Common seeder problems revealed

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Mechanical breakdowns can be prevented by having your farm machinery regularly serviced. Mechanical breakdowns can be prevented by having your farm machinery regularly serviced. Mechanical breakdowns can be prevented by having your farm machinery regularly serviced.

With winter sowing nearing the end, there will be a few winter crop farmers who got caught off guard with machinery breakdowns.


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While sometimes they are not preventable, often they are … and when it comes to farm machinery, the best offence is defence.

Case IH national aftersales manager Patrick McVeigh says there is tangible value in having machinery prepared and running for the sowing season by having it serviced early and buying genuine parts.

"On the surface, it might seem that breakdown repair is cheaper because you only need to budget for the one-time expense of repair and parts," McVeigh says.

"But that’s just not accurate. Breakdown repair costs extend far beyond labour and materials: because breakdowns are never planned, they force work to stop for an undetermined period.

"This has a snowball impact on every step beyond sowing, including reduced income from reduced yields.

"The true cost of machinery breakdown is several times routine maintenance and servicing costs."

It's not only the downtime if machinery begins to wear without detection that costs farm businesses — there can also be issues with seeder boots, points and metering systems.

"Being the last bit that engages the ground, seeder boots and points are very important," McVeigh says.

"Small as they are, even slightly worn points will have a big impact on seed beds and germination, so can be very costly if seeds are placed poorly.

"Different soil types determine when they need changing, but your dealer will pick this up in a service."

Good germination also depends on accurate metering, and metres can be damaged by wear and tear on the farm.

"Fertilisers and additives can be very corrosive to seeder-metering systems, so they also need to be checked over properly and serviced regularly," McVeigh adds. "Rollers also need to be in good order, with no leaks in the hoses.

"These areas are so simple that people can forget them, but not servicing them properly can make it a season people wish they could forget."

It’s also vital to use the right engine oil that suits the age and type of tractor you’re operating.

"Tractors less than 10 years old need a CI-4 15W/40 extra-high-performance diesel engine oil," McVeigh says. "Cheaper oils, such as CH-4, are only suited to machines over 20 years old.

"People can be tempted to use these because they’re cheaper, but they won’t be doing even half the lubrication job they should be and are prematurely wearing your engine."



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