Technology a must: dealer

Claire TyrrellCountryman

As the profit margins of farmers become thinner, technology has become essential for staying in the game.

This is the belief of Waltons Geraldton branch manager Terry Macanas who has worked as a machinery dealer for 20 years and has in recent years seen a huge increase in the use of satellite technology.

“WA farmers are renowned for embracing technology — more than 70 per cent of broadacre farmers have adopted some form of electronic guidance, ” he said.

“You really can’t farm successfully without it.”

Waltons has sold more than $1.5 million worth of auto-steer equipment in the Mid West in the past two years.

Mid West machinery dealers have sold about $3 million of auto-steer equipment since 2009.

Mr Macanas said sales in 2010 dropped from the previous year because of the dry season.

Farm confidence and low machinery stocks in the eastern states carried many WA dealers in 2010.

“With seasons going well in other areas of Australia, second-hand sales to the east coast have been the lifeblood of WA dealers, ” Mr Macanas said.

Waltons has had no trouble offloading most of its used equipment in the sale yards to growers in the eastern states.

Mr Macanas said sales this year were already strong, with a high Australian dollar keeping farm confidence high.

“There was plenty of new stock that is now sold, ” he said.

“The strong Aussie dollar will cause order banks for new big equipment pushing out to post seeding delivery on some lines.

“Harvesters for next year are already pushing out to August delivery.”

Mr Macanas said recent summer rains lifted growers’ hopes for next year.

He said the high uptake of satellite technology led to a good quality stockpile of used equipment in his yard.

“The price of this technology should always be weighed against the return for the cost input, but most farmers have found that adoption of technology has been profitable for them.

“All this leaves the dealer yards stocked with low-hour late model trades that are excellent value in the current market.”

He said reasonable commodity prices into 2011 would also help buoy sales.

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