Sharing farm machinery

Sharing farm machinery
©brizmaker, image #171421121, 2017, source:
Energy, Materials, Waste, Carbon
Food processing
Medium cost
Annual saving:
0 - 40 %
Total cost savings:
Depends on how many users share the asset, how often it is shared and how it is treated (leading to major repairs or early replacement); e.g. 40 % savings could result from a shared machine between two businesses, taking into account wear and tear and time spent on arrangements and contracts
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes, Supply operations
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Descriptive information:

The season of sharing

  • Labour and machinery savings between € 28 and € 57 per acre
  • Smaller farms can gain access to more modern and larger machinery
  • Reduce labour requirements as farms can pool resources (machinery, employees)

Many businesses, including farms, face tough competition from countries with low-cost labour. And the advanced machinery needed to boost competitive advantage is often costly to buy and maintain, especially for smaller operators, which is why the sharing economy is an ideal option. Digital technology and online platforms, such as the UK based Farm Machinery Locator, now make this exchange of assets much more efficient and regulated.

Sharing the equipment can be done in different ways. Neighbouring farms can buy machinery together and split the costs equally or on a pay-per-use basis. During the asset's lifetime, it is important to agree on conditions for using the machinery and things like maintenance and general care, and what happens when a user damages the machinery.

Key benefits

Collective arrangements for expensive assets, in particular, help to share the costs of capital and depreciation, while offering access to a wider range of the latest equipment at lower costs. Farms can also pool resources, which includes labour and even non-farm assets. Labour and machinery savings for crop farms, for instance, have been estimated at between £ 25  (€ 28) and £ 50 (€ 57) per acre.

Some downsides exist, too. For example, if two companies or farms in the same or very similar market need the equipment at the same time (which can happen with seasonal businesses) conflicts can arise. This requires careful planning. In cases where no solution can be found for the specific tool, more generic equipment such as forklifts, loaders and trailers can still be shared.


"The main positives of shared ownership include reduced maintenance and purchase costs for each individual business. Maintenance and running costs are also shared between the collective. Although the cost savings need to be worked out carefully, crop farms can expect labour and machinery savings of between £25 and £50 per acre... Efficiencies are also made through access to more modern and larger machinery that would otherwise be out of reach for the small to medium farms. Finally, many joint machinery ownership ventures reduce labour requirements as farms can pool their available employees." - Farm Machinery Locator blog

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