Nothing quite like the experience of waiting in line on a Black Friday to get a super price on something brand new - yes I've done it. But when it comes to tech purchases for the farm, the plan is better than the wait in line. Tech purchases - whether you're talking new computers or GPS or auto-steering or anything else - are a business decision.
The challenge for me is to discuss this without being too preachy, but the truth is you have money to spend and a Section 179 deduction you can use. The trick is to maximize the investment in ways to boost farm productivity in the future. For example, what does your tractor or combine cab look like? If it has more monitors than mission control, it may be time to rethink that and talk to your dealer about a new display that puts all control in one place.
Monitor proliferation has gotten so bad that the added monitors along with the existing gauges can be quite confusing. I spent some time in a new Module Express Cotton Picker from Case IH recently and the video monitor of the machine at work was almost mesmerizing. Getting all that information into one display is the goal of most manufacturers, and any investment you can make today toward that goal is going to make a difference.
What about a tablet computer? Today you have so many choices, and any will work. The key is to get one that works on your cellular service so you can use it in the tractor or combine cab to check email, or communicate with others. On the right network, these handy machines are even super video phones.
Essentially the farm tech decision can be more complicated, but it you start with the idea of simplification, eventually you'll get to a place where the tools you use will do you the most good.
Talk to your equipment dealer today to learn more about the single monitor approach to see what makes sense. Consider your whole-farm computer strategy (it's worth looking at every couple of years), and remember there were NO tablet computers on the market 2-1/2 years ago. Yep the world has changed that fast.
Oh, there is one tech purchase that may be a great deal at this time of year - a smart phone. If you've been waiting now may be the right time. From an iPhone 5 to a new Motorola Razr Android phone, there are some super, full-featured choices out there just waiting for you.
Got a question? You can comment in this blog and I'll get you an answer. Thanks for reading.