Rob R. wrote:
You know the slogan..."Nothing runs like a Deere". The only reason more people don't run green equipment is the price tag.
There are a few more reasons then that...
1). John Deere has plenty of power, and can get it to the ground reasonably well, but they do not do so efficiently! You are going to burn through a lot of fuel getting anything done with a John Deere, while the equivalent New Holland tractor really sips fuel, but they tend to be lighter and struggle with traction. Neither is better or worse then the other, it just takes due diligence to select the right implements so that your drawbar pull is right and you are not getting undue wheel slip. In short, you are better of to match a John Deere up with a wider disc harrow lets say, and put that added traction to good use by making a wider swath through the field, because if you are doing so with the same size disc that is ideal for the New Holland, you are going to spend more on fuel to get the same amount of work done. This is NOT about equipment preference, it is about where each manufacturer excels and has challenges and how it relates to modern, efficient farming.
Case in point: our silage chopper, a 450 hp machine that sports a 1/2 million dollar price tag. John Deere's version is a 4wd assist, meaning the rear tires are assisted by hydraulic motors...just enough to keep the wheel from trigging in deep mud. New Holland on the other hand is a true 4 x 4 model that has axles and drive shafts going to the rear wheels. We often pull trucks through the mud so we want real 4 wheel drive and not 4 wheel assist. FOR OUR NEEDS, it is a better machine, but for someone who uses tractors to move the chopped silage the John Deere may be the better machine.
2). You really need the right dealer. Around here, we have one dealer who has many locations which means traveling hours away if we want John Deere parts and do not want to deal with them. They are not very friendly and tend to prefer the smaller, 3-5 acre homesteaders then they do the bigger dairy farms and larger potato farms and really struggle with friendly service. We do have John Deere tractors...many of them...but the dealer relationship is so poor that we just go elsewhere for our tractors.
3). To be competitive in farming, you need to be competitive in your business dealings, and we have seen more than one farmer pay rather high prices because they love Green or love Blue. When we are laying down 1/4 to 1/2 million dollars on a tractor, we like to see what deals we will get. That only works if the dealers do not know which tractor you prefer. If you only have Blue in your equipment shed, the New Holland Dealer knows he does not have to be too price competitive, and the same if you only buy green, but when you have a little of both, you get some great prices.
4). You got to have creative financing. We are dairy farmers so we have really good cash flow as our milk check comes every other week, but we also have a lot of things to spend money on, so we often are savings account poor but always have money to make the payments...it is the down payment that kills us. We buy a lot of equipment from a tractor company that is 5 hours away...simply because he is creative with their financing. They do some shady paper tricks to make us look good as far as our trade ins are concerned and gets the banks to finance such large purchases, things other dealers will not do. Since they are a New Holland Dealer, they have a network across the country to get us the right equipment we need. It is not necessarily better equipment, but since our John Deere dealer does not get so creative, they don't get the sale. As a side note, it is more then just down payments; we have put them to the test, stating what interest rates we are going to pay and see if they can do it. They have surprised us more than once which is why we have been getting New Hollands lately.
In conclusion; yes there are times when John Deere makes the better machine, and their are times when it does not; however...to say the only reason people do not buy John Deere's is due to their price is just silly. You have to have a dealership that is willing to be creative to make the sale; to know enough about the farm to know how we operate and to get financing that matches us; we also need parts and a desire to get them...fast, New England weather is fickle after all. We also need to pull the implements we already have efficiently without spending lots of money on fuel to do it, and we need dealers to know that we are not brand loyal; we need the right tractor, at the right price, with the terms of credit we can live with, at reasonable interest rates because it all goes back to the $1.38 we make on a gallon of milk.