Oh Deere, Is That Right To Repair Resolution Troubling You?

Over the years a constant in stories covering the right to repair has come from an unexpected direction, the farming community. Their John Deer tractors, a stalwart of North American agriculture, have become difficult to repair due to their parts using DRM restricting their use to authorised Deere agents. We’ve covered farmers using dubious software tools to do the job themselves, we’ve seen more than one legal challenge, and it’s reported that the price of a used Deere has suffered as farmers abandon their allegiance to newer green and yellow machines. Now comes news of a new front in the battle, as a socially responsible investment company has the tractor giant scrambling to block their shareholder motion on the matter.

Deere have not been slow in their fight-back against the threat of right-to-repair legislation and their becoming its unwilling poster-child, with CTO Jahmy Hindman going on record stating that 98% of repairs to Deere machinery can be done by the farmer themself (PDF, page 5) without need for a Deere agent. The question posed by supporters of the shareholder action is that given the substantial risk to investors of attracting a right-to-repair backlash, why would they run such a risk for the only 2% of repairs that remain? We’d be interested to know how Deere arrived at that figure, because given the relatively trivial nature of some of the examples we’ve seen it sounds far-fetched.

It’s beyond a doubt that Deere makes high-quality agricultural machinery that many farmers, including at least one Hackaday scribe, have used to raise a whole heap of crops. The kind of generational brand loyalty they have among their customers simply can’t be bought by clever marketing, it’s been built up over a century and a half. As spectators to its willful unpicking through this misguided use of their repair operation we hope that something like this shareholder move has the desired effect of bringing it to a close. After all, it won’t simply be of benefit to those who wish to repair their tractor, it might just rescue their now-damaged brand before it’s too late.

Curious about previous coverage on this ongoing story? This article from last year will give context.

Header image: Nheyob / CC BY-SA 4.0

103 thoughts on “Oh Deere, Is That Right To Repair Resolution Troubling You?

    1. I would never consider buy something worth 5 cars looking at brand. I would reaserch every single other aspect – it is serviceable, do repair parts are available and unobscured to be made by third company 15years from now, etc.

          1. Even if most of them are not you have to figure out the cost and availability of the other brands and their parts near you – if you have to import from Europe/Asia entire machines or parts for them as JD is the local giant you could be waiting days for express air mail parts when you can’t afford the downtime…

            You also have to ask do the companies from around the world make the right type of machines – farm equipment scaled to a smaller UK field certainly could be used on a bigger field but is really close enough in practical use with the running costs, time taken etc to make the fact its properly repairable and if parts are readily available cheaper and quicker to get back to work with a big enough selling point. Its those sort of elements that gets the Pi embedded in lots of places – availability is good, each model has a long long life, and in most cases you can just drop in the newer replacement model – it might be a little more costly than other suitable SOC/SBC, but the support and long term availability mean it works out better in the long run.

          2. They don’t have to, if they have such a “strong presence” (ie: a monopoly) on equipment for specific needs in huge areas that they have the power to dictate the rules. And they didn’t get into that situation by playing nice, the reason they can do it is because they’ve either bought out or otherwise squeezed out the competition.

            As a small time farmer with more spare time compared to cash to spend on equipment you can more readily use other brands or older equipment that can be service by yourself, but in a highly competitive market (ie: minuscule margins and little to no safety – like in the US) JD has more power to dictate the rules, as any extra incurred cost or time delay will mean you’re no longer competitive.

            Apple for example recently made a program available for “self” repair, but in order to _order_ parts (you’re not allowed to have any stock), you must first have the internal serial numbers of the equipment in addition to only provide fairly expensive parts, rendering it impossible for any company to compete with their service locations. JD could simply just do the same, slow shipment for parts, only provide parts with matching serials, generally just make any non JD branded garage unworkable.

            But that’s how “free” markets work, if you don’t want to pay the price for it, don’t vote for it.

        1. You still have mccormick, which is just an Italian Landini rebranded for North America. So getting parts is a lot of fun and even as a dealer getting any technical information not in the service manual is nigh impossible because landini and mccormick seem to communicate through Google translate.

          There is Mahindra, which is mainly rebranded tractors from China or India. Parts are usually 6-18 months back ordered, including filters. Need a fuel filter for a 200 hour service so you don’t void your warranty? wait 6 months or call a European Kia dealership for the special bosch filter that bosch North America doesn’t sell.

          Case/New Holland are about manufacturers with a service/parts network big enough / quick enough to be real competition to Deere and that is only in North America.

          Sadly this usually means buying a Deere or risk loosing your crop that year.

    2. How many highly-specialized house-priced farm equipment do you usually buy?

      Some things simply can’t be bought from dozens of suppliers. And that’s not always the result of questionable business practices – some niches just need high investments compared to their size that there’s only one or two players, if at all.

      1. My issue with the right to repair centers around to specific areas:
        – reasonable cost of repair parts.
        – the speed to repair.

        The second one is critical, because you often have a limited time window to get the job done, and if late could it can have catastrophic losses.

        But even a day delay can have high personal costs, as you lost a day of productivity. I can imagine what the cost to John Deere is when their entire line is shut down for a day, the farmer is in the exact same boat

        1. If you’ve ever visited central IL during harvest, you see bright spotlights in the fields all night long. They run the combines 24×7. There’s a perfect time to harvest a field which depends on corn kernel moisture content and weather.

    3. Bobcat tractors have alot of the same issues. If you replace the injectors, or injector pump, or about anything related to Tier 4, you must pay Bobcat to ” register” that replacement part into your CPU.

    4. Don’t get me started with this issue. My taught are about BMS modules for batteries. I get it they were mandated because batteries could catch on fire. However the end result is many devices phones/tablets/speakers and up being garbage at a very early stage simply because they were not used for a long lime. I threw out a bluetooth speaker that would no longer charge after being dormant over winter. In this day and age of recycling, throwing out a perfectly good (and expensive) device cause the manufacturer want half its original purchase price just to reset the BMS with a proprietary I2C battery software is Ludacris. Too smart might be equal to stupid. In the end I believe consumers will demand a better approach to the current garbage/money making scheme that is BMS!

      1. You could have definitely taken that lithium battery out of that Bluetooth speaker, and brought it back to life. I’m hesitant with high drain applications, but a low power device would be no issue. There are plenty of explanations on the internet of how to do this. While you’re in there, add a switch to disconnect the battery from the bms. Future problems solved

  1. This is the very example of crony capitalism. It’s also the reason why I have a 14 year old Kabota that burns with a mechanical pump. This is a golden opportunity for the hacker community to come up with aftermarket ECUs and control systems for deer equipment. Having designed and built many aftermarket fuel injection controllers, quite successfully, I don’t look at this as anything but an opportunity contrasted with The abysmal stupidity of crony capitalism. I hope deer suffers badly, and the serves as an example to all companies, blocking out the end-user will be paying for you financially.

    Another example of this horribleness his Mercedes Benz SCN coding. Almost every control unit in a Mercedes is DRM locked and must be attached to the Mercedes net work to be authorized to be useful if replaced in the car. It’s the reason why I will never own another Mercedes.

  2. ECU firmware is protected on all new vehicles. User has no ability to access or modify it. Same could be true for Deere and emissions levels would be protected. They could still allow the farmer to swap parts without buggering with firmware

    1. I wonder how much of this controversy involves greed versus how much of it is involved with product liability laws. As it is, farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the US. This equipment is all easily capable of maiming/killing people in the event of a firmware issue. Do not construe this to be in any way a defense of Deere.

      The same thing happens in the automotive world. Cars are built with dozens of modules on the CANBUS. Can any manufacturer say that they’ve tested every HW/SW version of every module for a particular vehicle working together with every version of all of the others? And then, there are safety and emissions laws on top of that, with severe criminal and civil penalties involved.

      If I had my way, I’d have them to open these systems in return for “you mess with it, you are legally on your own and we, the manufacturer, wash our hands of it”. But our legal system doesn’t work that way.

      1. “If I had my way, I’d have them to open these systems in return for “you mess with it, you are legally on your own and we, the manufacturer, wash our hands of it”. But our legal system doesn’t work that way.”.

        That would be an interesting test, especially with autonomous vehicles coming to the forefront. But I imagine product liability isn’t the reason for the current state of the McDonald’s broken ice cream machines.

        1. If you screw up your McDonald’s ice cream machine hack and give a whole bunch of people listeriosis, the McDonald’s head office knows that the only thing people are going to see in the news is “people poisoned at McDonald’s” not “people got disease at one site from franchisee who made a coding error that didn’t keep the ice cream cold enough.” Product liability includes brand reputation sometimes.

        2. You still run into a few problems. What if someone replaces something and makes it look identical or crazy close to factory? When it malfunctions, how do you prove it was a DIY repair and not OEM parts?

          I would propose a sort of Apple approach but only for the sake of traceability. Each “module” or component would have a chip that has a serial number stored in it. On powering up or or as an occasional signal it would send a module ID and SN to the ECU/CPU. At the OEM the ECU/CPU would have stored the “stock” OEM ID’s and serial numbers, then it would always compare the original numbers to what’s installed. If something didn’t match then a bit would be set indicating that “module” is 3rd party or DIY.

          Sure there would be ways to spoof it or work arounds, but that’s for a more detailed discussion. I’m just saying from starting point, to store, track, and compare modules serial numbers and ID’s. Then in the event of a lawsuit or accident the list gets read from the ECU and the company can say, “The customer modified this, its no longer under warranty and we no longer liable, because it wasn’t something we did.”

      2. Farmers aren’t asking to modify their equipment, they are asking for the ability to buy a new dash cluster and have the ability to make the equipment recognize it without a JD technician coming out and charging an exorbitant amount of money to “program it”. They are asking for the ability to swap in a new diesel particulate filter, and be able to tell the equipment that they did so w/o having to pay JD to do so. They want to be able to hook a scan tool up and see why their check engine light is on, fix it, and clear the light. They want to be able to change the fuel filter, and reset the fuel filter life. Same with air filter or hydraulic filters. They aren’t asking to delete emissions, or turn up the HP. All of these things are able to be done in most automotive applications with either a scan tool or a laptop and an adapter cable. In automotive, a $500 scan tool, a $300 laptop, and a $500 J2534 cable can do any of those things. Truth be told, you could even skip the scan tool with the laptop. When you’re talking about equipment that costs anywhere from $250k to $1mil, $5k worth of laptop and cables would pay for itself in the 1st year. Problem is JD is fighting tooth and nail against it. Same as Apple.

        1. I agree, the tractor owners that are hurt the most are not the ones who intend to overpower a tractor or otherwise changes its emissions. However, the emissions laws are the original driving force behind these restrictions.
          The EPA prohibits modifications to any component in an engine or drivetrain that will or could modify the engine’s emissions. The example list of components is very long, including nearly every part on the engine. John Deere has responded to these laws by making it difficult to change many of those parts without dealer involvement. They are also using the law as a way to extract more dealer service money from customers.
          The EPA laws need to be re-written and reduced. As usual, the lawmakers focused on the small number of people that will choose to break a law, but the fix they put in place hurts all the people that wouldn’t have violated the law in the first place. As a result, many farmers are opting to continue to use older equipment that never met the emissions controls even when new.
          Which outcome is better? I think it would be better to have an un-preventable but smaller number of illegally-modified tractors in the field rather than incentivizing continued heavy use of older tractors that produce far more noxious emissions than even a modified newer tractor would produce.

          1. I’m inclined to believe the emission laws are being used as a convenient excuse by Deere and friends, and not the driving force. There are plenty of things they could do if it was just compliance with emissions making them do this. This is all about market control.

          2. The regs have hurt the trucking industry as well about the only thing a owner can fox on these new trucks are light bulbs. Everything in the equipment is locked behind passcodes, oil change, filter change, sensors, speed control all require internet connected laptops and 20k a year subscriptions to reset and remove software error codes. Engine rebuilds have gone from 6k to 20k or more just due to all the added costs that are software related.

      3. Nobody is talking about reprogramming the airbags.

        Most of the stuff have nothing to do with safety and all this programming shit is new as hell compared to hundreds of years of fixing mechanical stuff. JD’s only motivation is to keep that sweet, sweet repair moula in their hands.

        And your ‘corporate has no liability if you change a light bulb’-idealogy sucks big time. The safety features are one thing (although i don’t agree with all of the crap that is done in the name of safety) and JD has no way of giving permission to touch that anyway, but preventing normal repair is just greedy. And though i understand that greed from corporate side, there needs to be protections against it for the people. People also have jobs that rely on getting things done.

  3. I used to work at a JD facility that reman’ed the electronics. From what I saw of JD management, the idea of Open Anything gave them hives. They believe in doing things one way, everywhere, even when it causes a place to go up in flames.

    1. It doesn’t need to be Open. It only needs not to be DRM-protected. There is no valid reason to lock up the machine, when a part is replaced by farmer instead of being replaced by someone from JD.

    2. Your statement was kind of general, so, I respond in general….in general, this attitude is applied to every ISO certified company. (ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 13485, etc) That is a lot of companies.
      The reason for the attitude is that to become certified, you must do things only one way–there is no room for leeway. One example is you must “control suppliers” to earn the certificate, and that means ensuring the suppiers are trained, with documented training. For the uninitiated, a “supplier” is everyone who provides a product or service–and “repair” is a service. There is some gray area, but JD has taken the “easy” way by making it so all parts are installed by a certified repair tech. Obviously, those gray areas are where they get hammered by the community, and hammered by the ISO certifiying body by being required to generate tons of documentation if they permit John Doe to repair his John Deer.

      1. I’ll be “that guy” and ask: what’s the major benefit(s) of going to the expense and trouble of getting an ISO certification? It is just another expensive piece of paper you hang on the wall?

        1. Those who sell those certificates claim having it means that company is managed in such a way to benefit both its clients and stockholders. However the whole process benefits mostly the people who issue the certificates. But it looks nice on the webpage and on brochures, and every other company has the certificate.

          1. I don’t think any farmer decided to buy a JD tractor because they have an ISO 9000 certificate. If what [Tenaja] wrote is true, and JD attitude in regards to right to repair is the result of ISO 9000, then obtaining that certification has negative impact on both customers and stockholders. Even if it’s not related to ISO 9000, the decision of JD to implement DRM was idiotic. But JD is a big, inert, inflexible corporation, so they didn’t revert this decision when their troubles over this started.

      2. Caterpillar is ISO certified, and it’s way easier to repair CAT construction equipment yourself than it is JD ag equipment. There are several aftermarket scan tools that can set injector flow rates, force DPF Regen, program replacement emissions components, etc on CAT, but not on JD. The ISO certified excuse is just as lame as JDs emissions excuse. It’s all about profit.

  4. So your telling me, used tractor prices explode and people are massivley pissed with deere because of 2% of repairs? Yeah, i am calling bullshit, unless we get a clear list what those 2% are. Modifiying the emissions? These are no car nuts, that might flex of their cat for a few more horsepowers. These are farmers, that have to rely on their devices.

    “What the advocates ask for is impossible, plus we’re already doing it!” Yeah, right.

    1. Agreed it has to be creative accounting based on how many fixes I’ve heard of that should be basic things, and I have no real interest or need to know… Its 2% because they are counting washing the cab windows, lights etc of all the mud as a repair… Just cleaning it so its fit for use is a few hundred ‘repairs’, and changing a tyre/wheel – all those wheel nut are clearly individual repairs, you took however many there are off, and then put them back on again!

      1. I was thinking they probably added up the total number of parts, including every single nut and bolt counted separately, and only 2% of the indivisible parts are electronics, so the other 98% can be replaced.

        If those 2% of the parts are by far the most expensive and most common to break in a way the renders the machine inoperable, the net result is still that you need a $$$$ “JD technician” (more likely, an idiot with a laptop with some trivial secret software and a stack of pre-printed invoices).

        1. “(more likely, an idiot with a laptop with some trivial secret software and a stack of pre-printed invoices)”

          C’mon man! Give the tech a little more credit than that! I mean, if the laptop says “replace xyz” they still have to know which end of the wrench to hold.

    2. Id wager most are interested in modifying emissions, If i owned any equipment with a DPF i’d be finding a way to delete it, Now currently I stay in the right side of the law by simply owning older equipment with no DPF, I bet emisssions control causes as much headache to farmers and construction workers as it does to road users. Now morally, legally, ethically its wrong to delete a DPF, but when your ability to support your family depends on that machine running, troublesome emission controll devices get shown the door.

      1. Yes, and I wonder if it would be possible to calculate how much additional emissions have been caused merely because people are keeping older tractors running hard much longer than they would have if newer tractors were optimized for “good” emissions and “good” usability/reliability/complexity, rather than “minimum” and “terrible”.

    3. Could easily be 98% of “repairs” are regular oil changes / filters etc. being done on the regular by nearly every user, and the 2% are actual repairs… you can prove anything with stats.

    4. I just read the linked article (or maybe the one linked from that)… appears the statement was that only 2% require software UPDATES, which is not the same thing as needing specialist / locked-down software to clear the fault.

      I’d be quite disappointed that 2% of repairs somehow REQUIRE a software update to fix.

  5. I think the weasel words there are that 98% of the work CAN be done by the farmer. IF he has access to the right information, tools and parts. Which he doesn’t. And he voids any warranty if he DOES do the work so no he’s still screwed even if he did have access. (And no, voiding warranty if a farmer works on his own equipment isn’t legal if the problem isn’t caused by that work, but leave it to big corporations like Deere to find ways to blame the work someone else did anyway, or blame someone else even if it was actually their fault)

    1. I think they mean that a farmer can do 98% of the repair, that is all the physical labor, and JD does the remaining 2%, which is registering the part with the main computer via DRM system. So, technically, he didn’t lie.

    2. Is it actually illegal for them to do “warranty void if opened” on their stuff? I was surprised to learn last year that the warranty act in the US right to repair folks like to point to, is explicitly limited to consumer products ordinarily used in the home. So HPE telling me my lifetime warranty on my managed gigabit network switch could be void after opening it but they’ll let it slide this time, is actually a legal threat as far as I know.

    3. I just read the linked article (or maybe the one linked from that)… appears the statement was that only 2% require software UPDATES, which is not the same thing as needing specialist / locked-down software to clear the fault.

      Weasel words indeed.

  6. I have 3 Deere products, 2 lawn tractors, one small tractor. I love the products, but this repair thing is a problem for me. I spent most of my 70+ years repairing all kinds of electronics… now retired… glad i don’t have to battle the “right to repair” it would drive me nuts. I worry for our future. Perhaps its time for me to sell all my JD stock.

  7. I have been a mechanic for over 45 years. Repairing everything I own , the first time I came across a company that did this was BPR . The Sea-Doo that I purchased has priority software that require a trip to an dealer to reset the service light after an oil change. Needless to say I will NEVER buy another product from them.

  8. There wasn’t a single computerized part on my old JD 4020 we purchased in the early 70’s. My brother actually rebuilt everything on it while he was in high school. Just sold it a couple of years ago and it ran like new

  9. Remark to the editors:

    By the way, maybe not only show a picture of the cute little tractors in this series of articles; the things we’re talking about here are machines like 2/3 million dollar forage harvesters.

    I’m not an expert in agricultural machinery, but I’d guess both the repair problems and the revenue model for a sit-on lawn mower are **very** different than that of something in that price and complexity range.

    1. You’re not wrong. That’s a handy pic of some Deeres from Wikimedia Commons, because a pic of my dad’s older Deere probably isn’t what’s needed here.

      The workaday tractor in the background is definitely in the frame here though.

      1. Re: smaller JD units like ATV/UTVs, riding mowers, etc. Review sites like Gator Forums and My Tractor and you will find the right to repair applies there as well. Many have advanced electronics that control the engine, shifting display, errors and more.

        I have 3 JDs, an ATV, a UTV and a large loader/hoe. None have needed to go to a dealer since new. There’s a lot to be said for that.

  10. This goes way beyond right to repair. This is the mess that we have created by allowing software developers to license software instead of selling it. Things copyright law and it needs to be rewritten from the ground up. If you sell me a piece of software, I should fully own the rights to that piece of software you sold me. I should be able to modify it in anyway I see fit for my use. I should also be able to sell my personal copy to anyone I want to without permission. Same as cars, trucks, tractors, TVs and any other piece of equipment. Once I pay you for that equipment it is mine to do as a I please, including any software running on it. The more computerized the world becomes, the more this will become an issue and it needs fixed now.

  11. I am a member of the right to repair club and suggest that you as HaD’ers become members also. Here’s the deal with Deere. The million and ahalf dollar combine goees on the fritz. The discharge chute will no longer rotate. You look the machine over and do not see any problems. You can not physically check the switch in the cab because its membrane switch on a board thats a nightmare to remove. You have product in the field and have two days to harvest it. Your only choice is to contact your local distributor. They send out a tech with a laptop which gets plugged into your machine. The tech climbs down and tells you that solenoid valve number 24 is not functioning. The tech replaces the valve and you are back in business. Solenoid valve cost 2400.00 USD. Only available as an OEM part. the diagnostic cost you 5200.00 USD. 7600.00 USD and 20 minutes later you are back to harvesting. Now the truth is if you hd the diag software you could have checked the machine yourself and bought an identical SV off internet for 17.99 USD and been back in business. The same with cars. Make them too complex for the average joe to fix and charge crazy rates for diag. It’s not the initial outlay for the machine as much as how much can the company make fixing it.

    1. A neighbor told me the other day that one of the LED headlights on his late model Chevy Suburban has a bad LED strip.
      The replacement headlight (they don’t sell the individual LED strips) is $1200! And the mechanic has told him it takes 3 hours (Labor ~$100/hour) just to REMOVE the existing headlight!

      1. standard. bake cluster in an oven, split it, repair, glue it back together. Takes a day to do, charge £400. everyone wins, bonus points if you find a physically damaged (but electrically ok) Donor on ebay. thats not anti-right to repair, thats just a lack of knowledge in the mechanics part.

      2. There is truth in what you say. The tailight assy on newer ford trucks have a “radar” inside that detects vehicles next to you and lights up the mirror so you know not to change lanes. That brake light assy is 1700.00 USD. the side mirror with light and camera is 1900.00 USD. Replaced one on my 2005 Jeep and it cost 30.00 USD. You pay for features.

  12. The issue here is mainly about the software TOOLS access. There might be the ability to say replace some sensor but the factory service procedures a lot of time require calibrating said sensor using proprietary software tools. So yes, you may be able to do 98% of the work (like physically disassembling and replacing a part) but the last 2% is required to actually make the part work.

    They are playing with the numbers here. If you complete 98% of every repair but cannot complete the last 2% step, you have a non-working machine.

    Here is the game.

    Are they saying you can fix 98% of faults and get back into operation or that you can do 98% of the work leaving 2% to the dealer to get back up and running? If the dealer requires you to transport a large piece of equipment into the dealership and charges you a fortune to do a 10 minutes calibration on something how would you feel about that?

    Think of a 100 step procedure to replace a transmission sensor of some sort. The first 98 steps are all about you pulling out the transmission and disassembling it to get to the part, now reassemble everything. Last two steps are transport this huge vehicle to the dealership and wait forever and pay a zillion dollars to run a software cal procedure. That is how the 98% thing work in the real world.

  13. I can get basic scan tools and repair for just about any vehicle that is over 5 years old. Nothing I do has anything to do with modifying the program. I use the scan tool for troubleshooting along with repair info including electrical schematics. Deere does not provide anything close to this. Without that information, it is nearly impossible to repair the machine, except for minor obvious issues.

  14. I own what most homeowners would consider a large tractor and most farmers a small tractor.55hp. I bought Deere because in most cases I can get parts within a day and a 15 min ride. I owned another brand prior and would have to wait weeks for parts or pay a premium plus shipping to get a part sooner. It’s pretty tough to find a rental tractor, so down time really sucks. They are the only game in town for many applications. That being said these RTR laws really do need to get pushed through. They are still making plenty of money on parts.

  15. I’m currently waiting for the local John Deere dealer to have time to come out and install a new controller and program it in a tractor for me. it’s been over a week now already and he’s thinking it’s not going to be until next year before they can get out there. I put in two requests so far to get the customer service advisor but that still won’t do programming new controllers.

  16. I have a Fordson tractor,it was sold new as “Super Major” but I added parts from an earlier Forson “Major”,so I call it a Major Supper Major,which it is,came with half tracks and the parts tractor came with what was once called a “preacher clutch” or for the technicaly inclined a planitary reduction drive,yet to be installed as it requires splitting the cases.This machine was the first to use the now standard three point hitch and pto set up.
    Every single part for this machine is availible for decent prices and it was built in that special post ww II period when the philosophy was to build it tough,real real tough,as in it will keep going when on fire and shot at while exploding,they were still a little twitchy after the war and while the outside of this tractor
    is rough,the inside looks mint,fit and finnish is amazing.
    Buddy has a new JD tractor,its throwing a code on a pto that has
    never been used and it cost 30% of what my house and 50 acres
    cost,AND,AND,the thing is too small to run the square bailer
    when we get together to make hay.
    Used to be lots of old tractors for sale 5 years ago,not now.

  17. “…Deere have not been slow in their fight-back against the threat of right-to-repair legislation and THEIR becoming its unwilling poster-child, with CTO Jahmy Hindman ….”


  18. I believe that we should have the choice to have the JD place repair our newer equipment or purchase the technology to either repair it ourselves or have an independent mechanic repair it. Our newest tractor has communications through its GPS to not only let us keep up with its location, but it can be monitored by JD to evaluate its performance. What I didn’t realize that the tractor could diagnose itself and call our dealer to come out and repair it. When I arrived at the tractor to find a JD mechanic replacing a belt (an easy repair requiring no technology) I was dumbfounded. That function was turned off. It was an expensive lesson for me.

    1. They also use all that info when you trade it in. They know literally everything about that tractor. Has it ever been overheated, has it been ran with a dirty air filter, have the hydraulics been overheated, has it been ran with the door open, how many times the door has been opened and closed, how many hrs you run per oil change, etc. It’s absolutely terrifying how much info they get from newer equipment.

  19. I’ve had service work done and I’ve gotten parts and parts from the LandPro John Deere dealer of Watsontown Pennsylvania. I’ve had an excellent relationship with the dealer. Some parts might be expensive, some are not. One thing I have noticed is that John Deere’s last a lot longer than most other types of Tractors.

  20. I worked in government as an electronic tech. One piece of quipment was a prototype with half a dozen set-up in our building. A few were sent to other facilities. We were given complete training to maintain them. These processed images from scanned packages at extremely slow speed while a competitor used the same scanning equipment at far higher speed. The operating system networked image scanning software with Windows generating bar codes. A moving bar code printer printed custom labels applied on packages. A three axis robot moved an 80 lb printer in three dimensional space to apply a label on a package on a moving conveyor belt. The software was open for fine tuning by anyone. Operators manned these machines. One knowledgeable tech modified software with the blessing of the equipment manufacturer. No DRM was written into this contract and company engineers shared everything we needed to keep them operating. The equipment manufacturer was hoping if these prototypes succeeded, more would be ordered. Costs were about a million a piece. About ten years later the equipment couldn’t keep pace so the project died.

    I use this example in comparison to right to repair issues and cannot understand JD and others citing DRM against farming diyers wanting to keep repair costs down if they can make repairs on equipment they own. If I’m not mistaken, several vehicle manufacturers allow tuners to modify engine ECMs for more power while remaining federal emissions compliant. With the return of muscle cars having clean emissions, it’s unusual for tuners having access to ECMs yet remain emissions compliant.

  21. If something breaks in the middle of planting or harvesting, it needs fixed ASAP preferably in the field right where the machine quit. Farmers tend to buy equipment from companies that have a dealer in the town or city their farm is closest to, so that when they need a part they can run into town, get it, and have their equipment back in operation the same day.

    In the late 1990’s I was living in the small town of Grangeville, Idaho. There was a John Deere dealer there, which the company wanted to get shut down by taking away their franchise. But they couldn’t because the very old contract had some stipulation that as long as a member of the family who opened the dealership owned it, John Deere could not take it away.

    Without the dealership in Grangeville, farmers would have to drive 73 miles to Lewiston.

    1. I’m all for the right to repair, but have one honest question…

      Some seem to forget the fact that you agreed to this when you bought the product. Almost everything nowadays comes with a TOS attached, what prevented you to read it and finding out that this is what they do when the product needs repair?

      One of the many reasons why i will never buy Apple products, I do not consent with their Terms of Service.

      1. You’re right. On paper, hidden in fine print are the agreements to any purchase. A relative put a down payment on a hot car, a Mazda RX-7, waited several months with delays every time he enquired. Fed up, the contract to buy stipulated in fine print if the dealer cannot deliver the vehicle within two weeks, the buyer has the option for a refund. One call resulted in laughter and refusal to refund. Small claims court judge sided with the buyer. Refund was double the original deposit. Buyer beware. Farmers are like anyone else but they buy (or lease?) these behemoths with six figure prices. Like most people, a long time loyal customer rarely asks about the fine print and assumes everything is fine until his equipment breaks down only to find himself in this ‘you can’t make repairs in or out of warranty’ predicament when before electronics evolved on farm equipment diyers made repairs to cut down time during a harvest. It’s too late now to go over the fine print.

  22. What I wonder is whether all “warranty concerns” could be handled by historical data analysis from the ECM. This would allow for JD to determine whether repairs were performed within spec or not.
    I feel that most farmers are not terribly interested in wasting time with substandard components and would rather get their field harvested than mess around with risky “tuning” or whatever the boilerplate from JD claims.
    Seems like a blatant cash grab on the part of John Deere. I wonder if they are trying to artificially maintain market share in a rapidly globalizing economy…

    This is also coming from someone who is not a farmer :D

  23. Maybe it’s time for an open source tractor software project modeled on Linux and Apache. Get one of the smaller makers to embrace it and it would give them a competitive advantage.

      1. Right. If it’s open source, there is no DRM. Not only that, you have more people looking at the code and submitting bug fixes. Some software engineers will do this without pay out of both enlightened self interest (the bug fix gets included in the main release so they can stop fixing in each release), and bragging rights for having solved the problem and being a submitter to the project. It’s a system that works surprisingly well.

  24. I was a service manager in a John Deere dealership for over 20 Years until 5 Years ago. The dealership I worked for was a small family owned dealership that did very well financially. We were forced to sell to a large multi store Dealer. About 20 years ago John Deere changed direction and decided large multi store locations were the way to take care of the farmer. yes over the years farms have gotten bigger. even many corporate farms. Deere’s belief is that need to have large corporate dealerships to take care of them. So when you have large corporate dealerships than you have investors and boards to deal with. their only care is their return and everything shifts to the dealerships to being ran corporate. like ours, many had been there for years with little employee turnover and the customer knew who they were dealing with and were being taken care of. what is driving Deere to fight the right to repair is simple. When all these dealerships started being ran corporate instead of like the thousands of family owned farms and Dealerships long time employees started leaving the dealerships. Many were and are Tech’s. A fair amount of the Tech’s that left had started their own repair shops and customers followed because they knew them and what to expect from them, they had a good relationship with them. than Deere started trying to fill the void with their Ag Tech Program which is a joke in my opinion. Take a kid right out of high school that thinks he may want to pull wrenches and has no mechanical ability, which cannot be taught. You either have it or you dont. than they throw them in the program for 2 years which is not enough with the technology of today. just doesnt work for the dealership or the customer. Which this all lead to service departments loosing good tech’s and customers, basically a mass exsidos from dealerships. so while all this was going on Deere started making their technology proprietary and started doing many other things to force the customer back to their service departments, to very young and untrained Tech’s and billing went way up to compensate for the lose. If Deere looses this fight it will really hurt them and their dealers. To those of you saying oh people go their local dealership because they are local and have the parts. You better get in the real world, Deere has many, many of their parts made outside of the USA and are currently and still having many issues getting parts to the dealerships. This will not go away soon. I started My own repair shop when i left the big box stores 5 years ago and are doing very well. My local John Deere dealer told me this last fall during harvest that Deere’s fill rate on combine and other harvest equipment parts fill rate was 48%! and We have seen and waited on combine parts and tractor parts for that matter over 3 weeks and sometimes over 2 months while the farmers equipment sits there. Deere no longer has the advantage

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