I was talking to a farmer friend earlier this week and we were commenting on all the new, shiny equipment we've been seeing moving up and down the roads lately. With cash grain prices at record highs, a lot of farmers with grain in their portfolio have taken the opportunity to update and in some cases upgrade their equipment. When I asked him when he expected to be upgrading his ancient fleet and associated implements of husbandry so he could start doing things right he laughed out loud. His comment was that he'd been doing it wrong for so long that he wasn't sure he'd know how to get anything done if he had to do it the right way with the proper tools and equipment for the job.
I understand his thought completely. At this point, a new tractor, at least to me, is one who's vintage is later than mine. More than once I've overheard people say,"He sure has made a nice farm out of that. And he sure must like antique farm equipment." Well, no not so much actually. But at least in part, running old, depreciated stuff is what has allowed us to go out and "make nice farms". Maybe in my next life I'll get to run new equipment. I sure hope so, but if not I'll have lots of practice from this life at fixing old stuff.
Running old equipment comes with a price, and that price is unanticipated break downs. There is literally always something waiting in the wings. To be fair, some of what's waiting could happen with a new tractor. About a week after replacing the starter on our aging Kubota loader tractor I had a flat tire. The tire was starting to wear pretty badly but it still had considerable life in it, so I elected to put a tube in it rather than replace the tire with a new one. At some point between reinstalling the tire and today, one of the wheel lugs (not the nut, the entire lug) snapped off and fell out. When this happens it throws the entire wheel out of balance and the lug nuts loosen themselves off over time. Often the first clue that something is amiss is when the tire falls off completely because all the lug nuts are gone. Fortunately I caught it during the wobbly phase, so it ought to be a quick fix in the morning. Next in line tomorrow afternoon is replacing a gearbox bearing on one of the rotary cutters.
6 days ago