5 Things to Consider with Managing Machinery and Equipment


When running a farm operation, machinery and equipment are vital to get tasks done.  Those tasks could be anything from producing crops to raising animals.  Having proper machinery and equipment management can improve the performance of your operation and increase income.   Efficient machinery management means having the right size and type of equipment ready to do the job at the right time for the least cost.  Here are some things to consider before making machinery and equipment management decisions.

   1. Machinery Cost

You need to be aware of the costs of owning and operating a particular piece of equipment in order to make the best machinery management decisions. Before purchasing equipment, determine whether the farming operation can support the purchase with cash or borrowed funds.  If so, you should seek the most satisfactory financing arrangement.

    2. Ownership Costs

Ownership costs for machinery and equipment include depreciation, interest on investment, taxes, insurance, and housing. Ownership costs are referred to as “fixed” costs because they occur whether or not an asset is used.

     3. Custom Hire

Custom hiring can be a good choice when you need high cost or specialized equipment for a short period. Many field tasks can be completed by using customer operators or having neighbors complete the tasks and paying them to do so.  This can reduce your initial capital investment, reduce the amount of equipment storage needed, and can save you on income taxes as custom hire is a direct expense and deductible.  Custom hiring can also be attractive if hiring is scarce.

     4. Capacity

It’s important to match current and future needs with the size of the piece of equipment you plan to purchase according to your crops being produced. If you’re just starting your operation a large tractor might not be needed right off the bat.  You may only need one small tractor and attachments to go with it.

     5. Financing

Many tractor and equipment businesses have a financing department within their company. They also offer financing packages to attract customers to purchase their brand of tractor or equipment.  They may offer attractive interest rates but you will still need to make the payments so be sure they fit your business and financial plan.  Be sure to compare the options they have versus your bank or credit union.


Begin your journey to purchasing that new or used piece of equipment for your operation at Fastline.com

Farmers Showing Off Their First Day of Harvest Pictures

With the school year underway and people posting first day of school pictures of their kids Fastline thought, what better way to jump start harvest season with some first day of harvest pictures.  Check out these shots these dedicated farmers sent to us to celebrate the first day of harvest.


(Credit: Andrew H.)


(Credit: Garrett J.)


(Credit: Harlan H.)


(Credit: Jarrod T.)


(Credit: Harley S.)


(Credit: Kevin A.)


(Credit: Bob C.)


(Credit: JD F.)


(Credit: Lee S.)


(Credit: Monique W.)


(Credit: Matt G.)


(Credit: Megan L.)


(Credit: Michael G.)


(Credit: Rainy J.)


(Credit Trevor C.)


(Credit: Samuel V.)


(Credit: Uriel D.)


(Credit: Waylon K.)


(Credit: Justin F.)


(Credit: Zane S.)

Tagged , , ,

7 Aspects to Consider when Buying a Grain Dryer

55041289 - grain warehouse silhouette at sunset

As harvest approaches, a grain dryer will be needed for farmers to dry their grains from corn to wheat.  If you are in the market for a new or used grain dryer here are some things to consider before making that purchase.

1.Choose the right dryer

There are a number of things to look at when choosing the best dryer for your operation. Capacity would be the first thing to look at. If the maximum capacity to dry is 100,000 bushels, an in-bin system is suggested. If it’s a larger amount such as 750,000 bushels GSI suggests a tower dryer.

2.Do you qualify for an energy grant?

Does your purchase qualify you for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant from the USDA? It can pay up to 25% of the total eligible project costs. Also check if your local electrical distribution company offers grants to promote energy efficiency.

3.Think long term

Grain dryers can last anywhere between 20 to 30 years. U.S. farm yields tend to increase by 2% to 3% annually. Down the road you may have 30% more wheat. That’s why it’s important to make sure you choose one that will meet your needs for a long time.

4. It’s more about the investment than the cost

Farmers are initially wary of the cost of their grain dryer purchase but it’s important to pay attention to the effectiveness of the dryer. Will it help to increase your yield?

5. Increase dryer holding capacity

If you have a larger holding capacity and you maintain optimum airflow, not too high and not too low, you will dry the most grain. It may cost more in the beginning, but it will pay off every year.

6. Shop Around

Make sure before you pick that perfect dryer you shop around and compare others in price and options other dealers have to offer.

7. Check power needs

Make sure you check with your electricity provider on how much amp service you need. If you’re replacing your old grain dryer, have the electric company come out and check your existing system to see if it’s acceptable.

Begin the search for your next grain dryer purchase at Fastline.com.



Tagged , , , ,

6 Things to Look at When Performing a Pre-Harvest Inspection on Your Combine


With harvest season quickly approaching, now would be the time to do a pre harvest inspection on your combine.  This would avoid any headaches such as lost time and money and the guess work on whether or not any parts even need to be replaced.  Now is the time to check if your combine has built up mud from wet weather or even dust in the air filters from dry weather conditions from previous harvests.  Here are 5 things to look at before harvest season starts.

1. Electronics

It’s probably a good idea to have a yearly inspection by an experienced technician that can check your electronics and any previous sensor fault code data to find any issues before harvest. This tends to be regular issue with machinery that’s been stored for a long period of time and can be especially damaging to electronic components, wiring and sensors. Also if you’ve been storing your equipment it’s important to check that rodents haven’t chewed through wires.

2. Fluids

Oil and fuel should be drained and replaced if your combine hasn’t been used in a while.  You need to make sure the engine coolant has enough life left to withstand engine temperatures in excellent range.  It’s also very important to check all bearings and gearboxes so that they are at their oil or grease capacity.

3. Chains, Belts, and Bearing

The loosening and failure of chain-driven components can have major impacts on the combine which makes this an important area to look at during the inspection so that chains are tight.  Look at bearing surfaces to make sure they are clean of dust and crop residue.  Also make sure belts are tight and inspect for any cracks in them.

4. Use Air, not water

High-pressure air is favored over water as a cleaning tool for combine components.  If you’re going to use high pressure water, be careful it doesn’t enter the interior surfaces because that could cause rust.

5. Threshing and Auger Components

The smallest damage in a concave can influence harvest performance and can cause yield loss. When looking at the threshing and separation area, pay attention to minor damage.  If you notice something dinged or banged up, it needs to be repaired.  Check the concave for excessive wear and replace as needed.  Also make sure the concaves are level and zero them to the rotor for a more exact setting/reading for concave clearance.

6. Fire Extinguisher

If there are dry crop conditions, this will up the awareness for maintenance and machinery fires. Make sure to have fire extinguishers serviced and on every piece of harvest equipment


Start the search for your next combine at Fastline.com.



Tagged , , , ,



Do you think of yourself at Tim “the tool man” Taylor from Home Improvement? Do you take pride in your equipment?  Do you like to fix it yourself when repairs are needed?    “I don’t think so Tim!”  Stop right there because those dreams are being crushed right before your “I don’t need to take it to a shop, I can fix this tractor myself” eyes.  A small advocacy group in Nebraska has published an op-ed promoting what is commonly known as “Right to Repair” legislation.  They are debating that Right to Repair will point to heightened competition and decreased prices for consumers.  This movement is questioning the ability of manufacturers to keep copyrighted software and other technical information and products in the hands of only an authorized dealer network. This means that if the owner’s equipment needs repairs an authorized dealer is where it needs to go instead of the owner being allowed to fix it. This legislation does little to protect the consumers and instead threatens both safety and environmental protections.

Farmers are now fighting back to regain control of their equipment. Currently New York, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Minnesota are participating in the Fair Repair legislation.  It’s a proposed legislation that would require the manufacturers of farming equipment to provide diagnostic, technical and service information to farmers and independent mechanics.

Right now manufacturers are using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to block farmers and heavy equipment owners from repairing their own machinery. How can you the farmer help?

Farmers can start by contacting whoever represents the legislature for that state. Tell them that you want the right to repair your equipment and support a bipartisan Fair Repair Bill.  Repair should be fair, affordable, and accessible.  It’s good for he consumers, the environment, and good for businesses.

Tagged , , ,