Farmer Iron

Making a Combine Statement

Company takes something old and makes it new for harvest leasing business.

The business of harvest combine leasing is heating up these days as at least one more player looks at the market. For long-time combine lessor MachineryLink, the aim remains to keep combines in the field and have them available as customers need them for maximum use of available capital.

Recently, the company pushed its fleet to more than 260 machines including 165 2009 John Deere 9770 STS and Case IH 7088 AFX combines. The company's long-time premise is that a lot of farmers don't need to own a combine, but could instead use a combine on a pay-as-you go basis. This can improve your use of farm capital while allowing expense control. While some readers might disagree, more farmers are finding this kind of service valuable.

Recently Agco's Challenger brand announced it will have a harvest service using new Challenger combines equipped with grain heads or platforms as needed. The company plans to work with eight Cat dealers carrying the Challenger line. The market will cover the wheat belt and a good chunk of the Corn Belt in the first year, according to Kevin Cobb, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Challenger.

"There's an opportunity for us to show farmers the Challenger combine," Cobb says. "We'll also be renting complete combines as part of this service." Fee per hour for a combine rental is from $155 to $175 per hour, depending on the hours a farmer plans to use it. That would be consistent with the annual operating costs for owning a combine, without tying up long-term capital in ownership.

Add in that Cat dealers have a history of mobile service support and Agco may be on to something.

Interestingly, the folks at MachineryLink see no issues with Agco crowding into their business. That's due in part because one player is an innovator, but two or more competitors can validate an idea to potential customers. "It validates what we've been doing," says Scott Hazlett, CEO MachineryLink.


This tricked out combine is actually a vintage John Deere Model 95 which still runs.

As for MachineryLink and its 260 combines? There's one they'll have on display at shows that may look familiar - at least in shape - but the paint job is definitely new. The company took a John Deere Model 95 combine - serial number 47316H - and had the gang at the Chrome Shop Mafia work their magic. This is the same customizing "gang" that used to do the show "Trick My Truck" on cable.

The final product has a flip up rear end with a high-def video screen included so the combine can be used for meetings and presentations. Expect to see it at more shows this year.

Last year the company had it's "buffalo" combine roving around the country. This just carries on that theme. And for owners of Model 95's from the past? You may want to check this out.

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