"The biggest tractor that we had to sell in 1976, and I'm going to relate it to that because that's when I came here and entered the retail business. The biggest tractor we had at that time would be – It was a 806 and it was a diesel. It was 83 horsepower [with diesel fuel], and the gas was just a few horsepower less than that. Today, the tractor that we sell the biggest number of is 200 horsepower plus. And the biggest one is over 300 horsepower. So, and costs have gone right with it. But oh, the environment that the farmer works in now compared to back in 1976 is really a huge change. It costs a lot of money. But, boy, is it nice. Heated seats, air conditioning, climate control, heated mirrors, anything that you have in the automobile industry you can get in your farm tractor."
     [Question:] "Are those just luxuries or are those necessities?"
     "I would say for the way the farmer, when he wants to put his crops in, he considers it a necessity. He really does."
     [Question:] "Do you?"
     "I consider what the farmer considers, that he's right. I will give him what he wants. And we do."
     [Question:] "Why do you need 300 horsepower tractors?"
     "Because they want to go over the acres they have with whatever equipment as quickly as they can. To give you an idea, like a corn planter doesn't take much to pull them. You know, that 80 horsepower tractor has absolutely no [problem with a small planter.] We sold a 24-row corn planter this week. And with the equipment and all the extra stuff that they have on it, it says right there you have to have at least 220 horsepower and a ton of hydraulics to operate it. And hydraulics is a huge thing in the newer equipment. Electric hydraulics, hydraulic motors controlled by electric. It's quite sophisticated, very efficient, works great, extremely costly."

Jim Ermer – Tractor Technology


Other Excerpts from Jim Ermer’s Interview:

The Bust of the 80s
Government Subsidies
Jim's Immigrant Parents
Farm Equipment Brands
Planter Technology
Harvest Technology
Computers on the Farm
About David Wessels