CENTRAL TEXAS — We're all familiar with having trouble getting our hands on certain items thanks to the pandemic. No one needs to be reminded of the toilet paper fiasco.
However, there's one shortage that you may not be aware of and it's put farm equipment suppliers in a bind.
"It's more of a componentry standpoint," said Regional Sales Manager of Wylie Spray Center Chad Kolar. "Parts, pieces that we utilize to either repair, maintain, or build new equipment."
As a Case IH dealer, Kolar makes sure his operation gets farmers the parts and equipment they need. He says over the past year, that hasn't been easy.
"Say a Case spray machine where we had a wheel motor or something go down that we did not have in stock, we could pretty much guarantee we'd be able to have it by tomorrow morning. That has all changed," said Kolar.
According to Kolar, items that previously could be at their doorstep within 24 hours now might take a week.
With Case, Kolar says the issues stem from a lack of manpower at the factories. It's a different story at WCTractor Waco, a Kubota dealer.
Their delays mainly stem from a lack of freight, or in other words, problems getting the parts from point A to point B.
"There are lots of machines that are just waiting for certain components, and then, you know, we just work through that through the allocation process, through a waiting process," said Store Manager John Sumner.
Waiting is not always an option for a farmer.
If crops have to be sprayed for pests, that needs to be done right away. Harvesting crops can be very time-sensitive as well.
If there is a job to be done and the right tools aren't available, improvisation might be necessary.
"We might have to utilize a practice that we're not used to, or we might have to modify the equipment to work a little bit differently," said Kolar.
The worldwide microchip shortage has also contributed to the farm supply woes. With some orders on hold until 2022, it will likely be a while before supply chains return to normal.
"We don't have an idea as far as like when this is going to end," said Sumner. "It's impossible right now to say."
The shortage in farming supplies is one reason why you may have noticed food prices going up at your local supermarket or at a restaurant. Some growers simply haven't been able to meet the demand, with the part deficit to blame.
Despite the setbacks, both dealers state they have seen skyrocketing sales of new equipment recently.
Some farmers are electing to buy new machines rather than waiting for parts to make repairs on their current equipment.
It's all in an effort to get the job done on time. Sumner states that he prefers to look at these shortages as an opportunity.
WCTractor Waco has made record sales within the past year.