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AustralianFarmers

ACCC seeking farmer input to inquiry into farm machinery

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an inquiry into repair markets for agricultural machinery. The inquiry is focussed on the lack of affordable options for farmers needing to repair their farm machinery, and on the ownership of data generated by this machinery.

The National Farmers’ Federation has welcomed this inquiry and encourages all farmers to complete the ACCC’s short survey.

“The costs of repairing and servicing agricultural machinery are significant,” said NFF chief executive Tony Mahar.

“Part of the reason these costs are so high is because farmers are predominantly unable to repair the machinery themselves or use a mechanic of their choice.

“Farmers are generally quite competent when it comes to vehicles and can easily repair minor issues themselves. However, they are often prevented from doing so because it will void the warranty. Instead, they have to pay thousands of dollars to transport their equipment to an authorised repairer or call the repairer to their property.

“There is clearly a lack of competition in the repairs market,” said Mr Mahar.

The survey is also seeking feedback on ownership of the data generated by farm machinery.

“The data generated by modern farm equipment is extremely valuable for farm businesses. It provides all sorts of valuable insights into yield volumes, optimal spray amounts and a variety of other things.

“The NFF has recently released the Australian Farm Data Code which sets out the principles for fair use of data in the industry. For an arrangement to be fair, the farmer must be able to access and retrieve any data that is specific to his/her own farm.

“Currently, farmers often lose access to this data when they switch machinery brands,” said Mr Mahar.

“I encourage all farmers to take a few minutes to complete the ACCC’s survey so that their inquiry can make some changes with real benefits for the industry.”

The ACCC survey is available until 22 April: click here

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