What Would You Do WIthout?
Jul 18, 2009
Customers sometimes complain about the cost of modern farm equipment. I've had customers state, "If somebody would build a 200-horsepower 4020 (or 806, or 190XT) without all the bells and whistles, just a plain ol' tractor, they'd sell a million of them."
Would they? Which of the "bells and whistles" would YOU do without? Do you want to go without a cab? That would save more than $10,000. Maybe you want a cab, but don't care if it's quiet. You could save a couple thousand dollars by having a bare metal cab with mechanical linkages for gearshifts, hydraulic controls and steering--but you wouldn't be able to hear the radio because of all the mechanical noise transmitted into the cab by all those 'hard-wired' controls.
Speaking of the radio, would you give up the AM/FM/CD player with weather band radio? A simple AM radio would only cost $50, compared to the cost of the acoustic marvels in the headliners of most modern farm equipment cabs. While we're considering cab accessories, it would save several thousand dollars to use a simple coil-spring-and-shock-absorber seat suspension instead of the electro-hydraulic or air seat suspension used in many cabs today. Vinyl seat covers would be cheaper than stain-resistant cloth or leather seats, too.
Think how much money could be saved by not including GPS guidance/autosteer in farm equipment. No satellite subscriptions, no RTK guidance fees. No GPS receiver globes to replace due to getting smashed by tree limbs or low-clearance machine shed doorways. In combines, it would save $10,000 or more to do without a yield monitor, especially if the system is set up to do yield mapping.
So, if a manufacturer offered an open-station 2WD tractor with 200 hp, or an open-station 4WD with 300 hp, would you buy it? Nothing but tires, heavy duty transmission and an engine, with a steering wheel to guide it. No extra bells and whistles. How 'bout a bare-bones combine, something that would handle a 30-foot small grain platform or 8-row cornhead, but without cab, without AM/FM, without yield monitor, without all the electronic gizmos like automatic header height control, feed-rate sensing, automatic sieve adjusting, etc., etc.?
How much would you be willing to do without to save a few dollars on your next tractor, combine or self-propelled machine?