Why you should/shouldn’t share farm machinery?

22 June 2023

Farmers have been sharing their farm machinery for centuries and why not, it’s an effective way to curb the price rises. Let’s explore the benefits and pitfalls of owning and sharing farm machinery and what you need to know.

But proceed with caution. Not every option provides an easy solution that will work for all parties. Some carry more issues than answers, with the potential to cause rifts between your neighbors…


Joining a syndicate allows better machinery to be purchased since the cost spreads over every member.

Downsides? It’s a legal nightmare. Who takes ownership and taxation of the machine on paper? What happens when it's time to sell it but not all members want to part with it? How does every member share the machine equally?

Reciprocal borrowing

Farmers purchase and maintain a single piece of machinery. The group then shares each machine as they require.

Negatives? It still raises the issue of equal sharing between you and your neighbors.

Is your machine being looked after? Will it be returned on time? Where is the liability if someone breaks the equipment or worse, someone is injured?


Don’t want to enter a share agreement? Hire a contractor!

Hiring one comes with several advantages:

- The contractor owns, operates, and maintains the machinery — no maintenance costs on your end!

- Contractors have access to better quality and larger machinery.

Disadvantages? You may not be able to book them for when you need them. With the purpose of their business being to work on everyone's farm, their availability may not suit yours.


Hiring the machinery means you’re not relying on others to finish the job. This cuts the costs of hiring a contractor and ensures the job gets done exactly how you wanted.

Cons? It’s entirely dependent on where you live. Some rural cities may have a machinery hire company, but accessing machinery for hire may not be an option.

To learn more about sharing farm machinery, visit our page at Safe Ag Systems.

What are the Top 10 things to consider when entering a share agreement?

Remember how we mentioned co-op machinery sharing can be a bit of a legal mess at times? To prevent yourself from getting into strife legally or with any farmers you share machinery with, assure you know your rights and everything is documented in a signed contract between everyone.

Things to consider when entering a sharing agreement:

1. Consider a list of rules for the usage and maintenance schedule of the machinery

2 . Record keeping of all Financials related to the machinery and what costs are required from members

3 . Consider how the scheduling of using the machinery will work between members

4. How will maintenance records be kept up to date? – Some members may carry out the maintenance work themselves yet not record it. Others may not do it at all and you’d unknowingly be left with a faulty machine that could be considered a hazard.

5. Ensure all operators of the machinery are rightly trained.

6. Have a Pre-Start Checklist for the machinery – Ensure all members are inspecting it for any issues and that everyone completes it.

7. Members are to record the date, time and any kilometres/miles done in the machine if applicable.

8. When not in use, where is the machine or equipment stored?

9. Classify clear expectations for use – maintenance, hygiene, transport, scheduling, and insurance with policies and procedures.

10. Insurance – is the machinery covered? Does that insurance cover everyone in the agreement to drive it or only specific members?

To learn more about sharing farm machinery, visit our page at Safe Ag Systems.

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