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The ‘next big thing’ in seed openers is already here

Waiting for the ‘next big thing’ in seed openers from an OEM brand?  What if we told you this new technology already exists – and you can order now to install on planters in time for the 2024 planting season?

At Wearparts, we’re leading the way on high quality aftermarket seed openers that knock OEM options out of the park on tolerance, for the most efficient, precise planting you’ve ever achieved.

Premium seed opener assemblies

Our AA65248MDBA seed opener assemblies (designed to fit John Deere planters) feature heat-treated boron steel blades and reinforced 5mm thick bearing housings with 5/16” rivets, precision-assembled using Peer bearings.  The blades themselves are designed with a longer bevel that allows the edge to stay sharper for longer, outlasting our closest competitor blade by as much as 8%.

Our blade assemblies are tested in-house by us to some of the tightest tolerances in the ag industry – each blade must achieve a minimum of .050/1.27mm axial / .060/1.52mm radial tolerance, or it doesn’t leave our warehouse.  That means no wobble and no lope – and no need to waste hours pre-qualifying blades prior to installation.  

Our Field-Ready Guarantee means that if our blades don’t run true we’ll replace them, no questions asked – so farmers can stop worrying about testing blades before installation, and get on with getting those seeds in the ground.

Achieve bigger yields

Truer blades mean a precise, v-shaped trench for seeds to drop into with less risk of trash getting in there, leading to the formation of air pockets when the trench is closed.  As a result, seeds germinate more consistently and crops are less prone to disease, pests and rot – which means bigger, more predictable yields.  And not only that – our blade assemblies are also guaranteed against breakage in the field, which means zero downtime caused by parts failure.

Put all these benefits together, and the farmer gets increased planting efficiency with a lower cost per acre AND the potential for increased yields, at OEM spec without the hefty OEM price tag.  

As a dealer, you benefit from vastly reduced comebacks, which means more satisfied customers and a lot less paperwork. We’ve got stock of these blade assemblies available for fall shipping, so you and your customers can be well ahead of the game for 2024 planting.

Why wait around for that big OEM reveal – get a pocket-friendly head start with Wearparts and see for yourself why customers choose our seed opener assemblies year after year.  Complete the form below to learn more or contact your sales rep to place a wholesale order.

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A farmer’s guide to growing hemp in the USA

Agriculture in the USA has increasingly become an industry of fine margins.  A tweak here, an innovation there – farmers must tune in to small changes in the industry and technology that can help them to squeeze that vital extra profit out of a business that is largely stretched to its limits.

But a few years back, a change to legislation triggered something of a gold rush in farming.  Changes to the Farm Bill 2018 took hemp off the list of controlled substances, and opened a floodgate.  

Farmers raced to plant hemp, lured by soaring demand.  Many made a tidy profit in 2019, but just a year later, the bubble seemed to burst.  Huge supplies of hemp lay unsold as farmers struggled to access processing facilities, while others suffered crop failure due to bad weather.

Despite this, many farmers remain interested in the possibilities of hemp as an alternative crop – but they’re understandably cautious.

Why grow hemp?

Industrially-grown hemp is an extremely versatile crop.  It grows quickly, often in less than 100 days, requiring less pesticides and weedkillers than other crops, and using less water.  It’s also known for its deep roots, which can help to break up compacted soil, prevent soil erosion and sequester carbon.

Hemp used to be widely grown across the US for these very reasons – even the founding father, George Washington, is known to have cultivated hemp, and an early draft of the Declaration of Independence was printed on hemp paper.

Today, demand for hemp is growing worldwide due to increased awareness of the potential health and environmental benefits.  This makes hemp growing an extremely interesting prospect for farmers who may be struggling to make money from other crops.

What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Industrial hemp is part of the cannabis sativa plant family, which essentially means it’s related to marijuana.  But industrial hemp varieties are extremely low in the psychoactive component of the plant, called THC.  The USDA specifies that agricultural hemp grown in the USA must have a THC content of less than 0.3%, or it must be destroyed.

What is hemp used for?

Hemp has a huge variety of uses.  The majority of hemp grown in the USA is grown for its flowers, from which oil can be extracted for use in the manufacturing of CBD products.  The demand for CBD oil is growing exponentially due to its health benefits and effectiveness as a treatment for a wide range of complaints, including pain, anxiety and insomnia.

Hemp can also be grown for its fibre, which has a huge range of uses.  It’s an environmentally-friendly alternative that can be used to make paper, textiles, plastics, biofuels and construction materials.

Lastly, hemp can be used as food.  It’s approved as a foodstuff for humans and pets in most states, but currently it cannot be fed to livestock that will enter the food chain.

Is growing hemp legal in the USA?

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the USDA’s list of controlled substances, making hemp production legal at federal level in the US.  But many individual states have their own laws and regulations governing hemp cultivation, and some (like Colorado and Oregon, for example) are more welcoming to the cultivation of hemp than others (such as Idaho and South Dakota).

Before investing in hemp as a crop, it’s important to understand what guidelines your state requires you to follow.  Regardless of where you want to grow hemp in the USA, you require a license to do so and you must inform the relevant authorities about exactly where and how much hemp you intend to cultivate each year.

Is it easy to grow hemp?

Once established, hemp is easy to grow.  It is not vulnerable to many of the diseases and pests that can affect other conventional crops like corn, and is an extremely effective weed suppressor due to its rapid growth rate.

However, hemp does require certain conditions to grow well.  It likes rich, well-drained soils with a neutral pH, so testing before planting is always advisable.  Hemp can be killed by frost, so seeds should not be sown until the risk of frost has passed.  Established hemp plants have deep roots that make them fairly drought tolerant, but young plants need moisture and will require irrigation for the first six weeks if the soil is dry.  

Hemp is a photoperiodic plant, which means its growth is directly impacted by the amount of light it receives.  The crop needs a minimum of 12 hours sunlight per day during the growing season, which means it may not be suitable for shaded fields or valleys.

In the USA, the pacific northwest has an ideal climate for growing hemp, with a mild climate and long growing season.  Hemp is also widely grown in Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee and California.

What tillage and planting tools are needed to cultivate hemp?

Farmers don’t need any specialist tillage or planting tools to cultivate hemp.  Land for the cultivation of hemp should be identified well ahead of time and tested for the appropriate pH (6.5-7).  

Hemp seeds germinate best in moist, well-aerated soil.  Strong, rapid germination is essential if the young plants are to out-compete weeds.  Good seed-to-soil contact is required so a firm, level and relatively fine seedbed should be prepared (similar to that for other forage crops) using the appropriate tillage tools.  

Hemp can be sown in rows or using a grain drill. Narrow row planting may negate the use of pesticides or herbicides in organic systems, but planting density varies depending on the variety and purpose of the hemp – flowering varieties for oil extraction often being planted more densely than varieties for fiber or grain.  Hemp can be successfully grown in no-till systems provided that the soil is warm and moist at planting, providing optimal conditions for rapid germination and growth of the seeds.

Hemp in crop rotations

Hemp makes an ideal crop to add to a crop rotation system.  It grows rapidly and matures quickly, with a deep taproot system that reduces soil compaction and erosion, and draws nutrients to the surface. Hemp’s natural disease resistance means it can help to reduce pathogens in the soil while contributing to increased potassium and nitrate levels.  Many farmers planting fall cereals after a hemp crop have reported increased yields and less dependence on herbicides.

Is hemp a financially viable crop?

Hemp has the potential to be a game changer for US farmers.  Acre for acre, hemp’s value far exceeds that of corn and the global market for industrial hemp is expected to grow to $17bn by 2030.  Hemp can also be used for many things besides foodstuffs, with the added benefit of being more sustainable to grow than almost any other crop (given the right conditions).

However, farmers who are early adopters of industrial hemp face significant challenges and must weigh the pros and cons carefully.  Hemp does require fairly specific conditions for successful growth, and even if you get a large crop, there are still question marks – for instance, too much sunlight can cause the plants to grow ‘hot’, with a THC level over the 0.3% threshold that will result in those plants being destroyed.

Then there’s processing.  Whether it’s CBD oil extraction or processing hemp fiber, there’s currently a lack of hemp processing facilities in the US.  Farmers face significant costs to transport the bulky fiber to processing centers, and may face legal challenges along the way due to differing state laws on transportation.  But with prospective processors nervous about investing in more facilities due to limited supplies of raw hemp, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation – one that farmers across the US will be watching with interest over the coming years.

Agricultural Bearing Hubs: What they are and why they matter

In crop farming, there will always be the need for tillage in one form or another, and disc blades have long been regarded as the most efficient tool for the task – in fact the disc harrow as we know it today was first invented way back in the 1880s. 

Rotating circular blades create less resistance when moving through rocky or heavy soils, which maximizes efficiency – and wherever there’s a rotating blade, you’ll usually find a bearing hub.  

But what exactly are agricultural bearing hubs?  What function do they perform?  What should you look out for when choosing bearing hubs for your disc harrow or cultivator?  Let’s take a look at some of the engineering behind agricultural bearing hubs, and how they can impact on machinery performance.

What is an agricultural bearing hub?

An agricultural hub or bearing hub is an assembly of parts that allows a rotating blade or other ground-engaging component to be attached individually to a machine such as a harrow.

Agricultural bearing hubs are made up of two main parts – a rolling bearing, and a bearing housing.  

A rolling bearing is composed of two concentric, grooved metal rings called races.  Within the groove between the two races is a series of ball bearings or rollers.  The ball bearings allow the races to roll clockwise or counter-clockwise around each other with a minimal amount of friction.

Most bearings are mounted in a housing that enables them to be fitted onto a piece of machinery.  There are lots of different types of bearing housing, for example pillow block bearings, flanged bearings, tapered bearings and more.

In an agri hub assembly, the bearing is housed in a circular hub with bolt holes that allow the complete assembly to be securely attached to the center of a disc blade for a high-speed disc harrow, a planter or other piece of machinery.

What do agricultural bearing hubs do?

As we’ve already explained, bearing hub units are used for any machine that has rotating blades mounted on individual shafts as opposed to ‘gangs’ of blades, which are mounted in groups on a shared axle.  

Bearing hubs allow the moving parts to turn freely, reducing friction and minimizing wear on the parts themselves.  They absorb the load of the machinery itself, and the drag as the blades move through the soil.  This protects non-replaceable components from the long term effects of vibration, axial and radial forces, and even impacts with obstacles in the field, such as rocks.

Bearings also serve to distribute loads more evenly so that components like disc blades can achieve consistent contact with the soil, and wear down evenly.  The result is that blades need replacing less often, and the overall lifespan of expensive machinery is extended.

Maintenance of agricultural bearing hubs

Maintaining your agricultural bearing hubs is important for overall machine performance.

Worn bearings can result in uneven blade-to-soil contact, which in turn affects soil aeration and seed germination.  If your bearings are worn, your blades won’t turn freely, which increases drag – this results in more wear and tear on your disc harrow or planter, and will also increase your fuel costs.

Signs of worn bearing hubs include:

  • A grinding noise when the blade turns
  • Excessive vibrations when the machine is operating
  • Heating up or discoloration of the bearing housing
  • Oil or grease leaking from the housing
  • Contaminants accumulating in the bearing housing

Key features of agricultural bearing hubs

In agricultural operations, bearing hubs have to withstand a unique set of challenges.  

Bearing hubs that are not specifically designed for agricultural machinery are unlikely to deliver the durability required.  This can result in frequent breakdowns and costly downtime for the farmer, as well as potential long-term damage to equipment.

Load capacity and speed

Agricultural bearings are exposed to extreme, often variable radial and axial loads.

This can be from the weight of the equipment, from collisions with rocks and debris in the field, from the force of the cutting blades, or from the gears of the machine itself.  

These loads act on the bearing for long periods and across large areas, sometimes thousands of acres.  If the bearings don’t perform consistently, the blades can’t do their job properly, resulting in inconsistent results.

Speed is an important consideration when choosing the right bearing hubs for your application.  For example, a high-speed disc harrow will put a lot more strain on its bearings, compared to a lower speed machine.

Contamination resistance

Another key challenge for agricultural bearing hubs is contamination.  Farm machinery operates in difficult conditions with a lot of contamination in the form of water, soil, seeds and even corrosive substances like pesticides and fertilizers.  

If these contaminants are able to get inside the bearing hub, they can damage the smooth action of the bearing, or even cause it to seize up.

For this reason, agricultural bearing hubs should be designed with an effective system to seal the housing against contamination, keeping dirt out while sealing the lubricant in for long-term performance.  As mentioned above, if you see grease leaking from your bearing housing, or if it’s gathering debris, it may be time to replace.

Ease of maintenance

That brings us to a final point – ease of maintenance.  Most agricultural bearing hubs are designed to be maintenance-free.  Because they are sealed to prevent contamination, you can’t normally lubricate them yourself – they should simply be replaced when they become worn.  

Removing a bearing hub is a relatively simple task – simply loosen the bolts that attach the hub to the disc.  If the bolts have seized over time, you may need to carefully grind them off.

Wearparts bearing hubs

At Wearparts, we offer a range of agricultural bearing hubs to fit various brands of farm machinery.  We’ve searched the globe for the finest engineering and most carefully considered hub designs, to ensure our customers get the efficient performance and long wear life they expect from Wearparts.

Our bearing hubs offer key features including induction hardened flanges and cast housings for enhanced durability.  We’re also the exclusive distributor of FKL bearing hubs in the United States.  

Based in Serbia, FKL has been manufacturing high-performance bearing hubs since the 1960s and has a specific product development program for agriculture.  Their Agro Point hub assemblies offer best-in-class performance for farming operations, including their unique ‘dirtblock’ system for contamination.

FKL’s dirtblock seal is high-durability solution created for heavy-duty applications in harsh environmental and operating conditions. It ensures that grease is always in contact with the rolling element and bearing raceway, while also preventing mud penetration and dissipating the heat produced during operation. 

Wearparts bearing hubs (including FKL hubs) come in various diameters, with 4 and 5-hole bolt patterns to fit a wide range of OEM branded machinery, including Degelman, Vaderstad, Horsch, Norwood, John Deere, Amazone, Kuhn, Poettinger, Lemken and more.

To find out more, get in touch – or click to find your nearest Wearparts dealer today.

Autonomous Agriculture Vehicles: Future of Farming | Wearparts

Autonomous agriculture vehicles – the future of farming?

If you were born before 1995, you probably grew up thinking that by now, we would all have flying cars and robotic servants attending to our every need.

In reality, technology has advanced more slowly than the kids of the 70s and 80s thought it would. But we’re still seeing some incredible progress, particularly in automation. 

A hot topic in the agriculture industry right now is the potential of autonomous agriculture vehicles to revolutionize farming.

Autonomous agricultural vehicles include everything from drones that can take soil samples and monitor crops from the air to robotic seed planters that can plant and fertilize in a single pass, to autonomous tractors that can literally give farmers extra hours in the day.  

Autonomous farm vehicles have been generating a lot of interest since John Deere launched the world’s first fully autonomous tractor in Las Vegas in 2022 – so let’s take a look at this technology, and what it could mean for the future of farming.

What is an autonomous tractor?

An autonomous tractor is a driverless tractor that can be programmed and controlled by computer, so it doesn’t need a human driver in the cab. 

John Deere has been pioneering autonomous tractor technology after launching the 8R410 – although what they actually launched was not an all-new tractor, but technology that could make an existing 8R autonomous.  

This included fitting the vehicle with 12 stereo camera pods and making some changes to its transmission.  As a result, the company says this technology will eventually be available for retrofitting to certain John Deere models, with the tractors able to be driven manually or autonomously.

Interest in the technology has been high because of significant labor shortages in the American agriculture industry and the length of time farmers currently have to spend sitting in their tractor cabs to perform large-scale operations such as tilling or cultivating.

How do autonomous tractors work?

Autonomous tractors work by using Satellite GPS and other advanced electronic controls without requiring a driver present. 

In fact, much of this technology has already been in use for some time – the only difference is that in an autonomous tractor, the onboard computer systems can be controlled remotely, using a computer or mobile app.  This is combined with a number of onboard GPS-enabled cameras and radar technology that allows the vehicle to ‘see’ where it’s going, and avoid obstacles.  

The tractor can be programmed to follow a specific course, at a specific speed, with its operations tailored to suit the terrain, weather conditions and task being performed.

As the farming industry becomes ever more competitive, the autonomous capabilities and extreme precision offered by self-driving tractors is likely to fuel growing demand for the technology.

What are the benefits of autonomous tractors?

Autonomous tractors can save farmers a significant amount of time, given that they can spend up to 15 hours a day sitting in a tractor cab at key times of the year.  

Driverless tractors allow farmers more time to focus on other work, increasing productivity on vital farming operations.  These autonomous vehicles can also work at any time – including through the night, when workers are asleep.
For large-scale farms, autonomous technology holds a possible solution to increasing labor shortages – a problem that’s on the rise due to change in US immigration policy.  Driverless tractors may also hold the key to helping US farmers feed a growing global population despite dwindling human resources.

Precision agriculture

Precision is another key benefit of automated vehicles, which eliminates human error that can push farming costs up.  The technology could even have long-term benefits for the soil.  

Farmers currently choose the biggest machines they can afford to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time. 

But take away those time constraints, they could perform the same task with smaller machines, reducing ecosystem disturbances and soil compaction.

Eventually, it could be the case that even the largest farms can operate a fleet of small, automated machines instead of a few huge ones.

What are the downsides of autonomous tractor technology?

The biggest obstacle to adoption of autonomous tractor technology is currently the cost. 

Although innovations such as John Deere’s retrofitted technology are aimed at reducing capital costs, and other factors – such as labor savings – this will undoubtedly mitigate them too. 

New technology safety concerns

There’s been a lot of debate around whether autonomous tractors are safe – what happens if a driverless vehicle becomes uncontrollable? Who will be liable for the damage?  Again, advances in technology are all about easing these concerns.  

Deere’s autonomous tractor for example, is programmed to stop if it detects an unexpected obstacle closer than 90 feet away – and will alert the farmer to perform a safety check or re-route before moving off again.  The vehicle will also stop if its cameras or GPS systems go offline for any reason (though this can be a drawback if you farm in a cellular data blackspot).

Artificial intelligence use could impact jobs

There’s the suspicion that is currently impacting all industries – what will this mean for human jobs?  It’s true that the use of autonomous agricultural vehicles could affect seasonal workers. But the type of jobs that can currently be carried out by driverless tractors is limited, so for now those jobs are likely safe.  

In the future, it’s likely that autonomous vehicles will be able to do much more. With seasonal farm labor already in short supply, and dwindling numbers of young people coming into the farming profession, autonomous technology is likely to solve more problems than it creates.

Are automated vehicles the future of farming?

Autonomous tractors have a long way to go before they are widely adopted on US farms. 

But other types of autonomous agriculture vehicles – such as drones – that were once regarded as a fad, have now become widely used and hugely valuable for farmers.  

While there will always be those that prefer to do things the conventional way, it’s very likely that many will eventually embrace autonomous tractors and other autonomous machines in the same way.  

As farming becomes more challenging due to climate change, labor shortages and rising costs, it’s possible that autonomous technology holds the key to global food security in the future.

You ain’t seen nuttin’: Peanut blades to maximize yields

Peanut season is well underway for farmers in the southeast, with record high yields forecast in a number of states and prices remaining favorable, hinting at a bumper crop for many producers – especially those that have invested in quality equipment to help maximize their harvest.

Groundnuts need warm weather conditions to mature, and coupled with the drought conditions commonly found across peanut-growing regions of the US, this often results in challenging soil conditions come harvest time.

In optimal conditions, a digger proceeds along the rows of peanut plants driving a horizontal blade four to six inches under the soil to loosen the plant and cut the taproot before shaking and inverting for drying.

But dry, hard soil pushes peanut diggers to the limit, making it harder for blades to cut at the required depth. If the taproot isn’t severed, roots will be dragged along by the digger and pods dislodged, resulting in digging losses. Of course, hard ground dulls blades faster, increasing the chance of losses and resulting in significant downtime caused by the need to change blades frequently in the field.

So how can Wearparts peanut blades help farmers to get more peanuts into storage, and faster?

The answer is simple: superior sharpness and a longer wearlife that makes short work of hard, dry ground.

Our aftermarket peanut blades are manufactured from boron steel for additional strength and a longer wear life, and are compatible with commonly-used peanut digging machinery including KMC and Amadas machines.

While it’s common to assume that OEM parts are always better quality, testing shows that Wearparts peanut blades are superior to their OEM equivalent, with 10% more material contributing to a lower risk of breakage and more acreage covered between blade changes.

What’s more, Wearparts offers in-house hardfacing services that further extend the wearlife of our peanut blades.

We hardface using the CMT (cold metal transfer) process, which produces a lot less heat than conventional welding processes. As a result, CMT welding does not dilute the base metal or affect its strength, brittleness or integrity in any way. The CMT process ensures consistent metal deposition from the beginning to the end of the process, which means better edge retention (blades stay sharper) and a more even wear pattern over time.

How much longer do Wearparts peanut blades last?

It’s impossible to give an average acreage per blade since conditions vary widely from state to state – and sometimes within a single farm or field. However, our own field tests indicate that farmers using Wearparts peanut blades can typically expect to get 25-30% additional wearlife compared to the equivalent OEM blades.

That means less time spend under the peanut digger changing blades, and more time spent digging rows for an optimal harvest when the time is exactly right – as it is right now, across America’s southwest.

Wearparts peanut blades are in stock and available now from dealers across the US peanut growing regions, and we offer expedited shipping for dealers needing to get stock in fast to meet the demands of this year’s harvest.

To find out more, or to enquire about becoming a Wearparts dealer, get in touch!

Farm stress and mental health in the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but what if it isn’t?

Farmers are at the centre of everything our nation holds dear about the festive season. The snowy countryside scenes, the cosy farmhouse kitchens, the mountains of delicious, home-cooked produce.

But the reality of Christmas on the farm can be a whole lot bleaker than the nostalgic, greetings-card image we’re all familiar with.

Falling right in the middle of winter, on the eve of taxation season, the festive season brings with it a unique set of practical and financial challenges for farmers.

Long, dark days and cold temperatures can make outdoor work seem more arduous than usual. Bad weather can cause problems with machinery and equipment, while livestock are more prone to sickness during the winter months. Bills rise as the farm’s energy demands increase, and incomes are stretched thin by the cost of buying gifts and hosting family gatherings.

By the very nature of their job, farmers tend to suffer more from social isolation than people who work in ‘normal’ jobs. Add to this the usual tensions – the family fall-outs, the empty chair around the dinner table – and it’s no wonder that farmers are more prone to stress and mental health problems, especially during the festive season.

Farmers are in crisis

Research shows that farmers in the US are at greater risk of suicide than any other occupation, with a rate 1.5 times the average. This frightening statistic has prompted a movement to do more about mental health among farming communities – we’ve linked to some organizations that can help at the bottom of this blog.

As part of those communities, there are things we can all do to try and ease the burden on our farming colleagues and their families over the festive season, and all year round. There are also some important self-help steps farmers can take to look after their mental health. Here are some tips and ideas to try:

1. Reach out to your farmer friends

Social isolation is a major contributing factor in farm stress and poor mental health among farmers. Farm workers are perceived as ‘gruff and tough’, able to work without rest or complaint all year round – but this is a harmful stereotype that can prevent struggling farmers from reaching out for help. While the physical work of farming means you might not see your farming buddies very often, technology means it’s easier than ever to check in. Talking about the challenges you’re facing doesn’t just lighten the load for you – it encourages others to voice their concerns and stresses too. So drop the tough guy act and send a message, pick up the phone – or better still, grab a beer and a chance to talk as often as you can.

2. Prioritise downtime

When it comes to hard work, farmers have nothing to learn. Working from sun up to sun down in all weathers, and turning your hand to any task just comes with the territory. But one thing farmers are terrible at is taking time off – and yet this is crucial for mental wellbeing.

Of course, we’re not suggesting a week in the Florida Keys. Farm work is relentless and hiring help is expensive. But recognizing that downtime is a vital investment in your health, your family and ultimately, the security of your business, is an important first step. Try to ringfence times in the week when you are ‘off’, and don’t tackle jobs during these times unless absolutely necessary. Make time to have dinner with the family. Prepare in advance of the festive season so that work can take a back seat on key dates. And don’t be afraid to ask for help – family and friends will be happy to pitch in if it means getting to spend quality time with you on special family days.

3. Get support with finances

Farmers are some of the best bookkeepers around. You’re undoubtedly accustomed to managing finances, keeping on top of bills and taxes and planning ahead for rainy days. You’re probably also intensely private about your farm finances and reluctant to ask for help if money is becoming a source of stress.

But a problem shared is a problem halved – and in the current financial climate, there’s no shame in admitting that you need some extra help. There are many professional organizations out there who are trained to help with complex financial issues including farm financial analysis, tax and succession planning, debt analysis and credit mediation. These organizations can help you come up with a plan to maximize profitability, manage credit/debt and spread the cost of overheads more efficiently. Speaking to a professional can go a long way towards easing the mental load, helping you to sleep easy at night.

4. You are what you eat

Mental wellbeing and physical health go hand in hand. Taking care of your body is one of the most powerful things you can do to stay resilient in the face of mental challenges. It goes without saying that you get enough exercise and spend plenty of time outdoors – but factors like diet could be impacting on your health.

Eating well for a farmer means getting plenty of nutrient dense food, rich in the protein your body needs to sustain activity for long periods of time. Lean meat and low-fat dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables and a good amount of pulses and legumes are a great basis. Staying hydrated throughout the day is important even in winter – and watch your alcohol consumption. Drinking to relax or to be able to sleep is common among farmers but carries risks for your mental and physical health.

5. Get enough sleep

Burnout culture in farming is a thing just as it is in many other office-based professions. But there are no prizes for running on the least amount of sleep – and in fact, not getting enough puts you at significant risk of accident and injury as well as depression. Most adults need 7-8 hours sleep per night on average to function well cognitively and emotionally during the day. If you find yourself forgetting things, feeling ‘foggy’ or experiencing low mood, lack of sleep could be the cause. Good sleep hygiene is vital for getting enough shuteye – allowing time to wind down before bed, avoiding too much screen time in the evenings, reducing your caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol can all help you to get a better quality sleep.

Don’t suffer in silence

If you or someone you know is in crisis, it’s important to reach out for professional support. Don’t suffer in silence – here are some helpline numbers:

  • Farm Aid Hotline, 800-FARM-AID (327-6243) Monday-Friday 9-5pm ET
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7
  • MidWest AgriStress Helpline, call or text 833-897-2474, 24/7