The term ‘farm’ covers an incredibly broad spectrum of sites, from self-sufficient hobby lots through to sprawling stations home to thousands of sheep and cattle. Their operations are similarly diverse: growing produce, harvesting cereal crops, dairy farming, livestock rearing; the list goes on and on.

There is one way in which all farms are the same, however. Each will rely on often expensive tools, machinery and equipment to get the job done. Taking care of these assets is therefore one of the most important jobs for a farmer if they are to maintain an efficient, productive and generally successful business.

How a farmer might go about doing just that? Let’s take a look.

Typical farm tools and equipment

First we’ll need to gain an understanding of the typical tools, machinery and equipment that a farm will need to protect. These assets can be broadly separated into three categories:


This covers any instrument, implement or other device that helps to get a job done, including hand tools, power tools and garden implements. Often stored in their own toolbox or specially designed area, such as on a peg board.


This group includes any powered machine that takes care of a specific job. This covers tilling, seeding, spraying and harvesting machinery, processing and packing machinery, milking and shearing machinery, and general farm machinery like ride-on mowers and farm vehicles.


Almost every other farm shed asset falls under the term ‘equipment’, including:

  • Fuels, chemicals and other hazardous products.
  • Fertilisers, compost and mulch.
  • Feed and medical equipment for livestock.
  • Construction materials.

Why it is important to look after your equipment

As a farmer you’ll often find yourself needing more hours in the day, so why should you spend your valuable time looking after your equipment? There are endless reasons to do so, but here are a handful of the most compelling:

  • To increase the durability of your equipment, avoiding the time consuming and costly process of replacement.
  • To increase efficiency, ensuring the equipment is always ready to go.
  • To lower costs by making the same piece of equipment last longer.
  • To increase safety and decrease the likelihood of dangerous malfunctions and accidents
  • To avoid damaging the equipment, which may result in difficult and expensive repairs, or even more expensive replacement.

How to clean your tools

Cleaning and maintaining your tools, machinery and equipment needn’t be an overly time-consuming task. Small amounts of regular maintenance can save you both time and money in the long run. No matter the piece of equipment, be it a combine harvester or garden rake, the same three step maintenance process can be applied:

  1. Clean

The first step is to clean the piece of equipment, as this grants you an unobstructed view of the item, allowing you to better diagnose potential faults. Where appropriate use water to soften up dirt and grime. A pressure sprayer is advised for larger pieces of machinery. For electronics and other equipment that is sensitive to water, use compressed air instead.

    2.Check (and repair)

Carefully check over the tool, machinery or piece of equipment to identify any wearing, damage or faults. Check liquid levels on relevant machinery. If anything is amiss, refill, repair or replace.

   3. Protect

Once you’re happy that your piece of equipment is in good working order, protect it for the work to come. Paint any exposed metal, oil or wax exposed timber, and consider applying a protective coating to surfaces.

Ideally tools, machinery and equipment will be cleaned (and if necessary oiled, greased and/or lubricated) after every use, while the following maintenance should be undertaken on a regular basis:

  • Sharpening blunt blades.
  • Tightening nuts and bolts.
  • Replacing worn-out, damaged or faulty parts.

How to store your tools properly

If your tools and machinery are going to last the distance, correct equipment storage is every bit as important as correct equipment use. Our container shelters and heritage barns are our most popular storage option for farmers and industrial businesses across NZ. 

Keep your equipment dry

To avoid rust, rot and other damp-related issues, always store equipment undercover, ideally in a fully enclosed shelter. This isn’t just to protect from rain, but from condensation too. That said, fully enclosed spaces like basements and old garages can have humidity issues, so using a space with decent airflow (or a dehumidifier) is advised.

Build an appropriate shelter

If your current storage areas are affected by moisture issues, it may be worth investing in a new, purpose-built shelter. The upfront cost can quickly be paid back in the lower maintenance and greater efficiency such a structure can offer. Whether you’re a large station that needs an expansive, purpose-built shed, or a small-scale hobby farmer who simply needs somewhere to store your mower and tools, SmartShelters will have a construction to suit! 

Hang your tools

Keeping your handheld equipment off the ground means that it’s less likely to be affected by moisture. Peg boards are great for hand tools, while a simple rack is perfect for gardening equipment.

Encase or cover power tools and machinery

Disconnect your power tools and store them in their cases. Cover machinery when not in use. This protects the equipment from both moisture and accidents.

Use rust inhibitors/silica gel

Keep moisture at bay in cupboards and drawers with a silica gel pack or a rust inhibitor. These collect moisture and keep tools dry.

Storing farm tools and equipment isn’t as simple as many might imagine. But doing so correctly can result in surprisingly significant savings, most notably in making your assets last longer.

And if you feel your assets deserve a better place to call home, our friendly team at SmartShelters is ready to build it! Get in touch today.