What impact, positive or negative, will the projected softening of the farm equipment market have on precision farming business at your dealership?
“Thus far, we are about 25% behind where we were last year at about this time. We still have lots of interest in precision and I think we are still early in the season yet where we are located.
“It is interesting that 75% of our business this year, so far, is customers new to precision farming. Some of our customers are still looking at wholegoods purchases to have guidance equipment installed, and have not purchased it yet. We may be a little lower than last year, but things are still happening.
“Even with a downturn in the market it’s going to happen. Business can turn and go back up also. With the value that precision products bring to the customer, I don't see how a farmer cannot look at the benefits of what we can do for them.
“If the customer is looking at price only, they fail to see the benefit of the product they are looking at. That is the fun part about what I do. We have to show them the value in what we can do for them and show them how we try our best to support their purchase.
“When I look back at 2010 and 2011, we have already sold more products this year so far than we did each of those years.”
— Jonathan Hofstetter,
Lowe & Young Inc.,
“With our business structure, we sell guidance quite readily in conjunction with iron. However, putting iron sales aside, we have a robust sales history with guidance and other GPS related products on their own.
“Should there be a downturn in overall wholegoods sales, I forecast it would open a window for us with GPS and precision products sales to assist the customer in updating the equipment that they do have, whatever color that may be.
“We can move forward offering our customers solutions even if the tractors aren’t flying off the lot like they used to.”
— David Shaw,
Binkley & Hurst LP,
“I foresee that we may see experience an increase in precision farming sales at our dealership, simply because we are in the heart of dairy country and milk prices are great now. Depending on how long our customers are seeing the $25 milk prices will tell us for sure. One thing we can show to those customers is that precision equipment can decrease inputs and is a significantly cheaper investment than a new tractor.
“Dairy farmers all want to lower their input costs and can be real skittish about that $4,000 monthly (Case IH) Steiger payment.”
— Kevin Van De Weert,
Salem Farm Supply,