Panning Brothers are The old tractor and combine parts guys
Traveling north of State Highway 19 west of Gibbon on CR 22, you can spot the place before you see the mailbox number. There’s a very high ARMER radio system antenna and line of old combines extended west of their farm yard.
Dave Panning studied diesel mechanics and his brother Merle studied auto mechanics at Willmar Vocational School decades ago before they returned to the family farm to grow corn and beans, built a shop on the farm and began doing farm implement and vehicle repair work.
“My dad Roland farmed here at the time. We started farming with him and began doing repair work for something else to do,” Dave Panning said. “We bought our first tractor in 1979 at a neighbors’s farm auction. A few weeks ago, we took apart tractor number 961. We do all makes and models. We quit doing repair work someplace along the way. That got pretty complicated.”
Their parts supply includes a large number of gears, all of which are tagged and listed online.
Merle, Dave and his son Ryan buy and sell new, used, and rebuilt tractor and combine parts of all brands and sizes. All their machinery is carefully disassembled, cleaned, and inspected before it is entered into their computer system and placed in their warehouses.
If the Pannings don’t have what you’re looking for, they can find on a nationwide parts locating hotline for hundreds of salvage yards throughout the United States and Canada.
“It keeps us busy in winter and summer. We keep busy farming in spring and fall,” Dave said.
A number of factors affect their tractor and combine parts market.
“There are fewer small farmers now. There are less small dairies that used to buy a lot of parts from us. The technology of modern farm equipment is getting so advanced with computers, a lot of farmers can’t fix a lot of their own stuff now,” Dave said. “With the Internet now, we get calls for parts from all over the place.”
Dave feels low commodity prices the last few years may prompt more farmers to fix their old implements instead of buying new ones.
“There are still a lot of people fixing old equipment up. We will fix a few parts that need work,” Dave said. “A lot of our customers are farmers and restorers. We sell a lot of parts to independent repair shops. UPS is in here just about every day shipping parts. We move a lot of parts over the Internet. Lots of guys make used parts work.”
Dave said many tractors used daily are about 50 years old.
“It works good for us working on the farm. We enjoy it,” Dave said. “Our great grandpa, William (Panning) Sr. homesteaded this farm.”
Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.