Despite the fluctuations in recent weather conditions, the summer harvest season is finally here, marking a time for British farmers and agricultural contractors to reap the benefits of their labour.

However, before combine harvesters are put to work, it’s crucial to ensure your equipment is primed for the long days and challenging conditions ahead. With a few straightforward maintenance checks, you can prevent costly breakdowns and optimise harvest efficiency.

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A Witham farming customer getting his combine ready for harvest (image: Witham Group)A Witham farming customer getting his combine ready for harvest (image: Witham Group)

The power of proper lubrication

Utilising top-grade lubricants not only prolongs machinery lifespan and enhances fuel efficiency but also safeguards critical components, ensuring peak performance throughout the season.

The Witham Group, a prominent UK lubricant manufacturer with more than a century of expertise in agriculture, understands the significance of proper lubrication across all operational machinery parts. Adequate preparation is key to pre-empting issues and ensuring field reliability, it argued in this guide to pre-harvest prep'.

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Engineered for efficiency:

• Engine maintenance: Routinely inspect and replace engine oil and filters, maintaining proper oil levels and a clean air filter. The Witham Group’s extensive range of agricultural engine oils meets OEM specifications, utilising premium raw materials and carbon-neutral blends, suitable for all agricultural machinery, vehicles and equipment.

• Transmission and hydraulic systems: Sustain peak performance of these critical components by monitoring transmission/hydraulic fluid levels and replacing filters when necessary. Check pipes and fittings for signs of wear. Nigel Bottom, managing director at Witham, emphasised: “Using the correct viscosity and grade of oil in modern transmission and hydraulic systems, ensures proper operating temperatures and helps prevent overheating. We always recommend the right oil for the specific application, so make sure you are well prepared and take advice if needed.”

• Combine header maintenance: When assessing this for wear, apply a protective lubricant to prevent corrosion. During disassembly, generously apply grease to mechanisms, considering the latest offerings from long-lasting, environmentally friendly lanolin-based greases to specialised greases that ensure continuous header movement.

• Belts, pulleys and bearings: Given the demanding harvest environment, proper lubrication of all pulley bearings and belt tensioners is crucial. Advanced greases, whether lithium or calcium-based, provide high-performance solutions for situations involving high pressure and temperature.

• Chains: Ensure smooth operation of your drive chains with adequate tension and lubrication. Chain oils, featuring ‘anti-fling’ additives, deliver robust lubrication and protection for your chains.

Trusted partner for peak performance

The Witham Group is a preferred supplier for many UK farming organisations, offering extensive experience, exceptional products and dedicated customer service. As holders of a Royal Warrant, it provides complimentary lubricant surveys for entire fleets, bulk oil storage solutions, and strive for next working-day delivery when feasible.

For further details on optimal oils and greases for harvest, technical inquiries or to schedule a consultation, visit