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Be Prepared For Harvest

We’re back! This time with tips and tricks to make sure you’re prepared for the upcoming harvest. Here at SFHQ we’ve come up with some things you need to check before heading out this summer.

1. Gas

A lack of preparation when it comes to ordering your forklift or grain drying gas can cause unnecessary stress. The long hot summer of 2022 has meant for some members we are heading for two years since they last ordered gas – and let me tell you – it’s all changed.

Cylinders – in one word – nightmare. As those looking to source rearing gas will attest, the bottle situation has never really recovered from the struggles of Covid. With lead times extending up to three weeks for delivery, teamed with new systems, orders going walk about (not by us i might add), and an incredibly strict rule of ‘1 for 1’ from every supplier, it’s vital to be organised. Our top tip? Collect up your empties. You don’t need to give them all back, but if you need an extra cylinder ordering, you’ll be grateful to know where all your empties are – certainly during times of stress. There is only one supplier with a limited delivery area that will allow you to buy new cylinders should you not have the empties, but this will cost you considerably.

Bulk – slightly better – but only for grain drying. Lead times for grain drying gas are better than those on domestic tariffs, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see deliveries as promptly as times gone by. We understand that you are heavily dictated to by the weather – but – don’t put yourself at risk of having no gas in your tanks when you need it. Lead times are extended to about a week currently, but it is likely this could extend as the situation worsens. Our top tip? Better to be at the front of the queue just in case the weather does turn, rather than at the back of it!

SF Contacts: Sarah or Rosie Budd.

2. Lubricants & Adblue

Lubricants – Running low on grease and oils could add unnecessary pressure to your harvest. Ensuring you have good stock of engine and hydraulic oils, along with plenty of grease cartridges is an absolute must for a smooth harvest. If you act now, there are good deals out there to make the most of. Lead times are 3-5 working days currently, but this could change as the season progresses. Unlike fuel, the market is much more stable for lubricants as base products fluctuate less, and are ordered much further in advance. Our tip? Check your stocks now, to avoid a surprise later down the line!

Adblue – Hands up, who remembers the days of a barrel of Adblue for under £100, and IBC’s for less than £200? We do! Alas, those days are a thing of the past, but you’ll be pleased to know prices are falling fairly rapidly from the £1 a litre days. Good news aside, the lead time is a good 10 working days at the moment, and no-one can afford to lose that much time during harvest. If you have an empty ready to go,  give us a call to get an order in the system for you. Our tip? Why not call us to order a couple of 20L cans just in case you get short? They’re much easier to cart to site rather than returning to fill from the IBC. Remember that you will need to return an empty when they deliver, or you run the risk of being charged.

SF Contact: Rachael

3. Red Diesel, GTL & DERV

Perhaps the biggest contributing factor to a stressful harvest: fuel. How much is left, has anyone ordered, how long will it take to be delivered? All questions you may find yourself asking this summer. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Harvest top ups have been popular amongst farmers like you for years, and can be a real saviour in times of little sleep & even less time.

Every couple of days, weekly, fortnightly or monthly the supplier will bring a prearranged amount of fuel to your farm without you having to pick up the phone. This is possible on all fuels, at any time of year, but we also offer specific harvest top ups, for those extra busy times.

Alternatively, you can call us between 8.30am & 5pm Monday to Friday to place your order over the phone, or anytime via the website.

SF Contact: Rosie Wickham

4. Tyres

You can guarantee that you’ll reach a pivotal point in your harvest, and *bang* puncture. Is there anything more frustrating? SF has a broad range of suppliers who are able to offer emergency call outs across the South East. Our top tip? Check your tyres before harvest begins, ensuring the tyre is in good enough condition to see you through harvest could save you from unplanned downtime. Contact the office if you are looking for new tyres, especially considering the price involved with a new set of tractor tyres these days -eye watering!

SF Contact: Maria

5. Hire

Compressors, compressors, compressors. We’ve said the words until we’re blue in the face, but every year we face last minute calls for hire equipment, when other savvy farmers have had theirs booked in for weeks, if not months. If you know you’re going to need an item, get it booked. Suppliers will take orders months in advance, and can be flexible on delivery dates too. Those farmers who are left scrambling for an item last minute can pay a considerable amount more for their hire per week. Our tip is simply: Get. It. Ordered.

SF Contacts: Sarah or Rosie Budd

6. Wearing Parts

From shear bolts to tines, wearing parts are the bread and butter to every farmers’ harvest. Ensure you have good stocks inhouse before levels at dealerships become depleted. We’ve all had times where parts we need are stuck in a port on the Isle of Nowhere, so why risk it causing delays whilst the going is good? Southern Farmers has a range of suppliers that can help you with your wearing parts, check the suppliers page on the website, or your handbook for further information.

7. Safety Equipment

Just a little reminder to ensure all your vehicles have got a ready to go first aid kit and extinguisher in. In the dry heat of harvest, simple things like this can save time, and most importantly, lives.

Southern Farmers have a range of suppliers offering preferential rates on goods such as these, along with safety boots, eye protection and more.

Our tip? Before harvest kicks off, write a checklist for each vehicle to ensure you and your team have a safe and happy (where possible!) harvest. Also, don’t forget to check your July SF newsletter as Brigitte has collated contact number and opening hours for all your local machinery depots – a handy must have when time is tight.

We hope you’ve found some of the above useful, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a swift and high yielding harvest!


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