Dan AndersonColumnist

Dan Anderson brings his vast knowledge of farm equipment, technology, machinery repair and field operations to Farm Journal readers with his column. Dan’s first freelance story appeared in Farm Journal in 1986 and he signed on as a contributing editor in 1992. Over the years, Dan has written about everything from wind and hail patterns to farmers who race stock cars in their spare time. Dan and his wife, Becky, live in rural Dallas County, Iowa. Contact him at [email protected]
Dan Anderson brings his vast knowledge of farm equipment, technology, machinery repair and field operations to Farm Journal readers with his column. Dan’s first freelance story appeared in Farm Journal in 1986 and he signed on as a contributing editor in 1992. Over the years, Dan has written about everything from wind and hail patterns to farmers who race stock cars in their spare time. Dan and his wife, Becky, live in rural Dallas County, Iowa. Contact him at [email protected]

Articles By Dan Anderson

Mar 18, 2019

How to Use a Voltmeter

Turn it on, select the direct current setting and test on a machine with a 12-volt battery
Mar 17, 2019

What You Wanted To Know About Planters

Answers to common questions we get about planter maintenance and repair each spring: -We recommend replacing disk openers when they measure 14-1/2" or less in diameter. Yes, some owner's manuals say the minimum is 14", but our experience is that the disks wear thinner as they wear "smaller." and disks
Mar 10, 2019

Those Wonderful Plastic Pipe Fittings

A lot of spray systems and nurse tank systems are built or renovated each winter. And each spring we fight leaks that seem an inevitable part of plastic pipe fittings. Here are some tips I've picked up from plastic fitting manufacturers. -Plastic pipe fittings have National Pipe Thread (NPT) threads.
Mar 05, 2019

Oh The Things You'll Do From Your Tractor

This may be old news to those of you on the cutting edge of agricultural technology, but the latest generation of combines, tractors, sprayers and other self-propelled machines are now able to: -"call home" and notify the local dealership or the machine's owner (on his smartphone or home computer) that
Feb 23, 2019

Chain Lubrication

In a perfect world, whenever I lube a roller chain, I'd first run the machine until the chain was "warm," then apply a spray-on chain lubricant that goes on "runny" but quickly thickens to "sticky." I'd lube that chain while it was running at very low speed, and I'd aim
Feb 17, 2019

Simple Voltmeter Stuff

A customer called and asked questions about the electrical system on his machine. I asked if he had a voltmeter. There was a long pause, then he said, "Yes, but I don't know how to use it." The problem was that he had purchased a fairly high-tech voltmeter, thinking "more
Feb 09, 2019

Grudging Admiration for Engineers

It's common for mechanics to bad-mouth engineers. We complain about nuts and bolts buried behind other components. We bust our knuckles on unnecessarily sharp edges in tight places. We disparage the mothers of engineers whenever our job is harder than it needs to be. But I have to admit that,
Feb 06, 2019

Maybe It's My Imagination

My last blog was about "most useful" tools. Dan and Mike, both from Nebraska, commented that Vise-Grips were their favorite tools. I appreciate their comments, and agree that Vise-Grips are a gotta-have tool. I have between 17 and 20 different kinds of Vise-Grips scattered around the shop. A few are
Feb 03, 2019

Handiest Tool in the Shop

When I was starting out as a mechanic I asked an older mechanic what was his most useful tool. He thought for a moment, and said, "Well, I'm really fond of my pry bars. I probably use that 3-footer more than just about anything in my toolbox. A good pry