Farming Profits Being Pressured: How Maintenance Keeps Profitability High
Farming is a capital-intensive business. Buying workhorse vehicles like tractors or harvesters is a huge upfront cost. And static machinery on dairy or wheat farms drive the costs even higher.
Once you add in changing regulations, new technology, extreme weather and rising energy costs – turning a profit is becoming more and more challenging. Farmers are rarely cash-rich and often are one or two years away from losing it all.
Equipment Longevity and Profitability
In this environment, valuable assets have to perform well – for as long as possible. If a large four-wheel-drive tractor and cab costs over $75,000 to buy, and is used for 20 days a year, it needs to last 25 years to earn its keep. On top of that, it needs to remain in peak condition to handle the long, grueling days out in the fields.
When it comes to equipment that is used more frequently, and static machinery that runs daily, maintenance is even more crucial. For machines that are customized to fit into specific building types or serve a specific purpose – replacing these assets can lead to enormous expense. In short, farmers need agricultural machinery that runs effectively and efficiently on any terrain, come rain or shine. Longevity is critical, as is availability.
How to Get the Most Out of Equipment
The simple answer is routine planned maintenance. Proper lubrication at planned intervals keeps equipment in peak operating condition. The right combination of these factors can significantly reduce wear-and-tear and prevent corrosion, which in turn can save a farm from a broken-down vehicle and lost time and money.
An effective oil monitoring program can increase the intervals between oil changes, which means bigger savings and higher financial returns. For one farm, that saving has amounted to about $20,000 a year.
Happy Valley Farm: Profitability Through Equipment Maintenance
Happy Valley farm decided they needed more life out of each piece of equipment. They set out to extend the oil drain intervals (ODIs) for its fleet of Ford New Holland 6610 tractors. With a maintenance plan and high-performance oil, the tractors’ running time increased almost three-fold from 500 to 1,300 hours.
By looking after the transmission and hydraulic systems in the tractors, the farm achieved a 160% boost in performance and productivity. This meant less downtime and more operational flexibility for the fleet.
By The Numbers: Maintenance Results
A recent Shell industry report – Powering Peak Performance in Agriculture – revealed the following stats about equipment maintenance:
- Almost 80% of farmers believe effective maintenance can lead to cost savings
- And yet, 81% have experienced equipment breakdowns in the past three years.
Now why is that? The issue is that more than half don’t realize lubrication is a major part of the solution. Many farm managers simply don’t have the time to deal with maintenance issues or to keep up with the latest technology and trends. The majority say they would welcome extra training and support from a trusted, external partner.
Finding the Right Partner
Farmers need the right support and partnerships to help them bridge this knowledge gap and provide the necessary support to ensure their equipment works as hard as they do. On top of providing superior lubricants, transmission oils and greases, which optimize fuel efficiency and keep agricultural machines running longer, a valuable partner should have long-standing expertise in the agriculture sector. As well as a deep understanding of the trends likely to impact farmers’ businesses.
At Retif, we know what matters to farmers and we invest in training resources designed especially for equipment maintenance. These help our customers keep equipment ready for when it’s needed, and includes product consolidation and ways to better handle, dispense and dispose of lubricants and greases. This comprehensive approach enhances every aspect of the farm’s machinery maintenance process, helping you succeed.
Whatever your goals, farmers across the Southeast have trusted Retif to deliver on their fuel and lubricant needs. Ready to have a conversation with one of our specialists? You can call us at 800-349-9000 or contact us to schedule your site assessment.