Are you ready for the spring seeding rush? Your seed, fertilizer and other crop inputs are likely ordered and you are readying your equipment to get this year’s crop into the ground. But have you checked your on-farm fuel storage? Because proper maintenance now can mean less down time in-season.
“Most fuel tanks are filled to varying degrees throughout the winter,” says Dave Graham, Technical Specialist with UFA. “But as the temperature and the humidity changes as the weather warms up, you should take the time to make sure all your fueling equipment is looking – and working – as it should.”
Graham says a visual inspection can tell you most of what you need to know. Look for leaks and for rust outside and inside the tanks. He says to check your filters to make sure they fit correctly and are cleaned. He also says to check your dispensing hose and nozzles to ensure they are in good working order. And then consider if it’s time to upgrade.
“It is not uncommon to see equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars being fueled up by antiquated fueling equipment,” says Darcy Simoneau, Strategic Account Manager with Westeel. “Tanks will degrade over time. You should always ensure your storage system and fueling equipment are in the best shape they can be, with the appropriate filtration systems in place to guard against any contaminants entering your equipment.”
Over many years of farm fuel storage, condensation and sediment could settle to the bottom of a tank, especially if the tank has not been emptied and flushed. If a visual inspection cannot verify excessive contamination, just ask your fuel agent to perform a simple water paste test to ensure the cleanliness of your own storage.
“There is also an environmental consideration when looking at older tanks,” says Simoneau. “If you think your tank may need replacing, check out the current environmental regulations in your area, discuss size and fueling options with your local fuel supplier and then look to your fuel tank supplier to see what the best option is for your operation.”
In addition to fuel, you should make sure your equipment lubrication is completed prior to the spring season. “UFA has put together sampling kits that we sell through our agencies,” says Graham. “As part of your spring servicing, you can start to do regularly scheduled oil sampling and analysis that we will then send to the lab to monitor all systems on your equipment. This is preventative, rather than reactive maintenance.”
The tests will measure the amount of wear and breakdown throughout your equipment, to alert growers as to when components will need repair. By establishing the degree of wear on a particular part, a grower can order what’s needed ahead of time, reducing weeks of downtime to a matter of days. Ensuring your fueling equipment is all in working order today will mean fewer headaches when things get busy.