When the engine on his tractor started to heat up and went into emergency shutdown, San Joaquin County farmer David Strecker could see what the problem was: a $40 fan belt that took him less than an hour to replace. Still, he had to wait six hours for a technician to come out and get his tractor back up and running.
“It was a very simple problem,” he said. “But since the tractor had gone through an emergency shutdown, it had to be unlocked. Time is money, and downtime can make or break a season.”
As farm equipment becomes more high-tech and computerized, diagnosing and fixing even simple problems often requires farmers to rely on equipment dealers’ shops to do the work, resulting in longer downtimes and lost productivity.