The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
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.
Several years ago I was sent to repair the hydraulic system on a planter owned by a customer I'd never met before, and haven't seen since that day. So I really don't know much about him or his farming situation.
Anyway, I diagnosed and fixed the hydraulic problem. During the process I noticed the planter was outfitted with what was obviously a near-new high-tech hydraulic row-unit downforce control system as well as remote-control adjustable row cleaners on each row. When I crawled into the cab to test my repairs, it was crammed with monitors, computerized displays, and a variety of laptop computers. Pretty sophisticated stuff.
During the repairs I couldn't help but notice that the 20-year-old planter was missing gauge wheels on two of the rows, missing closing wheels on three rows, and that the edges of the disk openers had that thin but blunted look indicating extreme wear. I could see daylight between the disk openers and the edges of the gauge wheels on many of the rows.
I'm sorry, but as I drove away, the phrase, "Putting lipstick on a pig," came to mind.
This might be your finest Blog ever! I really got a kick out of it.