If there’s one thing synonymous with hay season, it has to be equipment breakdowns. There’s always something. If it’s just twine on the baler snapping or the frame on a mower cracking, it’ll happen. Not many farmers and ranchers are lucky enough to have all brand new equipment, so that’s why learning preventative maintenance is so important.

This hay season has been no exception. I have been on the hay mower most of the time and it’s more than sitting in the cab and letting the auto-steer do the work (wouldn’t that be a nice technology to have…). I’m always watching the mower track. I want to cut as much grass as possible with each pass, but don’t want to miss any. Because if I do miss a patch, everyone that follows in the field will see it. Probably not a good job for a perfectionist or someone with OCD.

So far this season I have a good track record of finding things that are already doomed and they will break on me. Like the John Deere mower with the out-of-time and unbalanced rollers, to the u-joint that broke off with a bang, pop and flew through the air. Then the mechanic tells us the frame is cracked. Good news, it wasn’t me. Don’t forget the disc that was cracked in half on the Kuhn mower. That could have been bad. And then I learned that the discs turn different directions and each requires different blades. Then there’s the gear boxes, drive shafts, bearings, and all that other great stuff I’ve had to deal with.

When I came here I told em point-blank I’m no mechanic, but I am learning. Preventative maintenance is imperative. Pretty much every joint and moving part needs grease. So if in doubt, just look. When something breaks, hopefully it won’t be the point I missed. And the A/C never works if you forget to blow out the engine at the end of everyday. Even then you’re lucky to have cool air all day long. And a tractor cab without an A/C is nothing more than a glass bowl sauna.

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What are some memorable breakdowns you’ve had in the fields? What’s you’re favorite/lease favorite brand of equipment as far as longevity in the field? John Deere, New Holland, Kuhn, Case, Massey Ferguson?