The Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA) received a considerable amount of feedback when we reported in our November 17th issue that the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) removed “303” tractor hydraulic fluid (THF) from sale in the state. Nearly all who contacted PQIA expressed support of the MDA’s decision and many feel this action should be implemented by other states in an effort to help protect farmers’ equipment and level the playing field for marketers and retailers to compete. They add, however, that such implementation should allow time for marketers to cycle in current-spec products to avoid costly recalls.
A significant number of those who responded to PQIA’s article agreed to the reasons the MDA removed 303 THF from sale. As made clear in the MDA’s Consumer Protection Alert, “The John Deere (JD) 303 designation is 57 years old and has been obsolete for 43 years. In addition, there are no specifications available for 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluids and, as such, products making only ‘303’ claims cannot be tested to assure compliance with any known specifications. This action is being taken to protect tractor owners from equipment damage.”
Another issue that surfaced from the feedback PQIA receive is that many in- and outside of the lubricants business will benefit from a simple to understand chart illustrating the timeline for John Deere THF specifications and where “303” fluids fit in. In response, PQIA created the reference guide shown above.
Note: As stated in the Missouri Department of Agriculture Consumer Protection Alert, “Companies have been given the opportunity to revise their claims on the container to clearly identify the appropriate use of the product therein. The Department is working with manufacturers, distributors and retailers to ensure a low-cost product with accurate labeling is available in the State of Missouri.”
Click for MDA Consumer Protection Alert
Missouri Orders 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluids Out of the State
The State of Missouri Department of Agriculture Weights, Measures & Consumer Protection Division ordered that effective immediately Tractor Hydraulic Fluid (THF) labeled only as “303” can no longer be sold in the state, and the reason why is clear.
The John Deere (JD) 303 designation is 57 years old and has been obsolete for 43 years. In addition, there are no specifications available for 303 THF, and as such products making only “303” claims cannot be tested to assure compliance with any known specifications. Because of this, in the interest of protecting consumers, the State of Missouri ordered that “303” THF cannot be sold in the state.
Missouri’s banning the sale of “303” THF will have a significant impact due to the proliferation of 303 fluids in the market. These fluids are typically sold as low cost THFs and account for a very significant share of total THF sales. In fact, in some markets they are the leading type sold. Further, they are produced and sold by many lubricant manufacturers, marketers and retailers in the US and some have already received Stop Sale orders from the State of Missouri Department of Agriculture Weights, Measures & Consumer Protection Division.
Although not necessarily a shot heard around the world, the actions taken by the state of Missouri will most certainly send a clear message to marketers, retailers and farmers in other states. Because whereas the State of Missouri is the first to ban the sale of 303 THF, chances are others will follow.