Aussie farmers welcome machinery 'Uber' start-ups

DUBBED the ‘Uber for farming machinery’, United States-based business MachineryLink is inspiring farmers in Australia to delve into the agriculture machinery-sharing market.
Aussie farmers welcome machinery 'Uber' start-ups Aussie farmers welcome machinery 'Uber' start-ups Aussie farmers welcome machinery 'Uber' start-ups Aussie farmers welcome machinery 'Uber' start-ups Aussie farmers welcome machinery 'Uber' start-ups

Alex Paull

MachineryLink was founded 16 years ago in Kansas City, and now has 1400 registered farmers sharing machinery across 26 states.

The equipment sharing platform offers an easy way for farmers to find machinery and equipment required, while also allowing farmers to post their idle equipment to help out fellow farmers, and receive an additional source of revenue in return.

It checks users’ insurance and even coordinates transport if required, while equipment users are responsible for the care and safekeeping of the equipment from the time of delivery through the time of return. 

The niche idea – which started off as a combine-leasing business – has grown exponentially, and the idea has spawned similar businesses in Australia.

AgTribe founder and Wagga Wagga farmer Andrew Stevens founded his machinery-sharing business in December.

The core tenet of the business is connecting the owner of idle machinery to the farmer who needs to hire machinery in an efficient and cost effective way.

He told The Weekly Times that in one year, the business has a network of registered farmers and contractors, with 70 pieces of equipment available for hire.

“We have more people signing up all the time,” Stevens said. 

“I’m trying to base users around Wagga Wagga, just to try to get transactions happening.”

Similarly, Share Your Farming Gear also launched a searchable online database of machinery and contracting services last year. 

It is free to list or search for machinery and services on the database, which allows anyone to compare their current machinery costs with alternatives available through the system. 

It only charges when a user wants to connect with the lister of a machine or service, and also insures the user against any damage risks. The company is currently in talks with a number of insurance brokers to cover users of the site in the event they have requested and not received critical pieces of machinery during time-sensitive periods, such as harvesters during harvest.

Is this the new future for machinery acquisition in Australia?