fahrenheit, the fire department will need to be alerted, stop all air movement around hay, and with the fire department’s assistance, the hay will need to be removed.

Have an Emergency Plan

An emergency communication plan allows everyone to know how to quickly respond to an emergency. It is critical to know which fields each person is on and the routes they took to get there. These plans could potentially save a life.

Taking safeguards everyday
With long days and short nights, there is no doubt that harvest can be exhausting and stressful on many levels. However, even though you may be tired, it is crucial that you continue to do daily maintenance of your equipment. Taking those safeguards everyday could be what keeps you from unwanted and ill-timed property loss, as well as falling behind in the season.

We encourage you to reach out to our team at AgQuest/MN River Insurance to help answer questions you have regarding your farm coverage. Our agents have the knowledge and experience
to help you navigate through the complexities of your home, auto, and farm policies, as we understand that every operation is unique and not one-sizefits- all. Do not leave yourself exposed to the unexpected; contact one of our experienced agents today!

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