Equipment breakdowns are part of any farming operation.
And when they happen, a call to the dealer for parts can usually get the machinery moving again in a timely manner.
But producers are finding parts harder to come by this year.
Jim Puffer, a dairy and beef farmer from Northumberland County, for example, ran into an issue with his 2014 New Holland BR7060 baler earlier in the month.
“On September 4, we got a big stick stuck into it and broke the camshaft” he told Farms.com. “I started taking it apart the next day and found the shaft bent one of the ends where the teeth on the pickup runs.”
On Sept. 6, Puffer phoned the dealership and provided the part number to see when he could get one.
“The part I need is about $1,200 and I was told the part is unavailable,” he said. “The same part fits Case balers, so I called Case and they don’t have it either. We’re still waiting, and we don’t know when the part is going to come.”
Puffer still has about 125 acres of hay to bale.
It’s a frustrating situation because he’s had to resort to using a baler he hasn’t used in about 10 years.
The Gehl 1470 round baler still works, but it’s not as efficient as his New Holland.
“I worked hard for two days with the Gehl baler and it didn’t do nearly as much as the new one would’ve,” he said. “I wish I had an idea of when the part was going to come because the longer the hay sits in the field, I risk losing quality for my cows.”
Puffer wasn’t the only farmer to run into parts issues.
Gary Martin, a cash crop producer from Lambton County, also waited a long time for repairs.
He brought some his equipment in early to ensure the machinery would be in good working order for the season.
“The equipment sat there for about a month and the mechanic kept telling me he couldn’t get parts,” Martin told Farms.com. “He had to order them from Germany or something and they were just sitting in a warehouse and couldn’t get shipped. It happened three times this year.”
He brought his combine in for repairs after he finished soybean planting. The thought was he’d have the combine back in time for wheat harvest.
That didn’t happen because of the parts backlog. Luckily for Martin, a neighbour volunteered to help.
“He was finishing his harvest and asked if I wanted him to do mine,” he said. “We saw the weather as was good, and you’ve got to work with the weather, so he harvested my wheat.”
Martin has since got his combine back and is crossing his fingers he doesn’t run into any issues during soybean harvest.
“I never did use it for wheat so it should be ready to go,” he said. “Let’s hope nothing happens because I couldn’t afford to wait a long time for parts and repairs again.”