AUSTRALIAN farmers are also putting up a fight for fair and equal access to service and repair information.
Due to the distances involved, Australian farmers often find themselves facing considerable and costly downtime while they wait for technicians to arrive, only for a problem to take just moments to fix with a software update.
Speaking to ABC News, grain farmer Paul Green said: “It’s not like in America where there’s a dealer around the corner who can get on with their computer and sort the issue out for you.”
The increasing use of electronic controls and embedded software forces machinery owners to rely on company support.
For example, suppliers such as John Deere won’t supply the required repair information or tools to independent business or consumers, claiming that permitting owner servicing or modification could pose both safety and environmental issues.
Sound familiar? What’s more, given the distances involved, even a callout fee can cost $1000 when a technician has to make a three- or four-hour round-trip.
But another farmer interviewed by ABC News, Colin Penny, said the callout fees pale in comparison with the loss of productivity a breakdown causes.
“During a seeding and harvest operation it’s all go and any downtime can cost you,” he said.