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Farm Equipment Breakdown: Everything You Need to Know

| 2024.06.18
Farm equipment breakdown: Everything you need to know

In the agricultural sector, the reliability of farm equipment is not just a convenience—it is the backbone of productivity and profitability. From planting to harvesting, the smooth operation of machinery is critical.

However, when farm equipment fails, the effects can ripple throughout the entire farming operation, leading to significant losses of time and money.

This article will explore the challenges of equipment breakdowns and how farmers can protect themselves against these potentially devastating setbacks.

What constitutes an equipment breakdown?

A breakdown in farm equipment refers to the physical loss or damage originating within mechanical, electrical, or pressure systems. These breakdowns can occur due to various reasons, including mechanical failures, electrical malfunctions, or pressure system ruptures, and can dramatically affect a farm’s operational efficiency and financial stability.

Mechanical Breakdowns

Mechanical breakdown occurs when the moving parts of machinery stop functioning properly. This can be due to a range of issues, from simple wear and tear to more severe mechanical failures.

For instance, consider a situation where an exhaust fan in a poultry house is seized due to lack of lubrication. Quick action and a temporary replacement fan might prevent the loss of livestock, but the incident could still result in significant repair costs and operational downtime.

Pressure System Breakdowns

Machinery operating under pressure, like boilers and irrigation pumps, can fail due to ruptures, bulging, implosions, or even steam explosions. A common scenario might involve an irrigation pump seizing due to low-water conditions, with the subsequent repair and expediting costs running into thousands of dollars.

Electrical and Electronic Breakdowns

This category includes failures in the electrical components, such as wiring and fibre optics, often caused by power surges or phasing issues. These problems can damage sensitive components and require comprehensive repairs or replacements.

A typical example is a high-power irrigation pump seizing due to low-water conditions, which can be mitigated by overnight shipping of repair parts, though at significant expense.

Additional instances of farm equipment malfunctions and the resultant effects include the following:

  • Air conditioning units and heating systems can fail due to mechanical wear, refrigerant leaks, and thermostat malfunctions, affecting optimal growth conditions for livestock and crops.
  • Automatic waterers and irrigation systems may clog, fail, or leak due to debris, pump malfunctions, and temperature fluctuations, risking crop dehydration and animal stress.
  • Boilers and pressure vessels can suffer from corrosion, pressure regulation failures, and component wear, which disrupt critical processing tasks like sterilization or heating.
  • Circuit breaker panels and electrical systems may experience overloads, wiring deterioration, and short circuits, leading to operational shutdowns and productivity losses.
  • Compressors and refrigeration units can overheat, leak coolant, or face electrical malfunctions, causing spoilage of perishable goods like dairy and produce.
  • Computer-controlled equipment may encounter software glitches, sensor failures, and network issues, affecting accurate applications of feed, seeds, or chemicals.
  • Milking parlors and livestock management systems can break down due to mechanical failures, sanitation issues, and electrical/software problems, impacting herd health and productivity.
  • Pumps and motors may wear out from seal and bearing degradation, motor windings damage, and impeller erosion, disrupting water and nutrient delivery systems.

The Importance of Equipment Breakdown Coverage

Despite best practices and preventive measures, breakdowns can still occur. This is where having comprehensive farm equipment breakdown coverage becomes invaluable.

This specialized insurance coverage helps mitigate the financial impact of unexpected repairs, ensuring that your operations can continue with minimal disruption.

Equipment breakdown insurance is not just for those who own their buildings or all their equipment. It’s vital for any agricultural business that depends on well-functioning machinery, even if that equipment is owned by a supplier.

For example, consider a farm that’s reliant on a local power company. If a power surge knocks out the electricity, it could disrupt operations entirely, leading to losses from:

  • Inability to operate essential machinery, leading to a halt in production;
  • Spoiled inventory due to loss of refrigeration or climate control;
  • Costs to repair or replace equipment damaged by electrical issues.

In such cases, equipment breakdown coverage can provide compensation for:

  • Lost business income during downtime;
  • Repairs to damaged equipment, such as refrigerators or computers;
  • Replacement costs for spoiled products.

The Common Types of Farm Equipment Covered

Insurance coverage can extend to a wide range of farm equipment, ensuring that major systems and units are protected under the breakdown policy. Here are some examples of the types of equipment typically covered:

  • Air conditioning units
  • Automatic waterers
  • Boilers and pressure vessels
  • Circuit breaker panels
  • Compressors
  • Computer controlled equipment
  • Computerized feeding systems
  • Conveyors
  • Electrical systems
  • Generators
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Irrigation systems
  • Milking parlors and collection equipment
  • Motors
  • Pumps
  • Refrigeration compressors
  • Refrigeration units
  • Transformers
  • Well and water pumps

Policy Limitations and Considerations

While farm equipment breakdown coverage offers vital protection against unforeseen failures, it’s essential to understand its limitations. Many insurance policies may limit or exclude certain types of equipment breakdowns, necessitating additional coverage options.

Moreover, wear and tear resulting from regular usage or equipment aging may not be covered under standard policies. Therefore, farmers should consult their insurance brokers to assess coverage needs and tailor policies accordingly.

Secure Your Future With MMI Insurance’s Tailored Farm Insurance in Alberta

At MMI Insurance, we have a deep connection with the farming community in Alberta, with over 60 years of experience tailoring farm insurance policies to meet the unique needs of each agricultural operation. From grains and ranching to mixed-use farming, we provide coverage that addresses the diverse risks faced by farmers.

Our commitment to the farming community is reflected in our approach to farm insurance, where we offer:

  • Customized protection: Each farm is different, and our policies reflect that diversity. We customize coverage to protect against the specific risks your farm faces.
  • Extensive coverage: Our policies comprehensively cover all critical areas, from farm dwellings and machinery to livestock and legal liabilities.
  • Personalized advice: Our team comprises experts in Alberta’s farm insurance landscape, ready to guide you to the most informed coverage decisions.
  • Unwavering support: With MMI Insurance, you receive personalized attention throughout your policy term, especially when handling claims.
  • Value-driven premiums: We ensure that our quotes are competitive, providing you with optimal coverage at the best possible price.

At MMI Insurance, we prioritize understanding our clients’ needs, offering competitive premiums and exclusive policy solutions. Our role extends beyond being mere insurers; we are trusted advisors committed to ensuring that you have the right coverage for your farm.

Call us today at 866-222-6996 or contact us here for a free, no-obligation quote, and protect your farm today with MMI Insurance’s specialized farm insurance in Alberta.