Steel shortage taking a toll on farmers, dealerships
A steel shortage resulting from supply chain issues and high demand is having impact on more than simply construction.
It’s affecting life on the farm. Farmers are finding it harder to replace implements or get needed repairs.
Prairieland Partners in Marion has to order equipment further in advance, and farmers who typically replace equipment every year are looking at delays of several months before their new equipment can arrive, store manager Chris Matthews said.
“It’s really making us look quite a bit further into the future than we used to,” he said.
Goods such as tractors and combines can take 8 to 13 months, Matthews said.
Prairieland and its customers often discuss trades instead of new equipment.
“It’s really changed the business,” Matthews said.
Some items, such as cameras, are not being installed by the manufacturer.
Dealers sometimes are told they can order such parts and install them in the equipment.
Backordered parts are starting to arrive in more timely fashion, he said.
Nevertheless, the business has more items on backorder than it did in the past.
Some customers are frustrated with the delays, Matthews said.
“We’re at the point that John Deere is putting equipment on allocation,” he said.
A dealership can order only a set amount of equipment per month.
It helps that Prairieland Partners is a network of dealerships, but that doesn’t resolve all the delays, he said.
“We’re all in the same boat right now,” Matthews said. “It’s a whole lot of uncharted waters, for sure.”
Purdue University recently surveyed producers and found that nearly half said insufficient supplies had impeded equipment purchases.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers recommends forecasting machinery replacement early and ordering at least a year in advance.
The association also recommends planning for parts replacement — and selling idle equipment while prices are high.