With all but two professional football teams in hibernation until next fall, the vast majority of players have a few months to recover from the rigors of another NFL season.
No such luck for many precision farming dealers coming off the hustle of harvest and heading into 2013.
During a recent visit to a dealership in Iowa, I asked their precision sales manager how much of an off-season he and his staff get between harvest and planting.
“Not nearly as much as I used to,” he told me. “But that’s not a bad thing, if you can handle it.”
In talking with several precision dealers between the end of harvest and mid-January, many say they haven’t had a break.
None of them expect things to slow down anytime soon, either.
But the precision sales manager I met with in Iowa told me that he is getting to the point where he may have to suspend sales of new hardware to ensure that his technicians will have enough time to install and service what is already sold.
While an overabundance of sales is a problem most dealers would welcome, the inability to support what goes out the door certainly isn’t.
A recent survey of farmers on their 2013 equipment purchasing plans conducted by Precision Farming Dealer sister publication No-Till Farmer reinforced the notion that precision products are a high priority for growers this year.
Of the 12 different equipment categories listed on the survey, GPS/precision tools ranked first with 30% of the 236 respondents saying they plan to spend money on technology.
Here are the results of the monthly survey:
What equipment purchases will you make ahead of the 2013 production season?
GPS/Precision Tools 30%
Row-Unit Attachments 25%
No-Till Planter 16%
Fertilizer Toolbar 11%
Sprayer (Self-Propelled) 10%
Strip-Till Rig 9%
Tillage Tool 7%
No-Till Air Seeder 6%
No-Till Drill 5%
Sprayer (Pull Type) 5%
The spending outlook bodes well for precision dealers who continue to see rapid growth.
But for some, like the precision sales manager in Iowa, there is a tipping point where sacrificing service and support, won’t be worth the price of another sale.
As he puts it, it doesn’t matter how much hardware he sells if there isn’t the staff to make sure it works and answer questions from customers if it doesn’t.