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Investing in Tools or Labor?

A welder is one of those tools that’s definitely advantageous to have on the farm, but is it worth the investment compared with hiring someone to weld for you?

Farmers for the Future (FFTF) member Aaron Dennis has weighed the pros and cons, and he’s decided it’s time to purchase one for his farm operation.

“In the past, it’s always been hired out to a local guy, but I could have already bought one with what I’ve spent on hiring to have it done,” says the Jasper, New York, farmer.

After researching different welders, he reached out to FFTF members who have used various welders firsthand. 

“What’s better? A Lincoln or a Miller?” asks Dennis. “I’m not going to be doing anything major, but I don’t want to be limited. I think I want a wire flux-cored welder. What do people have? What brand seems to be better or more reliable?”

Tony Eickman, a farmer from Templeton, Iowa, offers his opinion on a reliable machine.

“I use the heck out of a Miller 200 welder. It’s a wire welder I’ve had for years that I bought used from a local welder when he traded up. I use it on all jobs – from small to major welding jobs that take all day.”

Experienced welders, including northern Michigan dairy farmer Jeremy Karsten, have utilized both brands.

“I’ve run both Miller and Lincoln welders, and I’ve done a lot of welding. I can say there isn’t much of a difference other than personal preference and brand loyalty,” he says. “They both run great! Lincolns do seem to have a slight advantage with the user-friendliness in working on them, judging from the rigs that I’ve run.”

North Dakota farmer Abram V says, “I have a Miller wire welder. It works great and it’s built tough.”

He shares quite the story to back up his statement. “I was building a hopper cone to set a bin on top of. I had two legs standing up with a part of the top ring on each one (don’t know how much they weigh; two guys can lift them, but I used the loader). One tipped over and fell on the top of the welder. I thought it was going to be toast, but it didn’t even scratch the paint!” he says.

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