As winter sets in, farmers and ranchers across Sandpoint, Idaho are faced with a challenging task. Idaho farmers must determine the best way to protect their valuable farm equipment. It’s generally advisable to store your machinery and tools inside your garage in Sandpoint during the harsh winter months. However, there are situations were leaving certain types of farm equipment outside might be okay.
You may also be low on storage space on your Sandpoint farm. That leaves you with a tough choice – whether to put a specific piece of equipment inside or outside for the winter.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the factors that influence the decision to leave farm equipment outdoors during a Sandpoint, Idaho winter. We’ll also cover which types of equipment can withstand these challenging seasonal elements.
Storing Equipment Inside Your Garage in Sandpoint: Weather Conditions Play a Big Factor
Idaho’s winter weather is best characterized by three very familiar elements:
- Cold Temperatures
- Frequent Snowfall
- Freezing Conditions
It is critical to consider how these elements can have an impact on farm equipment. Here are the key weather conditions to take into account:
Cold Temperatures: Idaho winters can be bitterly cold, with temperatures well below freezing. Cold weather can affect the functionality of some farm equipment components.
Snowfall: Idaho receives a significant amount of snow, which can accumulate on outdoor equipment. This accumulation can add weight and potentially lead to structural damage for equipment that is not stored inside a garage in Sandpoint.
Freeze-Thaw Cycles: The fluctuation between freezing and thawing can cause moisture to seep into equipment, leading to corrosion and other issues.
Wind: Winter winds can exacerbate the cold and cause drifting snow, potentially burying equipment.
Other Factors to Consider When Deciding What to Store Inside Your Garage in Sandpoint
The decision to leave farm equipment outside during the winter should be based on a combination of factors that consider the specific needs and condition of your machinery. Some important factors to take into account include:
Equipment Type: Different types of equipment have varying degrees of resilience to winter conditions. Some are designed to withstand cold temperatures and moisture, while others are more vulnerable when not stored inside a custom post frame garage in Sandpoint.
Age and Condition: The age and condition of your equipment play a significant role in its ability to endure the winter. Older or poorly maintained machinery may be more susceptible to damage and should be stored inside a garage in Sandpoint.
Frequency of Use: Equipment that is used regularly during the winter months may be more practical to store indoors, as it will need to be readily accessible and in working condition.
Shelter Availability: If you have a suitable barn or shelter where equipment can be stored, it’s often best to use it. Sheltered storage can significantly prolong the life of your equipment.
Cost of Replacement or Repair: Consider the financial implications of potential damage or repair. For expensive or critical equipment, the cost of repair may outweigh the cost of providing shelter.
Types of Farm Equipment That You DO NOT Have to Store Inside Your Garage in Sandpoint
While it’s generally advisable to provide shelter for your farm equipment, certain types of machinery can tolerate outdoor exposure better than others. Here are some examples of farm equipment that can be left outside during an Idaho winter:
Implements and Attachments: Implements such as plows, harrows, and attachments like buckets are designed to withstand outdoor conditions and can generally be left outside without significant harm. However, keeping them sheltered can extend their lifespan.
Semi-Portable Equipment: Equipment that is relatively small, lightweight, and not as sensitive to weather, such as small utility trailers and smaller hand tools, can often be left outside without major concerns.
Temporary Storage Equipment: Temporary structures like portable fencing, sawhorses, and similar items can typically be left outdoors and do not need to be stored in a garage in Sandpoint. However, proper maintenance and storage during the off-season are still advisable.
Equipment Designed for Outdoor Use: Certain machinery, such as heavy-duty skid-steer loaders and utility vehicles designed for outdoor tasks, can endure winter conditions more effectively. However, they should still be checked and maintained regularly.
Non-Mechanical Equipment: Non-mechanical equipment like irrigation pipes and some types of storage tanks can usually be left outdoors, provided they are properly drained to prevent freezing and damage.
Types of Farm Equipment Best Stored In a Custom Post Frame Garage in Sandpoint
For many types of farm equipment, storing them indoors during the Idaho winter is the best course of action. These types of equipment are more sensitive to the cold, moisture, and other winter-related issues:
Tractors and Combines: Tractors, combines, and other large machinery are significant investments and should ideally be stored indoors. The intricate mechanical and electrical systems are vulnerable to freezing temperatures and moisture.
Grain and Feed Storage Equipment: Equipment used for grain and feed storage, such as silos, bins, and elevators, should be kept inside your garage in Sandpoint to protect the contents from freezing and moisture damage.
Precision Farming Equipment: Modern farming relies heavily on precision farming equipment, such as GPS systems and yield monitors, which can be sensitive to extreme temperatures and should be stored in a custom post frame garage in Sandpoint.
Electrical Equipment: Equipment with electrical components can be very sensitive to cold weather. Any equipment with pumps and generators should be stored inside. Also, anything with control panels should be kept indoors to prevent exposure to moisture and freezing temperatures.
Livestock Handling Equipment: Equipment used for livestock management should be stored inside. Chutes and scales are commonly used items for cattle that perform much better when stored indoors. The same goes for squeeze chutes – they should be stored indoors to maintain their functionality and prevent corrosion.
Vehicles and Trucks: Farm vehicles, including pickup trucks and service vehicles, should be stored in a garage in Sandpoint to protect against cold-related engine issues and exterior damage.
Proper Pre-Winter Maintenance
Whether your farm equipment will be left outside or stored indoors, conducting proper pre-winter maintenance is crucial. This includes the following steps:
Clean and Lubricate: Clean your equipment to remove dirt and debris that can trap moisture and contribute to corrosion. Lubricate moving parts to prevent freezing.
Inspect for Wear and Damage: Examine your equipment for signs of wear, rust, or damage. Replace or repair any worn or damaged parts before winter.
Drain Fluids: Drain fluids such as fuel, oil, and coolant if the equipment will not be used during the winter. This prevents freezing and potential damage.
Cover Exposed Components: If you cannot store your equipment in a custom post frame garage in Sandpoint, consider covering sensitive components with tarps or covers designed to protect against winter weather.
Battery Care: Disconnect or remove batteries from equipment that will not be in use. Store batteries in a dry and cool place to prevent freezing and damage.
Inflatable Tires: Reduce tire pressure slightly to prevent bursting in extremely cold temperatures.
Proper winter storage and maintenance are essential to protect your farm equipment in the harsh Idaho winter. While some types of farm equipment can tolerate outdoor exposure, it’s generally advisable to store the more sensitive and valuable machinery inside your garage in Sandpoint. The decision to leave equipment outside should be based on factors such as equipment type, age, and condition, as well as the availability of shelter and the potential cost of repair or replacement.
MQS Barn is committed to providing storage solutions for all types of farm equipment, ensuring they remain protected throughout the winter season and beyond. To learn more about our barns and garages in Sandpoint, contact us today. Our goal is to help you maintain your equipment’s longevity and functionality, even in the most challenging winter conditions.
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MQS Barn is a family-owned and operated company specializing in post-frame, steel-sided structures, and custom post-frame buildings. We have you covered if you need a new structure, like a custom horse barn or a garage hobby shop in Sandpoint. When you are ready to start, we can work with you to ensure you get the building you need.
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