Ready to hit the field? Don't forget the grease
CHS lubricants expert says proper use of grease can help prevent equipment problems down the road.
Farmers are heading out to the field, whether to plant or get ready to plant. That’s an important time to make sure equipment is ready to go in order to prevent future problems, says Mimi Falkman, CHS lubricants expert.
“If you have a well rounded maintenance program, you're able to actually increase your efficiencies when you're out in the field and make sure that you can make the most out of that time and focus on either getting the plants in or the plants out, which is what you should be doing instead of worrying about your pieces of equipment,” she says.
Falkman answered some questions about grease and maintenance programs.
Q: Why is grease critical to any well-rounded maintenance program?
A: Grease is one of the easiest ways that you can prolong the life of those components that are probably handling a lot of the pressure out there during planting. By applying grease, it offers those components a protective barrier to extend the life ... by preventing any type of wear or contaminants from getting in and just sealing off those metal components to ensure that they're operating smoothly.
Q: What should farmers know when they go into the store to pick up their grease?
A: Not all greases are compatible. I think a lot of folks think about, “Oh, I'm using a red grease now; I can switch to a different red grease in there. And they're the same. It'll be fine.” But that's just not the case with greases. They're engineered differently and they have a thickener in them, and those thickeners aren't always compatible with each other. So if you have a polyurea thickener grease in your piece of equipment now, and you put a lithium complex in there, that's going to cause a chemical breakdown within that unit, and those two products are actually going to completely bleed out and leave those metal components exposed. That can be really detrimental and actually eventually lead to equipment failure.
So farmers should bring a photo of the current grease that they're using so that they can remember what type of thickener it is, so that when they're selecting a new grease, they know and they're confident that they're compatible with each other and they won't have that issue down the line.
Q: As we're getting into planting season, talk about how important it is to get those lubricants on right now.
A: By using a high quality lubricant, it's a small investment that you can make on the upfront now to protect yourself during planting. It's just that extra piece of mind that you won't have to shovel out big bucks later when a unit might fail because you're not using the right lubricant product or because you're using a low-quality lubricant product, which isn't built to protect your unit like it needs to. Your equipment's working hard. It's pulling things. It's getting that plant in the ground. So by investing in a lubricant product that can protect those components, you can have that peace of mind that that unit is going to keep operating.
Q: When should farmers apply that grease?
A: I always tell farmers that they should apply that grease early on before heading into the fields. It's an easy thing that you can check off your list, but then you're also going to want to reapply throughout planting, because you're operating in tough conditions. It's important to continue to grease often with the right grease products to make sure you're getting the most out of it.
Falkman recommends visiting cenex.com for more information on Cenex grease products, including product compatibility.