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Mechanics Corner: Regular manure spreader maintenance is a must

Troy Moen Published on 18 April 2014
Excessively worn hammers (Slinger spreaders) increase horsepower requirements and fuel usage, increase unloading time and decrease spread pattern accuracy.

Depending on the needs of your operation, manure spreaders can be an integral part of your farm’s daily chore routine or a machine of heavy seasonal use. In either case, preventative regular maintenance can help avoid costly repairs and frustrating downtime.

Daily-use manure spreaders can show increased wear on specific components; this happens gradually and often goes unnoticed. Gradual wear can occur on apron chains, sprockets, bearings and rooster combs.



Establishing a regular maintenance schedule helps you detect increased wear and gives you an opportunity to adjust or repair these components before failure occurs.

Heavy seasonal use of manure spreaders – for example, spring and fall cleaning of manure lagoons, bedding packs and outdoor feeding areas – will wear them out more quickly if not maintained. Taking the time to thoroughly inspect, maintain, adjust and repair worn components will help ensure against costly downtime when these machines are needed most.

If your manure spreader is used predominantly during peak periods, it is advisable to wash and oil the apron chains and components exposed to corrosive manure before parking it during the off-season. A clean spreader is easier to inspect for component and structural wear and will prolong useful life of the machine.

In the case of seasonal-use manure spreaders, the window of opportunity for spreading can be quite small, and it is essential to have a properly operating machine that will allow you to complete the task as quickly as possible.

Regardless of your manure spreader type, you should perform maintenance regularly on your machine. This checklist can help you properly maintain your spreader and pertains to all spreader types, unless otherwise noted.


Every 8 hours of use

• Grease all bearings – replace any that are worn or in bad shape. Make sure all take grease. (See operator’s manual for specific intervals.)

• Grease drivelines and make sure PTO telescopes freely.


• Check for any worn drive chains, sprockets or drive belts – replace as necessary. Oil drive chains as necessary.

• Make sure all chain tighteners are functioning, with the springs in good shape and correct tension pulling on the roller chain.


• Make sure the auger shear paddles are bolted in place and functioning. (Slinger)

• Replace any missing or worn shields.

• Inspect and replace any worn or damaged hydraulic hoses.


• Inspect apron chains and adjust to correct “slack” – take links out if needed. (Apron box)

• Replace any bent apron slats. (Apron box spreaders)

• Check hammers for wear and adjust lower shroud as needed. If hammers are excessively worn or bolts/sleeves are worn, replace hammers. (Slinger)


• Inspect oil levels in all gearboxes – change gearbox lube if the service interval is due. (Per operator’s manual)

• Check tire pressures.

• Make sure oil bath is clean and oil is filled to correct level. (Slinger)

• Inspect and replace any worn or damaged parts (i.e., worn hitch clevis assemblies, etc.).

• Check the truck-mount hydrostatic system for leaks or damaged hoses – repair as needed.

• Check beater tips on vertical beater assemblies and replace if excessively worn.

Please see the operators’ manuals for more information on the above checklist and the correct service intervals on all items.

Manure spreaders play a dual role of helping clean up livestock facilities and precisely distributing valuable nutrients for optimum crop performance. Keeping these vital machines in peak performing order will help your farm operate to its fullest potential. PD

Troy Moen is a spreader and mixer product specialist with Kuhn North America.

Excessively worn hammers (Slinger spreaders) increase horsepower requirements and fuel usage, increase unloading time and decrease spread pattern accuracy. Photos courtesy of Troy Moen.