The first-ever survey of organisations that sell and service farm machinery – whether they’re one-man bands or multi-depot dealers – is being launched this month.

The aim is to put the industry on the map, boost its lobbying power and make it a more attractive career choice for technicians.

The farm machinery dealer sector has traditionally struggled to attract and retain good technicians who often find career paths clearer in the automotive and heavy engineering sectors.

How many?

And one thing that’s hampering efforts to improve this is the fact that no-one knows exactly how many farm machinery sales and service outlets there are.

David Kirschner, who is working with industry Sector Skills Council and training body Lantra and BAGMA, the dealers association, says that there could be more than 3000 individuals and firms selling and servicing farm equipment.

These range in size from big dealers down to one-man-bands, not to mention farmers and contractors who employ mechanics to work on other peoples’ machinery as well as their own.

Second-hand equipment

Plus there are a myriad of firms dealing in second-hand equipment, installing milking parlours and grain driers and selling or servicing forestry, landscaping, professional groundcare and lawn and garden equipment.

The survey is supported by the Agricultural Engineers Association, BAGMA, and IAgrE.

Mr Kirschner hopes that the results will give an insight into future recruitment requirements, identify specific regional problems, target resources to gain maximum effect and assist in the development of qualifications that the industry recognises and values.

The survey can be completed online by visiting lantra’s website. Alternatively, for a hard copy of the survey or to complete the form over the phone, send your contact details to David Kirschner or phone him on 01278-691188.