Farming has to be one of the best examples of the advantageous relationship between man and machine. Farm equipment has developed a lot over the past 50 years giving rise to more and more automation, higher productivity, and a reduction in manual labor. This has helped to make farming more profitable and less vulnerable to factors associated with relying on a large labor force.
What that means though, is that choosing the right equipment is vital. In some respects, every time you choose a new piece of equipment it’s a little bit like choosing a new colleague. You want to know what they are capable of and how their skill set is going to fit with the rest of the team.
In this article, we’re going to give you seven factors that you should include in your farm equipment ‘interview.’ Keep these points in mind and you will have the new ‘work buddy’ you are looking for.
1. Build From the Ground Up
Choosing farm equipment isn’t the same as choosing a new car. No matter what car you buy, in general, they will all have to drive on the same roads. So we don’t think about the road surface when selecting a car; other factors are more important.
However, when choosing farm equipment, one of the first considerations is the type of soil that you will be working on. For example, is the soil lighter or thick and clay-like? Lighter soils require less tilling and lighter equipment.
However, in other areas where there is a thick clay pan, there is no need to operate deep tillage as this will actually flood the soil with more water and dilute the organic content. Plus the soil will end up a muddy mess. So the principle here is about matching the right equipment to the soil type you’re farming.
2. Work to Scale
How big is the farm that you’re working on? A general principle to follow is that the larger the scale of your farming operation, the larger the equipment and subsequent tools need to be.
That’s not to say that big is always better, but there is the consideration of time. The larger the equipment, the more time efficiency it will offer when being used over a large area. Of course, timing is often so important when there are other factors that you cannot control such as the weather.
3. Reputation Matters
If your farm equipment proves unreliable and needs constant repairs and attention, then it’s going to massively impact your productivity. In the employee analogy used in the introduction to this article, an unreliable piece of equipment is like an employee that’s always off sick. That’s bad news for everyone.
Before employing someone, you’re wise to seek several references to get an idea of that person’s performance over time. In the same way, you should consider the reputation and track history of the brand from which you’re considering a purchase. Make sure you spend some time reading reviews on the equipment from others in the industry.
No matter how good the equipment is that you buy, it’s inevitable at some point that it will need servicing and maintenance. Before you make any purchasing decisions it is a good idea to think about the convenience of service centers that are closest to your area.
Wherever possible you want to use equipment that has a service center conveniently located in relation to your farm. That means you will save more downtime and it also means that, if needed, the service can come to you. So make things as easy as possible for yourself right from the start.
5. User Comfort
You’re going to be using this equipment for many hours at a time. In some cases, you could be using the equipment all day for several days. Your health and well-being are of paramount importance if your farm is to succeed.
It’s true you may have to spend more to increase the user comfort, so try to see any extra expense or financing as a direct investment in your health and long term ability to operate your farm.
6. Spare Yourself a Problem
Machines do not last forever, and it’s part of the natural course that some parts of your farm equipment will need replacing. Before you buy any equipment, you should research the cost of spares and their availability.
A cheaper price for the equipment, but a high cost for replacement parts with a long wait for their delivery may end up being a false economy. Give this some thought now, and spare yourself a big problem later.
7. Re-Sale Value
There are many reasons why you would want to sell your equipment in the future. It could be that the nature of your farming endeavor will change, or possibly that the work will scale up and you will need bigger equipment.
Either way, it’s good to plan for flexibility and change right from the start. One way you can do this is by making sure you buy equipment that can hold a good resale price. That’s usually linked to buying high-quality equipment in the first place.
Best Farm Equipment
In this article, you have seen the importance of noting these 7 factors when choosing farm equipment. There is so much choice when choosing equipment, it can get very overwhelming and confusing. So stick to the basics and keep these principles in mind and they will help you form a clear picture of what you need.
If you want the best farm equipment, you need a quality supplier who is experienced in helping farmers connect with the right equipment for their land and farming operation. You can get in touch with us here and we will be happy to help.