Ok, I don't know how many of our visitors are small farmers like us, but I will assume some of you are. Here is a money saving tip for your farm. Don't buy parts at your local name brand equipment dealer unless you just have to. I have noticed a steady increase in parts cost at our local John Deere & New Holland dealer. I have also run into several times of the parts dept. not being willing to return parts or will with an extreme return fee.
You have to understand that our family has been involved in farming for several generations, and have never seen such a price increase in such a short time and a decrease in customer service. I am very disappointed in these dealerships that we have used for several years.
So what do you do for parts? Here are some ideas that we have used. Try finding used farm equipment parts sites on the internet, also Ebay, ytmag.com and various others. We have also been using a welding shop to weld broken parts or even make some. Often the welding fab shop can do this work for less money than just replacing the part new. Items like sickles, sections, and other mower/conditioner parts can be found at stores like Coastal, Rural King, Farm and Fleet, or Big R. We are also finding that we can buy oil, filters, and grease at these stores also for a fraction of the dealership's cost. Tires are another item that we have seen really go up in cost. I now look on craigslist, ebay, farm equipment salvage yards or ask my neighbors for a specific farm tire and often they have one tucked in the corner of some old barn.
While I am on the subject, I would be very slow to buy new tractors at a dealer also. These new tractors are just like our cars. They require a registered dealer to work on them. That means $85.00-$100.00/hour service shop rates. These tractors/combines etc. can be very expensive to repair, due to the "new and better" electronics and computers. Gone are the days of the farmer fixing any of his own equipment. I guess I will just keep running my older equipment.
Small farming can be very rewarding but if you want to be profitable doing it you must use wisdom in how you manage your resources, otherwise you will be paying to farm.
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