Frequency change may force farmers to update tractor systems

A frequency change from the federal government has caused some satellite services to expire. Farmers who use older technology are now forced to upgrade their systems if they want to use autosteer. Here are your options.

Logistics delays from COVID-19 have backed up the supply chain for precision agriculture equipment across the board. John Deere’s Starfire ITC was subject to the changes, but despite dealership notices for nearly two and a half years, several farmers procrastinated, and new, upgraded equipment is backordered.

“Kind of across all of the precision ag technology that’s been going out there, there’s definitely a shortage or a downfall, I guess, on receiving the product like we use to,” American Implement’s Rustin Ardery states.

The Starfire 6000 is the newest model in the lineup, but orders placed now are not expected to be delivered for several months. Its predecessor, the Starfire 3000, is still a viable option and the resale market is hot right now.

According to Ardery, “If you’re looking at eBay or auction sites right now, especially after the past couple of weeks, you’ve seen an incline. You know, the other day I was looking at an auction site about two weeks ago, you were seeing around $4,100-4,500 dollars for a used 3000 receiver. A few days ago, we were looking at $5,100-5,600 dollars.”

Those units retailed new for less than $4,000 dollars. Ardery has a few pointers for farmers who cannot track down a newer model in time.

“Start communication maybe with your neighbor, and see about either, you know, borrowing on that unit or renting a unit that’s fair for them to get us by, you know, for the planting season,” he explains.

Keep in mind, these units move quickly on the resale market. It may be worth some extra security steps to prevent theft.

“When you’re done at the end of the day, or the tractors going to sit for a few days, not moving, go onto those tractors or machinery and pulling the display and pulling the receiver off that vehicle and taking it home and stored in a secure place,” he adds.

If you have not bought the newest model yet and you need them now, it is best to go ahead and get that order placed, so they have a better chance of arriving in time for harvest.