Building maintenance should be scheduled regularly and be part of the management scheme, says Jay Harmon, agricultural engineer, Iowa State University. He recommends doing maintenance every time you empty a building of pigs. This will help alleviate maintenance emergencies.

Here are a few keys that Harmon recommends:

  • Don’t overlook the basics. Many equipment repairs are minor and take very little time to fix.
  • Machinery wears out and breaks. The older the farm becomes, the more repairs are needed.
  • Be observant. Minimize crises.
  • Equipment replace cost is high. Maintenance of existing equipment is cheaper.
  • A good farm manager should possess people skills, pig production skills, mechanical skills and basic     electrical skills.

In addition, Harmon says to think things through ahead of time. Have a maintenance plan in place to help the process run smoother. The plan should allow you to:

  • Determine which tasks farm employees should perform.
  • Determine how workers will receive training on facility repair.
  • Develop a farm maintenance schedule.
  • Reward employees for maintenance, don’t penalize them for breakdowns.