Machinery costs and farm size

Inside Dakota Ag

Is that $6K, $60K or $600K? Machinery prices are hard to believe. No wonder farms keep getting bigger.

Published on: September 3, 2010

Just got back from the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

All the new equipment and technology on display was mind-blowing.

But so were the prices. As I worked my sector of the show, gathering new product information for features that we’ll run in the Dakota Farmer and its sister publications later this year, I kept writing down the “K” figure -- $180K for $180,000, for example.

More than once I had to ask if I heard the price correctly -- was it 6K or $60K, $25K or $250K? I don't think my ears believed what my eyes were seeing.

The next time someone complains that government programs are to blame for farms getting bigger, I’ll have to point out that the cost of equipment is a factor, too. I’m not blaming manufacturing equipment companies, mind you. They have labor, medical, retirement and material costs to cover, too.

It just takes a lot of acres to pay for machinery today. I bet rising machinery costs have been even more of a factor in increasing farm size than government programs.