Do I Have Too Much Money Tied Up in Farm Machinery? - FAQs
Do I have too much invested in farm machinery?
Although there is no right or wrong answer, producers should consider two components to the question. First, how much can I afford to spend, and second, how much do I need to maximize efficiency?
Machine costs are comprised of both fixed and variable costs. It is important to think about both of these when trying to calculate profitability. It is this profitability that determines just how much we can afford to pay. The calculation on affordability varies from farmer to farmer. Profitability is related to productivity, debt load, management ability, and sometimes luck. Completing a cost of production worksheet is a great way to determine your costs. The amount of profit left over will relate to how much you can afford to spend.
Efficiency of equipment can be calculated based on various criteria. Machine widths, operator efficiencies and horsepower requirements are all part of the decision process to determine what you need to maximize your equipment's efficiency. These calculations come from the engineering perspective of how much horsepower is needed to complete each operation in a timely fashion. Another method to determine how much is needed is a comparison to neighbours who farm similar acreage. It is often a good way to look at equipment sizing or needs.
A survey was conducted by Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food staff in February and March of 2004, led by Glenn Barclay (now of the North Battleford Regional Office), Richard Wharton (now of the Agriculture Knowledge Centre) and a team of Extension Agrologists. The surveys were conducted at a series of farm management meetings in six communities.
The results of these surveys were very interesting and may go a long way to answering "how do I compare to other producers?" Machine values were determined by farmers setting their own values. It was suggested at the meetings that the value should be set at a value they might expect at an auction sale of their equipment.
Brown Soil Zone - 40 farmers reported
Dark Brown Soil Zone - 31 farmers
Black Soil Zone - nine farmers
In these results, equipment used in livestock enterprises was not included.
How do I compare?
You can complete the following table to make your own comparisons to the above averages. By completing the form, you can compare your individual machine costs to the averages. These numbers may bring out some interesting observations. It also allows you to make some quick calculations on depreciation costs. The following table also allows you to allocate the equipment between your grain and your livestock operation. This allows you to do some enterprise analysis to see how much machinery you have devoted to either your grain or your livestock operation.
For more information on this survey or information about machinery investment, contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.
If you would like to participate in the survey, please complete the Farm Equipment (pdf) form. Fax the completed form to 306-787-0410, or mail to Joe Novak, Agriculture and Food, 515 Henderson Drive, Regina, SK, S4P-3V7 and we will update the numbers to reflect the whole province.
If you would like to participate in the survey, please complete the Farm Equipment (pdf) form. By completing the form, you can compare your individual machine costs to the averages.