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November 2018

I had not realised how long its been since I changed this page, the summer drought is long behind us, but I have to say the weather is balmy, with grass still green and producing some winter keep, but winter is here so it could all change very quickly. The fodder shortage is still prevalent, especially with bedding, but there has been lots of late forage saved, so hopefully farmers will get through the colder months.

I have visited the mart several times this autumn, like other folks, the prices for stock are a barometer to the farming communities health, and even for JDW, prices affect our business too. Cattle prices are quite a bit back on 2017, but most people agree not as negative as was expected, the stagger on lambs is now into January, and the decision my most farmers for 2019 fat lamb disposal, is to book them as they are born! Another reason for a mart visit is to meet up with other farmers, and discuss various issues and just escape the farm, for many men its the only time they leave home. After one mart day I called on one farmer the next day, he was telling me that the previous week at the mart, nothing sold, no bids were forthcoming, stock got took back,and we were all doomed, I said to him " I didn't see you there" his reply was "Oh I did not get on wednesday" to which I asked "how did you know about the sale then" his reply surprised me " the postman told me" he said! Now on this day some did not sell, there was a farm assured issue with some stock, some animals had obviously suffered with the summer drought, some dairy crosses would need a lot of food through the winter, but where the stock was right and a sensible figure was accepted they did sell. The moral of the tale is go yourself, even my opinion would be clouded, the same applies to the fatstock, or an NFU meeting unless you have been there, its just somebody's else's thoughts that's influencing your plans.

Back to business at JDW, quite a few changes have taken place over the summer, the workshop is now nearly twice as big, with all work now being undertaken inside, its light and airy too, so If you have not been in lately call in. Claire and Chris have sadly moved on, both gone for government posts, they will both be missed, and we wish them good luck for the future, we have a new man called Jarred in the workshop, great on the hoses, and Darren is in charge of the Latrines now, Belinda and Stuart will be joining the team at the end of November, so give them a bit of time to get there feet under the table, and I am sure they will serve you all well, so for those of you who thought JDW was changing direction, shame on you! Machinery sales have been thin on the ground through 2018, with so much negative news, its hard to be confident and invest in machinery, however there are still enough customers quietly getting on with the job, not moaning just delivering what the customers want, and that is the secret, consumer is king, for most farmers the fatstock or the export routes are their customers, and if they don't or can't sell the produce they won't be paying decent prices.

As i said before sales have been fairly quiet however machines are still being sold and delivered. The mighty Marshall rear discharge spreaders are being delivered as we speak, simple design, cheaper than the floor chain alternatives, and spread a load in seconds, a couple of Rotaspreaders have been delivered too, their is still a place for these basic machines. Took an order for our first McHale front mower this week, aggressively priced and built to last like all McHale gear, hoping to confirm one of their new rakes too, Kieran the rep for McHale is great for advice and help, its very difficult to know all of the opposition's strengths and faults for us here, one farmer had his eye on another rake, I asked Kieran for advice, the reply was swift, "ours weighs more with a heavier headstock, has a better frame, wider wheels, front mounted wheel for stability, more arms and tines per rotor, is lower in transport, has finance and probably cheaper" not sure if this will swing the deal, but it may help.

The T6 demo is now on the north, the new 8 speed 3 range gearbox proving a big hit with everybody who drives it, its also proving to be very frugal, again probably down to the new efficient transmission, so if if you fancy a drive give us a call, no cost just insure it. With the cost of new tractors increasing each year more farmers are turning to used purchases, saving several thousand pounds in the process, we get asked occasionally what is the best plan. So at the risk of sounding stupid, unless you know who or where the machine came from be wary, used machines are used for a reason, however with decent research and common sense you can happen upon the right machine. For JDW its fairly easy to check a machine, we can access warranty areas, probably know a fair bit about NH gear, and have the ability to fix them, that reminds me, Nathan had to do a refresher course on the computer, last day of October was the deadline, now if you know Nathan he is a very capable mechanic probably one the best on the Island, but paperwork and courses are not his thing, anyway after much cajoling he finally did the course, when the results came back, the NH area manager rang him, and told him he was the second highest scorer in the network, quite an achievement for him and the IOM. Back to new or used, machinery is worth looking at on the used market especially if its non-electrical, anything more complicated becomes more challenging, forums are good although again seem to be for moaning rather that help, tests and reviews too. But the simple fact is new especially on a tractor will nearly always be the best route, if funds will allow of course, keep if for 5 years, service it properly and then trade it with around 5000 hours, should not have cost much in repairs, still well on the way to the price of a new one, and very few breakdowns to pay for. If you take the 3-year warranty and in some cases 3 years 0% finance and add it to the purchase of a used machine its surprising how the gap narrows, as a quick guide to these figures, let's say £30,000.00 is borrowed over 3 years, hp rate of 4% will cost about £3500.00 warranty is a difficult one to price, but factor in £1000.00 per year, which is probably a conservative amount and you are up to nearly £7000.00 in favour of a new purchase. What cannot be priced is the peace of mind you get from buying new, and a dealer who will be there when you need him, even on christmas day if it won't start, and this applies to most dealers not just JDW.

Another first this year, a KUHN baler, and by all accounts trouble free, and fast, KUHN machinery is some of the best you can buy, even if it is french!