For farmers, any opportunity to streamline processes, boost yields, heighten crop quality and reduce physical labour should be grasped with both hands.
Ultimately, a farm is only as good as its equipment. And the truth is a farm is an extreme environment where machinery is exposed to epic demand, harsh conditions and daily wear and tear. For these reasons, equipment has a life; it needs to be updated and upgraded as the seasons roll by. But while farmers will no doubt want to get the best deals on farm machinery, equipment is rarely cheap.
Read on to learn of ways to find the best machinery upgrades so that you can cope with seasonal demand and have your initial investment pay off in the long haul.
Upgrade if the Time Is Right
During the winter months, extended hours may be spent moving bushels of grain from bins to elevators. Winter is an excellent time to take stock of current machinery, to take time for repairs, and to tend to livestock if the farm deals in meat or milk.
Most machinery has an economic life of ten to twelve years; tractors, on the other hand, have a life of about fifteen.
Yes, farming equipment is costly. However, newer models can greatly improve processes. For example, current machinery often has built-in GPS, which helps with precision and output and reduces time spent navigating routes and physical labour.
Some ways to establish if now is the time to upgrade your machinery include the following:
- If you’re regularly paying for a piece of equipment to be repaired.
- If a piece of machinery is regularly breaking down, it is consequently holding back production while it awaits fixing.
- If your equipment cannot meet your needs (for example, if you’ve invested in extra land and have a vaster expanse to manage, or a buyer has increased their order).
Keep in mind that reputable farm supply stores may offer financing, making affordability all the more attainable.
Invest for the Season
You may also find that as winter arrives, some pieces of equipment need updating to manage colder weather or purchased new if you don’t own them already.
On larger operations, plows for the front of a tractor will vastly improve snow clearing, and a backup generator may prove valuable for isolated farms that experience power outages on particularly blustery days.
For equipment that isn’t quite past its prime, schedule routine servicing. This can be especially beneficial before winter sets in and machinery sits stationary for long periods when the snow prevails. Greasing and lubricating belts and filters and giving machinery a general check-over is one way to prevent seizing in the springtime and to extend the lifespan of current machinery.
Cash in on Old Equipment
If you do have old equipment, parts might be able to be utilized for upgrades on other pieces of machinery that are showing their age. As a worst-case scenario, you can always sell parts for scrap. Being able to reclaim any amount of cash is a huge perk.
The Bottom Line
Upgrading your farm equipment will save you money, improve your yield and heighten output thanks to better technology (like GPS), which offers better speed, efficiency and handling.
If your equipment is showing its age, don’t delay. Your upgrades will absolutely pay off over the years to come.