A yellow beggar sits with an empty sprayer in the field, in the light of mid-November snow. (Anna Marie Ward/The Union)
Sinclair Tractor Service Technician Brandon McKean works on various machines like this skid loader motor. (Anna Marie Ward/The Union)
For the past eight years, Luke Rappenecker has worked on all types of agricultural equipment at Sinclair Tractor in Winfield. Here he is working on delivering the 8370 RT IVT. (Anna Marie Ward/The Union)
WINFIELD – After a great harvest day, the bountiful harvest is finally harvested, the tractor beam lights no longer pierce the dark Iowa fields, and the farmers begin to prepare for the next one.
Machine maintenance is one of the many ways to prepare for good cultivation and planting season ahead of time.
At Sinclair Tractor in Winfield, working technicians help farmers with these preparations.
“Farmers are always looking forward to what the next season is,” said Office Technician Luke Rappenecker, who worked on the transmission of the 8370 RT IVT.
Rappenecker began working at Sinclair Tractor for 8 consecutive years out of high school, and began to look forward to certain shifts in his work as the seasons changed.
When the push to get crops stops, Rappenecker finds that his work generally shifts from working in the combine to tractor repair and maintenance, because these are what farmers will be using next season.
In addition, “the responsibilities are greater in the offseason,” he said. “When they’re stuck in the field, the priority is to get them back there as quickly as possible.”
In terms of time, farmers are given more time to inspect their machinery and make major repairs without disrupting sowing or harvesting.
“Those are the major jobs that lack routine maintenance,” said 18-year-old mobile service technician Ryan Springsteen. “A little TLC goes a long way.”
According to another 18-year-old service technician, Brandon McKean, the natural number of farmers brings more machines in for post-harvest inspections and preparation for planting.
Tractors need maintenance similar to the average road vehicle.
“For the newer models, the oil must be changed every 500 hours of use,” he said as he walked away from his work on a slide loaded engine. “For larger models, we need to change each 250.”
Springsteen expanded on the similes of conservation.
“It’s time to approach food like oil and filter changes,” he said. “Water pumps also need to be inspected for their valve mechanism.”
This time, Sinclair’s handler provides an overview.
“Farmers can bring their stuff in or we can go to them,” Springsteen said. “When we do an inspection, we look for broken or broken parts and preventive maintenance.”
“So the idea is to introduce them while it’s still fresh in their minds,” McKean said.
He explained that it is simpler to provide safe roofs at this time of the year than when farmers first pull out their tractors and begin planting their crops in time.
Inspection drives are always posted at the Sinclair Tractor store, but are also sometimes posted online.
“This is where seasons begin and end,” Rappenecker said.
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