self-sufficient

Farming Cheats: Don’t let your tractors cost you money

A tractor is not only one of the most expensive things you’ll ever buy, it can also continue to cost you a lot of money if you are not careful.

Here’s some advice:

■ Training. Rather spend money training your drivers than repairing tractors. Regular refresher courses are helpful. Ask your tractor dealership about courses or visit Grain SA’s farmer development programme at www.grainsa.co.za/pages/farmer-development/training.

■ One man, one tractor: Give a number to each tractor on the farm and allocate the tractor to one driver only. This creates a sense of pride, especially when his machine is the one that spends the least time in the repair shop.

■ Keep records: Each tractor must have a file with its complete service record and repair history. There are farms with 18-year-old tractors that still work every day.

■ Avoid moisture near electronics: The electronic components on modern tractors can malfunction when they get wet. Train your drivers to never use a hose to spray water on the compartments where the electronic components are housed but to rather wipe them down with a damp cloth.

■ Keep track of tools: Tools and workshop equipment should be listed in a register. If someone takes an item from the workshop, that person must sign for it and thus take responsibility for returning it.

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