Thanks to Western Producer readers for the opportunity to solve problems

I want to thank The Western Producer for giving me a chance to write about a lot of things.

I started writing for the newspaper about five years ago and the first article I wrote was on the 360 WLDH discer and how to make it go in a straight line.

I was proud of myself that I understood the principles, and that a lot of people still used this machine. I must have struck a good note because a lot of you read my column.

I also wrote a lot about combines over the years and how to make them work to capacity for their owners, while delivering a clean sample.

I made it a rule not to use books for my columns but rely on my memory, so my writing became more personal. I relied a lot on the information I gleaned from the operators I talked to, clinics and other sources. It seemed as if everybody could relate to that and readers wrote me a lot of letters about their combines.

There were also reader questions about tractors and hydraulics, about what to do about wheel hop and why bearings fail.

I have a few parting thoughts that may help some of you keep a bit more of your money:

  • On your powered machinery, change the oil in the engine just before you store it for the winter. Run it for about five minutes. There is usually some moisture in the engine and that, mixed with the sulphur in the oil, makes sulphuric acid. That is not good for the engine. A fresh coating of oil cures that.
  • Wash your combine and farm equipment, but without the pressure washer, except for areas where you can’t get built-up material off. The reason is that a pressure washer will push water past the bearing seals and gaskets and into other places where you don’t want it. The machine will be shiny for now and need repairs later.
  • If your fuel is more than three months old, change it or use diesel fuel conditioner. It will cut down on your horsepower smoking and rough running complaints.
  • If the antifreeze has been in a machine for two years, change it. Some of the additives in the antifreeze will only last two years, especially the lubricant that maintains the pump.
  • Change the oil. If not for your valve guides and bearings, do it for that turbo spinning at 30,000 r.p.m.
  • When you start into a new crop, put everything into the tank and work backward from there to set the machine. You might not need a bigger combine, just one that is properly set.
  • Look for wear in the combine. Its surfaces are critical to threshing properly and if something isn’t working as designed, it will hurt capacity or do a poor job of threshing. Combines have a lot of wear parts.
  • Don’t fear the manual. The folks who built your machine are pretty smart and there is a lot of good information in there.

Last year, I rode in some combines that use GPS guidance. It made me realize more than ever that I just wasn’t keeping up with technology and its trends. Besides, my health was hindering me more than I expected.

I feel a little like the cow watching a milk truck go by. On the truck she reads Homogenized, Pasteurized, Vitamins X and Y added. She turns to her sister beside her and says, “Sort of makes you feel inadequate doesn’t it?”

So I must say goodbye. Thanks for the memories.

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