In the lead up to the Western Australian harvest, farm machinery dealerships pre-planned to try to overcome anticipated supply chain delays. Their efforts appear to have paid off in that farmer-customers reported a record 20-million-plus tonne harvest, reports Mal Gill at Farm Weekly.

Are there lessons in Australia’s actions that could help North American farm equipment dealers? Probably.

The rush to overcome unexpected delays and ready new machines for delivery, as well as the earlier pre-planning for parts supplies and larger stock inventories, resulted in less-than-expected mechanical breakdowns during harvest, reported Western Australia’s biggest farm machinery dealership with 19 branches, AFGRI Equipment.

Said Group Service Manager Charles van Loggerenberg, "There were a couple of instances where we had to make a more specialized plan to source a replacement part, but across the board, we made sure parts were sourced with as little delay as possible. Being a bigger company works to our advantage because if one branch was seeking a part it did not have, it could come from another branch.

"We expected worse," he said of breakdown hold ups.

Van Loggerenberg said ensuring farmers were well aware of supply chain issues also helped, as did the decision to allow AFGRI branches to sock more comprehensive parts inventories.

With harvest drawing to a close, van Loggerenberg is now urging farmers to book maintenance appointments.

"Then it will be one less thing they have to worry about, peace of mind that your harvester is ready to go for next season," he said. "If the machine is parked up in the shed until later in the year, then there is a risk that knocking noise will be forgotten. Also, if there is a delay in getting parts, it takes the pressure off now, but it might be a problem in September."

Farm Machinery & Industry Association of Western Australia Executive Officer John Henchy said he had not heard of any "negative feedback" on how farm machinery dealers had handled servicing and repairs during the record harvest.

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