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Early-order warnings are no joke

Willie Vogt Corn harvest
GET READY: As combines roll across the country, your mind may be on harvest 2021, but start thinking about planting 2022, and order parts and inputs early.
Tighter supplies of everything may force you to improvise for crop year 2022.

There’s no shortcut here. “Order early” means something for crop year 2022, and I’m getting that message from a number of people. Recently, I hosted a FarmProgress365 virtual event with John Fulton, an Extension ag engineer at Ohio State University. Our talk was to be about final prep for your combine for the harvest season, and while we touched on that, we also focused on the bigger picture: keeping equipment running.

Your timing for ordering everything — seed, fertilizer, parts, crop protection, etc. — is moving up. Challenged supply lines are showing up across the country in interesting ways. A three-week tour across the Midwest in August was an eye-opener as I saw car dealer after car dealer with scarce supplies.

I also noticed thin inventories at most farm equipment dealerships. New inventory is tight but so is used inventory, which may crimp your style in a number of ways.

The secret sauce is to get going on ordering what you need for 2022. If you planned to buy a new machine — planter, tractor, tillage or combine — for next season, ordering in October is better than waiting until mid-December, ahead of sending info to your accountant.

I know you may be reading this while rolling down a row in your 5-year-old combine. If you want to upgrade, perhaps you should call your dealer from the field?

This is true not only for whole goods, but also parts on hand for next season. It’s something to consider as the markets’ pandemic ripples continue. We’re hearing about critical shortages of a range of equipment or parts. So getting on the wait list matters.

Taking on the challenge

One company, Claas, is moving a little early on its Pre-Sell Program incentives, with low financing rates and early-order discounts. Part of this is to get a better handle on the true demand in the market.

In announcing the move, Eric Raby, president and general manager of sales at Claas, says, “It’s important for us to understand what products are needed for next year, and that is why we have opened up our order books earlier than normal with an even broader line of incentives for farmers and contractors.”

As for parts, Claas knows its dealers are a little more “dispersed” across the country. To help with support, the company offers a program allowing farmers to take delivery of a kit of parts ahead of the season — filters, belts and other wear parts based on the machines the farmer owns. The farmer uses what he or she needs, and then settles up at the end of the year.

The Class program brings some innovation to the idea of product support. For the farmer who is not a Claas customer, perhaps knowing the best wear parts to have on hand in the shop is a good idea. If you have a field service truck, stocking that for next year makes sense, too.

As people say, we’ll get through this. But acting now could make that trip through these “troubled times” a little easier.

TAGS: Technology
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