John Deere makes it difficult to repair its new tractors without specialized software, so an increasing number of farmers are buying older models.
By Matthew Gault
When a brand new John Deere tractors breaks down, you need a computer to fix it. When a John Deere tractor manufactured in 1979 breaks down, you can repair it yourself or buy another old John Deere tractor. Farming equipment—like televisions, cars, and even toothbrushes—now often comes saddled with a computer. That computer often comes with digital rights management software that can make simple repairs an expensive pain in the ass. As reported by the Minnesota StarTribune, Farmers have figured out a way around the problem—buying tractors manufactured 40 years ago, before the computers took over.
“There’s an affinity factor if you grew up around these tractors, but it goes way beyond that,” Greg Peterson, founder of the farm equipment data company Machinery Pete told StarTribune. “These things, they’re basically bulletproof. You can put 15,000 hours on it and if something breaks you can just replace it.”
(click here to continue reading Farmers Are Buying 40-Year-Old Tractors Because They’re Actually Repairable – VICE.)
Interesting, and I understand exactly the impulse. I am still using older version of Adobe’s Photoshop suite because the newer version requires an annual license. Meaning I wouldn’t really own the software, and Adobe’s lawyers could change the terms on a whim, and I wouldn’t be able to open my 30 years worth of Photoshop images (theoretically, there would most likely be a work around, but still).
Farmers want to be able to tinker with equipment that they feel like is theirs, and they should have the right to repair their own tools.
Hmm, there is an old Ford tractor sitting in the workshop in Frostpocket, manufactured sometime in the 1930s if my memory is correct. It would need to be repaired before use, but last I saw it, the body was still solid. There is not even the whiff of specialized software installed on it either. Wonder if it is sellable? Per the Vice article, the Frostpocket tractor might be a little old to be useful, but people use vintage typewrites, why not vintage tractors?
The tractors manufactured in the late 1970s and 1980s look and run like modern tractors, but lack the computer components that drive up costs and make repair a nightmare.