Power At Work

Hydraulic flow control valves are not always visible

Flow rate controllers are essential for safety. Look after them and they will serve you well


Hydraulic systems for power steering, lifting and many other functions have made life much simpler for most of us working with and around farm and construction machinery. Generally the systems are very reliable – if we take the necessary precautions to keep the fluid clean and cool.

Three-mower system can cut up to 65 acres an hour

But cutting up to 54 feet in one pass requires a well-equipped, high-horsepower tractor and it doesn’t come cheap


Whether you’re cutting dry hay for baling or wet hay for silage or haylage, there are machines out there that will cut up to 65 acres an hour.

One of the biggest on the market for dry hay is the creation of a Canadian company, PhiBer Manufacturing Inc., of Crystal City, Man. PhiBer builds a tool bar that will manage three New Holland or MacDon mowers for a 54-foot cut.

New electronic equipment needs better protection

The improvements we have seen in home and workplace equipment demand an additional care level. We now need to look at ‘battery backup’ in addition to surge protection


About four years ago, I wrote an article telling you why it was essential that you have surge protection for your computer and other sophisticated electronic equipment. Several of us had taken a surge hit as a result of a lightning strike.

In the event, all three of us only had to replace the surge protection units. For two of us that was only the power bar – at a cost of about $30. For the third person, who had more extensive electronics in his barn, the cost was about $200, which was still a small price to pay to save high-priced electronic gear.

Paying attention to your tractor and combine tires can reap dividends

Choosing the right tires and the right tire pressure can reduce compaction, improve traction and add to operator comfort


Buying a tractor or combine without carefully considering what tires the machine should ride on can cost time and fuel, and lead to increased compaction.

Most new equipment purchases come with a suite of tire options and buyers often go with the brand they’re comfortable with. However, the tire makers themselves would rather you considered the matter in more detail.

Be sure you know the rules for operating your farm vehicle on public roads

Collisions while making turns and rear-end collisions account for most accidents involving farm vehicles. And almost all occur on two-lane, undivided roads


In an average year, there are more than 220 “reportable” collisions on public roads in Ontario that involve farm vehicles. Most of those incidents, according to Bob Nichols, senior media liaison officer with the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario (MTO), occur on municipal, township and county roads.
“Only eight per cent of farm vehicle crashes occur on provincial highways, ” Nichols says, adding that “96 per cent of farm crashes occur on two-lane, undivided roads.”

Two old ideas that prove their worth today

It’s many years since electric cars and anaerobic digesters on farms were first tried out. But they are back in vogue once more


Some of us who have been around for a long time or have done significant literature reviews know that a few reportedly new ideas are not new at all. In some cases, they are just being revived because the time is right.

I have two examples that I would like you to ponder. One is less than 40 years old, the other over 100 years old. Let us look at the more recent one first.

Anaerobic digesters on farms. In the late 1970s and early ’80s the governments of Ontario and Canada partially funded a number of anaerobic digesters on Canadian livestock farms.

Getting your electrical wire size right is important

For example, for larger electrical loads at longer distances from an outlet, a #12 industrial extension cord is a good investment, especially when powering a large electrical motor


Do any of you still reach for an extension cord that is long enough to go from a remote receptacle to the load that you want to power? That is acceptable when the load is a trouble light with a wattage of 60 watts or less.