Five tillage tool maintenance tips

Harvest is here, and equipment is being prepared for another fall in the field. While the focus is on combining and yields, it is never too early to start thinking about prepping the seedbed for spring planting. Fall tillage offers a head start on preparing the perfect seedbed for planters in the spring. But before heading out to the field one last time this fall, make sure your equipment has been properly maintained and checked over.

When it comes to tillage tool management, a little goes a long way. Proper maintenance and regular checkups on tillage equipment can be the difference between minor tune-ups or costly repair bills. 

Here are 5 quick tips to do before heading to the field this fall.

  1. Do a full machine walk around, checking for leaks and cracks on the frame of the machine as well as the hoses and bearings. Neglecting this important step could lead to much larger problems and bigger repair bills down the road.
  2. Check the tires and tire pressure. Look for cracked or flat tires and make sure all tires and hubs are tightened all the way onto the machine. Consider using radial tires instead of standard ag tires. Radial tires are designed to have more flotation and hold up better on highways because they can support more weight. Pressure should be around 75 psi but can vary depending on their location (check manual for proper tire pressure guidelines). 
  3. Check all soil engaging components, including disk blades, chisel shanks, baskets, and harrows. Waiting too long to replace parts like these can lead to poor machine performance and more passes needed in the field. For example, disk blades are generally between 20 inches and 22 inches in diameter. After about 3 inches of wear, replacement is encouraged but be sure to double check the operator’s manual to know the best time to replace them and other parts. 
  4. Ensure the gang angles are adjusted correctly for the fall season. Adjust the gangs properly before going to field so if there is an issue, it can be fixed in the shop. If using a piece of Universal Tillage® equipment, be sure the gangs have been adjusted aggressively enough to manage heavy residue. 
  5. Check the drawbar height when hooking up to a new tractor. This one may seem obvious but make sure everyone working with the equipment understands this step to avoid breakdowns and damage to the equipment or tractor.

Always read or reread the operator’s manual to ensure all maintenance is done properly before heading to the field. It is also important to go over all the maintenance steps with everyone involved in operations on the farm. Keeping everyone on the same page promotes better communication and can save time and money and headaches down the road. 

McFarlane Manufacturing Co. is based in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Founded in 1917, McFarlane Ag manufactures tillage equipment required to help growers prepare their seedbed for maximum yield potential. For over 100 years, McFarlane Ag has worked closely with farmers and growers to deliver the innovative farm equipment needed for today’s modern operations. McFarlane Mfg Co. also includes McFarlane Structural Steel, and has been a trusted partner to contractors and architects providing structural steel for the community buildings for over thirty years. For more information visit

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One comment

  1. I’m planning on starting a farm of my own and this article was really helpful. I’m planning on buying a large tillage machine and since this is my first time handling one, I’ll be sure to try learning from a professional and maintaining as you said. I’ll also have to check how often I need to replace the tillage disc blades, I got mine second hand so I’m not sure if the blades are still in good condition so I may just buy new ones either way.

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