Agricultural machines are indispensable tools on farms. Unfortunately, they are also costly—first of all to purchase, and then to repair and maintain. This is a problem, especially in the case of next-generation devices equipped with many computers and complex parts. In this article, we present the latest information on how to control expenses related to the purchase and repair of agricultural equipment. We cover when it is worth going to a specialized mechanic, and when to think about replacing basic tools with newer ones
Modern agriculture is modern machines!
One of the defining features of modern agriculture is the market for more and more complex machines. These improve the farmer’s comfort and efficiency and help achieve maximum profits. Unfortunately, these devices are also expensive, and farmers often face difficult decisions: should they invest in a new machine? Or will another option be more profitable?
Among the main advantages of new machines is the low risk of sudden problems. Machine downtime can cost enormous amounts of money. A machine that suddenly breaks down during harvest time can ruin an entire season. Bearing this in mind, manufacturers continually try to reduce their products’ fault risks. As a result, new machines tend to be more reliable, which reduces the risk of machine downtime and improves the quality and consistency of work.
New devices also frequently come with multi-year warranties. This shifts the burden of repair costs off the farmer—the machine gets “brought back to life” by the specialists who know the technologies inside out. In this sense, a warranty is effectively an insurance plan, which means a farmer does not have to lose sleep over a defective machine.
Nevertheless, as we have already written, the investment in new agricultural machinery is a considerable expense. Helpfully, there are EU programs that can help finance the expansion of a farmer’s machine park, often in partnership with dealers themselves. An additional option is a preferential loan, loan or lease. It is important to bear in mind, though, that these last three suggestions do involve additional costs.
What about used equipment?
Many farmers cannot afford costly equipment, and many do not want to bind themselves to long-term credits or loans. For farmers interested, there is a large market for used equipment. However, it is worth getting to know the machine well beforehand, as there is always the risk of buying a machine in poor condition. It is frequently worth asking for help from specialists or mechanics who can make expert assessments.
When considering used equipment, it is important to know its history in detail. Where was the machine used? How large were the previous farms in worked on? How many previous owners has it had, and who has been responsible for its maintenance and repair? Common red flags include vague or unverifiable information about the device’s history, and if repairs were handled by the owners themselves, or with the help of their employees. In addition, if the equipment worked on large terrain or difficult ground, it is likely to be more worn. That makes future problems only more likely.
Another key metric is engine hours worked. In the case of agricultural machinery, this is a much more important marker than mileage. It is also important to measure the engine oil pressure with a pressure gauge, check all switches and indicators, and take a test drive to make sure the engine runs smoothly.
If the seller can show invoices for the purchase of oils, lubricants and spare parts, this is definitely an additional plus! Meticulous record keeping can suggest better care. It is also worth paying attention to the condition of the tires, considering the date of tire production, tread wear, and correct size selection.
It is also extremely important to review all documents, such as:
- registration documents – note especially the date of the last review
- machine purchase documents,
- inspection documents
Generally, equipment manufactured by reputable, well-known brands is recommended, because there is no problem with the availability of new spare parts. In addition, the quality for value tends to be higher.
Repair? – This is also a solution
Currently, along with the advancing technological development in agriculture, there are many companies on the market that offer repairs. One reason why this is such big business is that the EU offers a subsidy for it.
Workshops typically specialize in certain brands. Going to one of these brand-dedicated workshops is the surest way to be sure that the machine gets the exact service it needs. With their expertise, the technicians can diagnose problems accurately, consult with farmers, and offer comprehensive service.
Farmers do sometimes invest money repairing machines that should have been scrapped a long time ago. It is essential to consider the economic justifications of every repair. Even if some equipment carries sentimental value, it is important to monitor and control the expenses related to machines and their repair. The bill due at the mechanic’s may be nowhere near the profitability of the machine. Farmers should always ask for estimates in advance and specify the limits of what they are willing to pay.
Do you want to know how much you spend on agricultural equipment and have all the information about your farm in one place?