Farm Implements and Equipment That Will Last a Lifetime

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Farm Implements and Equipment That Will Last a Lifetime

As a business, farms can last a very long time, with some staying in the same family for decades if not centuries. The very nature of agriculture supports the establishment of a long-term view when managing a farm, and this is nowhere more important than when considering the financial aspects of the industry. Many pieces of farm equipment are expensive, and the best way to deal with those costs is by buying items that last for years, if not for a lifetime. The longer any implement or piece of equipment lasts, the easier it is to amortise its cost. Money spent on an implement that has to be replaced in short order is not much different than money that is completely wasted. The key to getting the right implements for a lifetime's use is knowledge. Knowing which pieces of equipment to buy and how to take care of them is essential to making sure that they last. Without knowledge, a person is as likely to damage equipment as maintain it.

History of Farming

Farming, and farm implements, have been a part of civilisation for millennia, with the first agricultural settlements likely being in and around Catal Hüyük some 10 000 years ago. The first farmers relied on simple tools and implements such as sharpened sticks, but over the centuries there was a steady advance in the kinds of tools and equipment used. The first piece of what would be considered farming equipment was a Roman reaping machine mentioned in Pliny around the year 50 AD. Drawings of this device still exist, and modern recreations proved perfectly functional.

However, most of the major developments in farming date to the Agricultural Revolution which began in Britain in the 18th century. From this point on, new techniques and technologies spread rapidly, and farming output skyrocketed.

Basic Principles of Farming

At base, farming can be broken down into three steps: Preparing the ground for planting, planting, and harvesting. All three of these steps can benefit greatly from the use of the proper implements and equipment. Ploughing, harrowing, sowing, reaping; they have all benefited from improvements in farming equipment over the centuries. Still, even though an ancient farmer from Catal Hüyük might not recognise much of what their modern equivalent uses, show them the results and they would understand exactly what these devices have done. The basic tasks of the farmer have not changed in millennia, only the tools that are used.

What to Look for in Implements and Equipment

The most important asset for anyone looking to buy implements and equipment with the intention of making them last a lifetime is knowledge. This means that farmers should learn everything they can about the equipment and implements they are looking at before making a purchase. They need to know how easy the equipment is to maintain and repair, the cost and availability of parts. If the equipment is prone to breakdowns, they need to know what causes these issues, and how to avoid them. Knowledge is vital. Many may think buying new means that the product lasts longer, but buying a highly reliable piece of second-hand equipment may be a better choice than a brand-new but untested piece of equipment, or worse, one with a known design flaw.

Quality over Features

One thing to consider when looking at new equipment is the importance of build quality for reliability. The better quality a piece of equipment, the higher the likelihood of long-term reliability. In many cases, budget manufacturers may provide more features at a given price point at the expense of service life. Many of those features, while nice to have, may not be worth the extra expense involved in replacing the equipment when it reaches the end of its design life.

Do Not Buy the Latest and Greatest

One of the biggest traps that farmers looking for new equipment can fall into is looking for the latest and greatest implements and equipment. This approach is often a mistake for those looking for something that endures a long time. Different implements and pieces of equipment each have their own degrees of reliability. The problem with buying the very latest equipment is that it becomes that much harder to determine the reliability of the design. This does not mean that buying new is a bad idea, far from it, but buying an unproven design makes it that much harder to know before the fact how long a piece of equipment is bound to last.

Implements and Equipment Every Farmer Should Have

There are some pieces of farm equipment, and some implements, that are fairly specialised, and only needed by a small group of farmers. There are others that are needed by anyone who tills the soil, and these are the ones for which long life is most important. While every farmer should have implements such as rakes, spades, sickles, shovels, and hoes, the truth of the matter is that these implements are both inexpensive and long-lasting. Many of them last for decades and most farmers have a collection of such tools that are likely to last a lifetime or more. Even if they do require replacement at some point, the cost involved would be minimal.

The Tractor

Probably the most important piece of equipment for the majority of farmers is the tractor. In many ways it can be considered the mechanical equivalent of the horse, doing almost anything a horse does, but requiring far less care and able to continue the work for much greater periods of time. The keys to buying a tractor to last a lifetime are mechanical reliability and ease of maintenance. All tractors eventually break down, but the more reliable ones break down less frequently, and those designed for easier maintenance can be back in use more quickly. This is why it is so important for every buyer to research purchases before buying.

Tractor Attachments

The vast majority of modern farm implements are designed to be pulled behind a tractor. This allows them to be less expensive and easier to maintain than if they had their own source of motive power. This is why they make up such a big part of the modern farmer's tool kit.

The following table shows the kind of attachments needed to run a modern farm:

Attachment

Purpose

Plough

Breaks and turns over ground before planting

Harrow

Prepares ground for planting

Drill

Deposits seed in the ground

Spreader

Spreads fertiliser evenly over crops

Harvester

Harvests crops, primarily grains

Mower

Cuts down areas of grass or fields

Almost all farmers have uses for most, if not all of these attachments. The longer they last, the better the farm's economic position, as money is not required to replace equipment and implements that could otherwise be maintained.

Buying Farm Implements and Equipment on eBay

One of the best places to buy long-lasting farm implements and equipment is eBay. Not only can you find the equipment you need easily and quickly, you can also find everything you require for the regular maintenance that ensures the life of your purchases. All you need to do is put your terms in the search box, there is one on every page, and watch the results cover your screen. Then, once you have your search results in front of you, you can use the filters in the sidebar to narrow the results down to just those that fit your needs. You can limit by location, price range, new or used, even by make. Then, once you have your results pared down, you can use the sort filter to arrange them so those that best fit your needs are at the top of the list, whether sorted by price, distance, or best match.

Once you have narrowed down your list to those that meet your requirements, the next step is to find which of eBay's many sellers fit your needs. The best place to start with that is at the seller's profile page, where you can see everything from their feedback to location. You can also check if they offer bundling services to save on shipping, or whether local buyers can ignore shipping completely by picking up their implements in person. This can be particularly important when dealing with farm implements and equipment as they can be extremely heavy.

Conclusion

Getting farm implements and equipment to last a lifetime relies on two main factors, choosing the right implements, and taking care of those one has. The first step in choosing the right equipment, or implements, lies in knowing how to recognise them. This involves research, learning which models are the most reliable, and which ones are the least reliable. It means choosing ruggedness over additional features. It also means buying those implements and equipment that are designed for easy maintenance, as anything with moving parts eventually requires repairs and maintenance. The trick is making sure that whatever piece of equipment a given farmer has, they know how to treat it in order to ensure the maximum useful life. Having the right implements and equipment, and knowing how to make them last a lifetime provides a long term economic benefit that makes keeping a farm in operation for the rest of the farmer's lifetime that much easier.

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