In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Yes, I"m Guilty Of Up-Selling
Jun 12, 2014
A customer good-naturedly recently accused me of up-selling equipment. He had asked my opinion as a mechanic on options and accessories for a new planter he was thinking about buying. After we discussed his goals and concerns, I suggested that maybe he needed to get a bigger planter than he was thinking about. He smiled and asked if I was going to get a commission from the sales department if he bought a bigger planter.
Nope, there's no monetary gain in it for me if he buys a bigger planter. The only gain is if he gets done sooner with his planting and is a happier customer. That's my goal---customers who are pleased with the results they get from the machinery they purchase.
It's tough to write a check for any piece of equipment. It's even tougher to write a bigger check for a bigger piece of equipment. But the past few years have emphasized the benefits of being able to cover ground quickly and accurately when planting. The window of opportunity to get in and "get 'er done" seems to be getting smaller smaller each spring. I've never had a customer regret jumping from an 8- to a 12-row, a 12- to a 16-row, or a 16- to a 24-row planter. They were always glad that the bigger planters let them cover acres faster.
Yes, there are farmers who wring every bit of value out of their equipment, guys who farm 2000 acres with an 8-row planter. If they're happy, I'm happy. But on the other end of the spectrum, I know farmers who planted their entire corn crop in five days this spring. Not necessarily five consecutive days, but five days there were "right" for planting. They were able to wait till the ground was actually ready to plant, and didn't have to start planting in cold mud in order to cover all their ground.
So, if you ask me the best options you can put on a planter, I might suggest extra rows. There are lots of gee-whiz electronic bells and whistles that can be added to modern planters, but in my mind, extra row-units pay a nice return on investment.