Reader: Deere has farmers at its mercy

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FSR Deere head on

Dear Editor:

The late Miss Jenkins used to write a column titled “On My Mind.” I have several things on my mind. First, recently there was an article explaining John Deere had a complaint filed against it by a number of farm groups for keeping owners and private shops from repairing their high-tech equipment. Good to see this action. 

Automobiles and trucks have had high-tech electronics since the early ’80s. The aftermarket, as we call it, has always been able to provide scan tools to allow non-dealer repair of cars and trucks. Why should ag equipment be any different? 

I run a repair shop and I farm. Recently I had to take a fairly new John Deere 6044 to a local dealer because it would not crank or start. Our shop had no scan tool to diagnose the problem. After two weeks at the dealer, we were told the instrument cluster had failed and it would cost $1,500 to repair. We asked if the cluster could be rebuilt. The answer was no. 

We had this problem before with clusters on New Holland equipment. There is a company in Canada that does this kind of work. We contacted the Canadian company. Their answer was we haven’t done any Deere clusters, but we will give it a try. Repair would be a fraction of what Deere charged, but we had no way to program the repaired cluster.

Bottom line, we are at Deere’s mercy and they would like to keep it that way. 

Second — herbicide and fertilizer have doubled. Perhaps we should use half as much fertilizer. We might see half as much crop, which might double the value of our crops. Perhaps the fertilizer companies would get the message. It will be hard to use half as much fuel and herbicide. However, if all farmers stuck together, we could pay half as much rent. Some things to think about.

Kim Edwards
Sunbury, Ohio

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