10 steps to keeping your diet feeder on the move this winter
Simple but important actions taken now will save you money and safety concerns later, writes Derek Casey
Diet feeders are made to work hard at this time of year. As the winter kicks off proper, some TLC in the form of machine maintenance can save costly breakdowns.
There will be a lot of hungry mouths to feed around your yard should your feeder break down, but following the ten steps outlined here should keep downtime to a minimum.
Safety comes first; before carrying out any checks or work on your machine, remember to first park it on a hard, level surface. Stop the tractor and keep the key in your own pocket. The machine is now rendered safe and cannot be started by anyone else without your knowledge and permission.
The diet feeder featured in this article is a Redrock Vari Cut 20, which is a 20 cubic metre capacity machine that has a power requirement of 90hp. Regardless of the make, it is typical of many paddle type feeders in Ireland and so a lot of the tips discussed here will apply for other popular brands such as Keenan and Hi-Spec.
1. PTO shaft
Never operate any PTO-driven machine without an undamaged PTO cover. The cover needs to include an anti-rotation chain. A rotating cover is just as bad as an exposed rotating shaft.
Grease the hardy spicers and the male and female sliding tubes of the shaft. Grease the plastic nipple which will allow the shaft to rotate within the stationary cover. Should this be overlooked, the plastic bushings inside will soon wear out, rendering your cover useless and requiring replacement.
Inspect the crook of the tractor, and the eye of the diet feeder for wear. Should you find wear present in any of these components, replace them immediately.
These components are very cheap to replace compared to the cost of the accident they could cause. Lubricate liberally with oil or grease to prevent wear.