With harvest around the corner, now is the time to prepare your combine. Pre-harvest preparation can reduce maintenance and equipment costs and help you avoid losses during harvest.

Here are my tips for prepping your combine for harvest.

Follow recommended engine maintenance. Before harvest, check and, if necessary, replace fuel, air and oil filters. Change fluids, including oil and coolant, according to the operator’s manual. Use the Cenex® lubricants recommendation tool to find the best engine oil for your combine.

Inspect tires, belts, chains, hoses, bearings and drive components. You’re better off replacing a worn belt in the garage than dealing with a breakdown in the middle of the field. Inspect belts and chains for proper tension and signs of wear. Replace any items that look like they might not make it through harvest. 

Inspect combine components. In addition to the items above, check cutter bars for flexibility and movement, the grain platform for knife sharpness, and skid plates under the grain platform for any wear and tear.

Thoroughly clean the combine to remove any field debris, rodent nests, grease or oil buildup. Continue to keep bearing surfaces clean from dust and debris throughout harvest. 

Adjust and calibrate yield monitors, GPS guidance systems and other gauges to ensure these tools are providing accurate information.

Adjust to field conditions and expected yields. Fine-tuning your combine's operational settings can help you get the most from your fields. When switching between corn and soybean varieties, check to see if settings need to be updated. For a good initial setting, refer to the operator’s manual.

Power up with every fuel up. When selecting the right fuel for your combine and other off-road equipment, go with Ruby Fieldmaster®, a premium diesel that can increase horsepower and improve fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. An enhanced additive package helps clean and protect the engine from internal diesel deposits and fuel filter plugging for better performance and reduced downtime.

Combine operators who take the time to prepare their equipment for harvest will see the benefits in reduced breakdowns and greater net returns.

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