When your old equipment isn’t doing the same job it used to it might be time to upgrade. New machinery is shiny and new and easy to operate – which makes buying a very appealing option – but shiny and new will cost you. Your other option is to stick with your current machine and give it a boost with mechanical revamps or new attachments. Each situation is different, and both have their benefits.
What is the typical life cycle of machinery?
On average, the typical life cycle of common types of farm machinery are as follows:
Ag loader – with average normal farm use, it will need replacing after approximately 4000 – 5000 hours of use.
Telehandler – replace after 3000 – 5000 hours if it’s a key part of your operation and required on a daily basis.
Wheel loader – will need replacing after 5000 – 7000hrs if it’s a regularly used machine in daily operations.
What are your options with ageing machinery?
When your machinery starts coming to the end of its life cycle you have a couple of different options:
- Purchase a new machine
If you’re not sure whether or not you need a machine there are some tell-tale signs that your current equipment is on the way out. It might require more regular upkeep and start costing you more in maintenance, increased consumption of fuel and oil and/or the hydraulics will start to leak and creep, showing signs of seal wear.
A new machine entails the costs of replacement like depreciation and monthly finance repayments, but the upside of buying new can offset that for some people. New machines have a warranty period, less chance of breaking down and newer technology means they have better fuel efficiency, faster hydraulics and better performance.
- Stick with your existing machine
If you are keen to keep your existing machine there are a number of ways you can revamp it to give it a new lease on life. This can include the addition of a new or reconditioned motor, new hydraulic cylinders, a reconditioned cabin and new or reconditioned attachments. Adding new tyres and a fresh paint job can also make an older machine look and act like new again.
New attachments are a cost-effective way to get the most out of your current machine, and they can even enable machines to perform tasks that they weren’t capable of before. This could be any number of functions, and the addition of attachments can transform an old redundant machine into a capable new workhorse with a variety of new skills.
Another great option for older equipment is to “pension it off” from the more rugged applications, and use a new attachment or hitch to transition it to light duties. This means that you don’t have to fully retire your machine, and can – for example – fit a sweeper or a pallet fork via a quick hitch in order to get many extra hours of work out of your tractor or wheel loader.
That’s great news for anyone staring down the barrel of costly equipment upgrades. If you aren’t quite ready to invest in new machinery there are several other less-costly options that will extend the life of your existing equipment or repurpose it for other tasks.