Editor's Notebook: Best Value for Your Money

October 20, 2010 04:27 AM


KimWatson gray
Kim Watson-Potts

Everyone’s eyes are on the bottom line, especially when considering investing money in facilities, equipment or machinery. Since most cattle producers operate on a pretty thin margin, when they have to replace equipment they want the most for their dollar.

When investigating your options, the first step is to determine what you actually need. That requires thoughtful planning about current and future needs. Make sure the equipment will be able to meet your current needs and provide flexibility for future changes. Also consider the versatility of the equipment. If it can serve double or triple duty, that helps spread out the cost.


Buy new or used. Once you assess your needs, decide whether you need to purchase a new or used item.

Some of the advantages of purchasing new are a warranty, reliability, the latest technology and readily available repair parts. The disadvantages may include a higher price and interest charges
if you can’t pay in cash.

Used equipment, on the other hand, might offer you the ability to afford what you need. The downside is you don’t have a warranty and parts for older models may be harder to find.

Buying used also means “buyer beware.” Take time to check under the hood and kick the tires before putting down money. Also try to find out how the machine or equipment was used previously, including any service records.

Shop around for machinery and equipment from different sources to find the best deals. Look past the seemingly great financing offers and consider what you can really afford and what’s actually needed for your operation.

Also keep in mind the big picture: overall cost to use, not just the purchase price. Consider fuel usage, additional labor or time, maintenance cost and tax implications. All of these factors will
impact your decision.

A great deal isn’t so great if the machinery is going to end up costing you a small fortune to operate or to maintain in good condition.

Try these tools from Farm Journal. You can research prices for new and used equipment at Farm Journal’s MyMachinery Web site. The site allows you to search for all kinds of equipment, from tractors, balers and feed mixer wagons to cattle handling chutes and panels.

Once on the site, you can narrow your search by brand, year model and location. You can even access parts listings and find equipment dealers in your area.

You can find a direct link on our Web site www.beeftoday.com or go directly to www.mymachinery.com.

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