Reader Question: John Deer and the Right to Repair?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Harold asks: I managed a JD Dealership for 13 years until JD forced us out of business.  You are correct about new JD tractors. The new JD tractors do not hold up. Deere has the federal court system in there pocket. They will brag about that. Deere is fighting the right to repair at every turn. The 20, 30, 40 & 50 series tractors are some of the best Deere has ever made. The computers started in the 55 series tractors. The 40 series were the last hand-built tractors.

My reply: It’s not just tractors, either. Even outdoor power equipment is headed the same way. I fully expect pushmowers to be fitted with fuel-injection and computers and be controlled by software under the control of the manufacturer. Which will give the manufacturer control over the machine – perpetually.

I hope there is pushback against this – in the manner still available to us. We don’t have to buy into this stuff. And if we buy other stuff, it applies market pressure contra what Deere (and the car industry and the government) are trying to force down our throats. A very good real-life example of how this can work is the way non-GMO/grass-fed and otherwise healthier/sounder food is now available in regular supermarkets, not just specialty markets.

It used to be hard to find grass-fed beef, organic vegetables – and so on. But it’s easy now, because people (via their dollars) have expressed their preference for it.

We can and should make our preferences known with regard to cars, tractors and lawn mowers, too!

. . .

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  1. I’m considering a manual push reel mower. I just close the cattle up around the house and tank. Cuts(sic)way down on mowing.

    • Yeah, we finally fenced the other half of our land where the house sits a few years ago. I just mow the lawn a couple times to even it up and let the horses take care of the rest. They love it but don’t understand why we won’t let them in the house! 🙂

      I spend more time now* mowing a fire break margin around the barn and arena including the ditch where the horses can’t get to, plus the “triangle” at the road junction for a fire safe parking place. Of course I also mow a wide path across the pasture between the house and the barn, as a fire break and a path to walk on where you could see a snake.

      I can’t imagine using a manual push reel mower again. I don’t even know how I used to mow the lawn with a big wheel push power mower. It would take three different days and by then it needed mowing again.

      * Not “right now” of course – it’s all snow covered right now.

      • My neighbor had the dealer come up and haul his little Kubota to town whenever it needed service or repair. One time it just up and quit and it was something about the safety systems. There’s more wiring under the seat than older tractors ever had on the whole thing.

      • I looked at Kubota’s and JD’s websites. The largest Kubota is equal to one of JD’s smaller models in terms of size. For the large 8 wheel or tracked rigs used on a huge farm, JD pretty much owns that market; I don’t know that they have any real competition.

        I was just thinking that, if JD wouldn’t sell what the buyers want, then they could buy another brand, much like folks switched to Japanese cars when they built quality, fuel efficient cars that Detroit refused to build. You know, if JD had some-gasp-competition, then they’d be FORCED to build what their customers demanded; otherwise, they’d go out of business.


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