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Are Equipment Dealer Relationships Still Important?

Are Equipment Dealer Relationships Still Important?
What service would you expect from your dealer?

Take this simple survey and be honest. Suppose you were planting on Mother's Day, May 9, because you were behind and wanted to get more corn planted before predicted rains returned. As a matter of fact, several farmers across the state planted on Mother's Day, even if they took some time off to attend a family gathering or otherwise honor their wife.

It's early morning. You've got a brand new planter that you've only used for a couple of days. On the second round, all of a sudden the monitor display shows a problem with three rows. When you investigate, you discover that a cylinder that provides service to one gang of rows gave way. The cylinder is busted- it's not a simple 'go find a bolt and fix it right when it rains' routine.

How many would even try to call their equipment dealer? How many honestly think their equipment dealer or a service rep would answer the phone? And how many truly believe they could have their service person in the field yet that day, not the next day?

True story- this actually happened, and the dealer, Bane Equipment, Lebanon, not only responded, the manager himself and a mechanic showed up, brought the necessary parts, and had the planter running smoothly again- all be noon, on Mother's Day!

That's going above and beyond. Hats off to the manager and employee who responded. After all, 200 acres planted May 9 instead of 200 acres delayed until June 1 could have a hefty price tag. Howard Doster, the Purdue University ag economist, now retired and doing his own independent advising, has maintained for years that an acre you don't get planted in prime time must be treated as the last acre that will be planted at the end of the season. In normal years, although certainly not in 2009, that can set you up or large yield hits on that last field. He used this kind of reasoning to estimate that an hour of planting time on  a prime planting day before corn yield reductions set in, typically by May 10, can be worth several hundred dollars.

How do you get such service? Be honest with the dealer. Pick one that seems as concerned about service as price. And don't abuse the privilege of calling if it's truly not an emergency. Make sure it's something you can't fix, and that could keep you out of the field without assistance.

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