You Reap What You Sow: Choosing The Right Lubricants For Agricultural Equipment Pays Off

Are you a California farmer and agricultural producer? This fall, as we move through harvest season, is the perfect time to consider how the best use of oils and lubricants in your valuable fleet of machinery can make all the difference to the outcome of your efforts.

As a farmer, regardless of whether you have a small- or large-scale operation, you know that future growth and return on your investment is always the product of long term thinking and planning for the future. And just as you know how to plan for planting and harvest, you too need to have the know-how in place to care for farm equipment.

The right choice of oil and lubricant to use for each piece of equipment is one of those critical decisions that yields dividends with each additional season in which you’re able to get the most out of your truck, tractor, or picker.

We know your machinery is important. Poorly maintained equipment can take a bite out of your yield through lost productivity and the need for costly replacements and can also eat away at the investment you make.

But you can ‘sow the seeds’ (so to speak) to get more out of your equipment, simply by making wiser choices in oils and lubricants. As a commercial fuel delivery provider to the agricultural industry in California, we have several recommendations to help you make the most of your machinery.

But first, some context. If you’re concerned about maintenance of your agricultural fleet, you’re not alone. We’re proud to service such a strong local agricultural industry! In fact, a recent tour brought southeast United States farmers to tour the San Joaquin valley to learn more about how to manage large scale, diversified crops. You can read more about that here.

In California, major crops include almonds, pistachios, tomatoes, cotton, garlic, grapes, corn, carrots, peppers, seed lettuce, seed alfalfa, and strawberries. What that means, from the standpoint of machinery care and maintenance, is that local farmers must be savvy about protecting equipment used in a wide variety of applications to maintain productivity.

We’re thinking of the following types of equipment:
- Cotton gins
- Harvesters
- Machine shakers for tree nuts, such as almonds and pistachios
- Hopper trailers and feeders
- Tractors
- Trucks
- Belts
- Pickers
- Mulching machines
- Air compressors
- Vacuum pumps

And this list of equipment isn’t anywhere near exhaustive. So, what are the practical applications to consider in choice of oil and lubricants? And what tips can we give? Read on for just a few of the important items to consider when making your choices.

Three factors to consider in use of oils and lubricants for agricultural equipment:
1. Consider whether the machine or piece of equipment will be subject to temperature changes leading to condensation. Will the truck be making lots of cold startups, and short trips? Does the gear in your machine run all day and generate high temperatures? In these cases, you might want to look for a lubricant with a higher viscosity.
2. Will the piece of equipment come into contact with corrosives, such as the use of fertilizers and chemical spraying? In those cases, look for oils and lubricants with additives to counter rust and oxidation.
3. Is the equipment likely to be subject to a lot of dust and dirt contamination, as is routine in outdoor and industrial settings? In many cases where contamination is an issue, it’s a better choice to pick a mineral based oil based on cost, as you’ll be changing oil more frequently.

And that’s just a starting point. There are additional factors to consider. Most importantly, you must remember that one size doesn’t fit all. It’s not a good idea to choose a single oil and expect it to work well for every piece of machinery in your fleet.

Finally, it pays to get expert advice, if you don’t know what you need! As your fuel and lubricant supplier, we are able to help you make decisions for each piece of equipment.

Here at Greg’s Petroleum Service our team can help you determine when to use a synthetic, versus when the better choice would be an oil with a mineral oil base.

We provide commercial fuel delivery and lubricants in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clarita or Ventura, California. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We look forward to serving you!