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by Dr. Andrew Landers, Farming Press. ISBN 0852365403

Copies of this book may be purchased from or by contacting Andrew directly at
Price: $US 35.00 plus shipping cost

The following review was published in the Royal Agricultural College Journal in 2001

"Andrew Landers has written an extremely useful book to help farmers make important decisions regarding the selection and management of farm machinery. On many farms, machinery investment has been carried out on an ad hoc basis but modern business management requires attention to detail in all sectors and machinery management is no exception. This book provides a mixture of business management, engineering and science coupled with many good practical examples of mechanisation based upon his twenty-five years of teaching, research and consultancy.  Twelve chapters cover topics such as analysis of machinery systems and how to improve output, the size and numbers of machines to consider purchasing, how to identify, monitor and reduce machinery operating costs. If you have ever been confused by the myriad of methods on financing farm machinery, this book covers various finance methods and gives comparative examples; alternatives to ownership such as hiring and contracting are also discussed. Detail is provided on the effects of changes in machinery policy, such as one combine instead of two, the relative merits of buying large cultivator drills or how to improve spraying or harvesting operations. Knowing when to replace farm machinery is so important if depreciation is to be minimized and repair bills kept under control, this book covers different methods of developing replacement policies. A novel approach has been taken throughout this book, mechanisation examples are applied to Acorn Farm, so the reader can easily identify with changes in machinery policy etc. At the end of each chapter there is a list of further reading and a list of websites which will provide further information. The Appendices contain two computer programs for comparing machinery workrates and calculating the cost of equipment, ideal for comparing contractor charges and finding the break-even point when purchasing equipment. This book is ideal for established farmers and students alike and is thoroughly recommended."


This book, on mechanisation management, covers eight main areas:
1. Why mechanisation management is important in terms of good business management
2. What are the components of a mechanisation system, how to identify and improve them.
3. What equipment a farmer needs for a given area of land
4. What size and number of machines to consider purchasing
5. How to purchase farm machinery
6. How to monitor their operation and cost
7. When to replace equipment
8. What are the alternatives to ownership?

Chapter 1. Introduction to mechanisation
The benefits of mechanisation
Why it is important to devise a mechanisation policy ?

Chapter 2. Systems analysis I – the components of a mechanisation system
The components of harvesting and spraying systems

Chapter 3. Labour and machinery planning
Labour requirements
Standard Work Days
Constructing Labour and Machinery profiles
Gang workdays
The importance of timeliness
time available for field work
work day probability

Chapter 4. Machine capacity
rates of work
estimating machine capacity
calculation of output
field efficiency
field shape and size
measuring speed
Workrate – a computerised planning programme.

Chapter 5. Systems analysis II – analysing the system
The 6 P’s of field machinery management

Machine systems
matching machines to create an efficient system
improving the system
- break it down and rebuild it

Analysing a grain harvesting system

Sprayer operation management

Making quality silage – organizing the harvesting system

The introduction of new technology – a case study
on the introduction of the grain stripper header

Chapter 6. Machinery selection
Introduction PART ONE
Factors affecting choice
deciding on the horse power and numbers required
soil/climate/implement interface

Combine harvesters PART TWO
Factors affecting choice
deciding on the size and number required
replace two small/medium combines with one larger machine

Crop sprayers PART THREE
background considerations
purchasing a sprayer

Buying secondhand equipment – what to look for PART FOUR
sources of information
factors affecting valuation
what to look for/at when buying secondhand tractors/combines/balers

Chapter 7. Machinery costs
Fixed costs
Variable costs

Estimating machinery fixed costs
Purchase price
Depreciation rates
Interest rates

Estimating machinery variable costs
Repairs and maintenance
Fuel and oil

Timeliness costs
Opportunity costs
Machinery cost calculation

Chapter 8. Identifying, monitoring and reducing machinery costs
why, when and how?
Recording schemes
Labour/tractor/field recording
Workshop recording
Financial recording

Controlling machinery costs

Minimising costs:
reducing depreciation
reducing repairs and maintenance
reducing fuel costs
reducing finance costs

Chapter 9. Financing machinery
understanding the terminology
hire purchase
lease purchase
contract hire/operating lease
balloons, front loading

types of finance scheme
advantages and disadvantages of the above:

Selecting the most appropriate scheme
identifying their relative merits
examples of current schemes

Chapter 10. Alternatives to ownership
Stubble to stubble
One off operations
Contacting in/out
Hire schemes
Machinery rings
Relative merits of the above alternatives

Chapter 11. Maintenance is next to godliness
maintenance management
pre-season maintenance: crop sprayer
end of season maintenance: combine harvester
your own workshop?

Chapter 12. Machinery replacement
Devising a policy
economic factors
review traditional methods, holding costs etc.
basic policy
whole stock method
capital budget method

Break even analysis
The use of computers for machinery management, internet sites