Over 53 million acres of wheat were planted in the United States for the 2010/2011 growing season, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In order to harvest those acres, farmers often hire custom harvesters – men and women who own their own combines and are paid to harvest the crops of others.
While wheat is not the only crop harvesters encounter, it makes up the majority of custom acres. Custom harvesters follow the wheat northward as the crops ripen, often starting in Texas in May, ending in Montana, North Dakota or Canada in August to September, and making several stops between.
Custom harvesting operations include combines, grain trucks and, sometimes, tractors pulling grain carts. Operations vary in size with some consisting of only a single combine and others with 20 or more combines.
These combines see hundreds of hours and thousands of acres throughout the season. While machines are serviced daily by the crews, combines of every brand experience breakdowns due to the conditions experienced on harvest.
“Although we have superior products, every piece has a limit, especially in the tough conditions our machines operate in,” said Todd Davis, AGCO Parts Tech Van supervisor. “Custom harvesters push their combines to that limit every day to achieve maximum productivity, efficiency and profit.”
That is where the AGCO Parts Tech Vans step in to help. With two mobile trailers, the tech van crews follow the harvest, providing parts and repair services to the operators of Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger combines.
“During harvest, we provide in-the-field service that is comparable to no other manufacturers in the industry,” Davis said.
By having the tech van near the action, harvesters are able to reduce time and money lost due to breakdowns.
“Harvesters call us as the problem occurs, and we get out there as soon as we can,” Davis said. “We have four service trucks that are dispatched from the tech van trailer to assist custom harvesters with problems they cannot repair themselves.”
The AGCO Parts Tech Van arrived Sunday, July 24, 2011 at Butler Machinery Company in Pierre, SD and the crew continues to follow the wheat harvest northward. The second tech van is scheduled to move to Billings, MT on Saturday, July 30, 2011. The Tech Van is open from 7 a.m. US CST to 7 p.m. US CST every day of the week.
Has the AGCO Parts Tech Van ever assisted you with your machinery? Tell us your story on our Facebook page or follow @AGCOcorp on Twitter. For more information about the tech van, visit AGCOparts.com or ask your local dealer.