With the arrival of colder weather and the completion of the harvest season, it's the perfect moment to evaluate your farm's equipment requirements.
Now's the time to give your hard-working equipment a performance review. While your memory is fresh, mine your experiences from the past growing season to help you assess which tractors and implements — like sprayers, planters and balers — need servicing during the winter months and what’s next in line for total replacement.
- Review: Pull out the service records and review any repairs completed on the equipment along with upcoming service needs.
- Evaluate: Did everything work as expected? List mechanical issues that caused delays, stoppages or workarounds.
- Safety check: Is your current equipment safe? Think back on the past season and check in with family members and helpers. Did you or anyone note any concerning issues or experience a close call?
As you weigh your future equipment needs, here are some financial considerations to help you decide if you should buy now or postpone another year.
Cash flow needs
Before you take out a new loan, know where you stand financially by reassessing your cash flow needs for the coming year. Knowing how much of a loan your operation can absorb can be a major driver in your decision-making process.
Buying at the right time can mean taking advantage of a great rate from your local ag lender. Call Minnwest Bank and ask about rate specials that can save on your monthly payment.
Supply chain issues are still having an impact on new equipment orders. If you plan to move forward with an equipment purchase in the near term, make sure you leave yourself a cushion of time. If you wait too long to finalize your order, it may not be ready when you need it.
Fall is also a time to evaluate crop yields and whether your equipment is helping or hindering operational efficiency. If you’ve been adding acreage, is your equipment equipped to handle the higher crop capacity?
Cost of ownership
If the equipment’s annual cost of ownership has trended up for several years, due to recurring mechanical issues or having to replace larger components, that can be symptomatic that it isn’t meeting the needs of your operation. It can also be helpful to pull in benchmarking figures from similar operations in your region and see how your equipment costs stack up with your peers.
Updating as an option
Are updates or upgrades to your current equipment an alternative to complete replacement? Fall is an excellent time to research your options and consult with sales reps and mechanics to determine if this cost-saving route makes sense for your operation.
Opportunities to share utilization
Do you know of a family member or neighbor who may be in the market for a new tractor? See if they’d be interested in a split ownership. You’ll both lower your debt load and expenses. Before you buy, sit down and make sure you’re on the same page for things like purchasing, storage, insurance, usage and maintenance. Then commit these to writing.
Potential efficiency gains
Evaluate the ROI on new equipment for your operation. New models are designed to get more done in less time using fewer resources. New model tractors can plant and harvest with fewer passes over the soil, or they may have more pulling power, greater fuel efficiency or come with automated features designed for targeted applications of inputs, like fertilizer and pest control.
State programs and other incentives for farmers
Don’t leave money on the table. If your new equipment can make a difference on erosion management or reduce fertilizer runoff, you may be eligible for a low-interest loan from a state program. Learn more about the requirements of the Ag Best Management Practices (AgBMP) Loan Program from Minnesota Department of Agriculture, then book a meeting with a local Minnwest Ag Lender.
Minnwest Bank helps farmers achieve success with our personalized lending approach. When it’s time to upgrade your equipment, our tailored solutions will help you reach your goals. To explore financing options for equipment and learn about rate specials, visit a helpful ag lender in your community today.