Tillage Equipment Market - Farmers' Needs and Expectation
The needs and expectations of tillage equipment for farmers include technological improvements that provide all-in-one-solutions, trade-war-resistant equipment, and more repair options.
TILLAGE EQUIPMENT: NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS
IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY PROVIDING ALL-IN-ONE SOLUTIONS
- Farmers expect that tillage equipment will incorporate the necessary technology to provide multiple solutions in a single platform, which would reduce costs. Combined with their growing needs, farmers now expect the availability of advanced tillage equipment that is capable of variable-rate seeding (i.e., precision technology), RTK-level correction, real-time data collection and reporting (e.g., field scouting and soil sampling), and GPS systems. Another expectation of tillage equipment is that it be able to handle variable site conditions (e.g., sites with cold, wet weather).
- Most importantly, farmers expect that tillage equipment will reduce costs.
MORE AFFORDABLE EQUIPMENT
- Retail unit sales of 2WD and 4WD farm tractors increased between 2017 and 2018. There was a similar increase between 2018 and 2019. However, there has been a steady decline in those same sales from Q2 to mid-Q3 2019.
- Analysts attribute this decrease as the result of increases in tillage equipment prices arising from the current trade war between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China. In practical terms, farmers have seen a reduction in earnings and are increasingly unable to purchase needed tillage equipment. Farmers require new equipment at reduced costs but are unlikely to see it soon.
MORE AFFORDABLE REPAIR OPTIONS
- Farmers have little to no choice regarding tillage equipment repairs due to manufacturer monopolies. Manufacturers like Deere & Company produce equipment that requires diagnostic testing from specially trained technicians. These technicians can have hourly service rates in the hundreds of dollars.
- To cement their monopoly over repair services, manufacturers have used copyright laws to eliminate independent mechanics and local repair shops. Farmers require alternative repair options, and they expect that the current debate (led by organizations like the National Farmers Union) over their right-to-repair will move in their favor.
NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS NOT BEING MET
- Farmers need technologically-advanced tillage equipment capable of providing complete solutions (e.g., real-time field scouting, sensors, and soil sampling). While farmers currently have access to software tools that can cover these areas, they are becoming more interested in all-in-one solutions. Ultimately, farmers are more interested in tillage equipment that helps them make immediate bottom-line decisions.
- Farmers are also interested in tillage equipment that can establish cover crops. Some manufacturers (e.g., Gandy, Hagie, and Montag) have started to work directly with farmers to provide customized tillage equipment that caters to the farmers' specific needs.
We began our investigation with an inquiry into industry and market reports. This approach yielded the majority of the requested information. While we also sought the specifications of tillage equipment, most of the information discovered in our inquiry was concerned with issues related to tillage equipment. More detailed information outside the subject of the technological advancement of tillage equipment appears to be limited.