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Look beyond the sticker price for true value



Posted by Marlo Dutton, 27th October 2013

Over the past few years the TMA has fielded countless phone calls from unsuspecting tractor buyers that have purchased a tractor that is not up to standard, or they are unable to obtain parts for them. This has become a common problem, particularly in the lifestyle and hobby farmer market as buyers have gone for what seems like a cheap tractor, only to be disappointed and let down after the sale. There is a reason that the big tractors brands value and guard their brands so closely – these brands have been built over many years and have come to represent machinery that is not only sold by reputable suppliers, but moreover supported with parts and service. Contrary to popular belief, there is no single Australian standard that a tractor must be built or sold to – sure there are standards for components of the tractor such as ROPS and PTO guards, however there is no organisation in this country policing the quality or standard of machinery being built or imported into Australia.

With this in mind, buyers must do their homework before purchasing machinery – make sure the machine is a recognised brand that will have parts and support available throughout the time period you plan to own it. I can think of a couple of brands that have been marketed in Australia at field days and on the internet over the past few years, that now have no importer and therefore the owners of these tractors cannot get parts for them. Buyers need to think about the end of the ownership period – if there are no parts available and the tractor is no longer imported into Australia, who is going to buy it off you when you want to dispose of the machine? Dealers are not compelled to take a trade, and therefore will do their homework on brands they don’t know – if they can’t see a second hand market for it they won’t trade it.

Sadly it is generally the uninformed buyer that plunges into a purchase of a machine that appears cheap – and sadly it is the value behind the cheap sticker price that will come back to bite them in the end. Make no mistake, there are plenty of very reputable tractor and machinery products on the market made in emerging countries that are of a standard and quality that is excellent, however as my Dad used to say “if its too good to be true then it usually isn’t”.

On a brighter note, the machinery market seems to be standing up well in the tough market of today with only a small dip in sales from our record year last year. Of highest concern at dealers around the country is the amount of used machinery in the yards, however a good season in most of the country is lining up to sell many of these trades and free the dealers up to be able to take trades and chase your business. We are anticipating a string hay and silage season due to very poor levels of supply and high demand. The season is panning out well in most areas and although we have a while to go, fingers are crossed to a strong finish and decent yields as commodity prices hold in most sectors around Australia.