An open day in late February at the Used Machinery Centre (UMC) in Saxham, Suffolk
An open day in late February at the Used Machinery Centre (UMC) in Saxham, Suffolk, included a large selection of used and ex-demonstration machinery along with displays highlighting the latest services available from Claas dealers Manns and Kirby. David Williams was there.
The six branches that make up Manns and Kirby look after customers across East Anglia and Leicestershire. Its Saxham branch is home to the only manufacturer-owned dedicated used machinery centre in the UK, and the purpose-built complex includes a 27,000ft2 showroom and display area, a meeting room, and sales offices along with plenty of outdoor space for new and used machines. “Our approved used machinery is thoroughly checked and serviced, and sold with the reassurance of a warranty,” explained sales director Paul Moss. “We work hard to ensure machines are as close to new condition as possible, to the extent that customers have mistaken them for brand new.”
For the open day, used machines were transported to Saxham from other depots providing a superb display of quality used harvesters and tractors, and there were genuine one-day special offers including a Claas Lexion 760 combine for just 129,500, fully serviced and complete with header, and representing a saving of 17,500. Five machines were in a sealed bid auction, including a Claas baler, a Scorpion handler, and several tractors – all of which sold for considerably more than their starting bids.
Many new Claas products were on show along with supplier displays including Brocks Wheel & Tyre, Suffolk Police, Cesar, Cherry Products, Tama and Granit.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the event,” stated Paul. “Anyone involved in hosting an open day like this will know the amount of work that goes into setting it up and my team has done a fantastic job and I thank them for what they have achieved. The reward for their efforts was an attendance of approximately 300 new and existing customers – not only to show them support, but to spend money too. This, of course, is always appreciated but in this current climate to achieve sales close to 1m on the day is a fantastic result. I am a firm believer that you get out of life what you put in, and we certainly put a lot in and weren’t disappointed with what we got out.”
The success of the 2016 Green Thursday event, and its popularity with customers, was such that Manns and Kirby have decided it should become an annual fixture, and the event will be held again at Saxham on Thursday 23rd February 2017. “It provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to find out about the products and services we offer, and to take advantage of some very special deals,” explained Paul. “Comments we had from customers were extremely positive and it was just as useful for those who were not in the market for machinery, but who enjoyed an evening catching up on industry news with friends and colleagues as well as the Manns and Kirby staff.”
Pictured with one of the Jaguar forage harvesters sold at the open day are members of the T & J Bower Agri Contractors’ team and David Flippance who is a field sales manager, based at Kirby’s Market Harborough depot. Owner Tom Bower explained that his contracting business is involved primarily with forage crops including harvesting 3,000 acres of grass and 1,000 acres of maize, all grown for fodder. “We had a Claas Jaguar 900 previously,” he said, “and it had proved excellent so, although we looked at and tried many of the other main brands last season, we felt that Claas Jaguar machines continued to offer the best overall package. My son James is the main operator and he considered access for servicing and convenience of operation as well as value for money, but the back-up from Kirby featured just as highly with excellent parts availability and after-sales service. The dealer always has a back-up machine available, providing reassurance in case of breakdowns. We came to the Green Thursday event specifically to look at forage harvesters and knew that this machine would be available to view and expected a better deal on the day. This proved to be the case, and it was so good that we also ordered a new maize header to complement the 3m grass header fitted to the 960 we have purchased. We are delighted to have invested in another Jaguar as we are sure it will prove to be a first class machine,” he added.
Pictured with the Jaguar 960 ordered by T & J Bower are (l-r) David Flippance, James Bower, Charlie Stanhope and Tom Bower. Charlie is James’ cousin and will be joining the contracting business this year for the forage season.
A demonstration, by Manns service staff, of a Xerion 5000 tractor powering a dynamometer attracted considerable interest. Throughout the evening the tractor was put through its paces on an automated test cycle and constantly achieved in excess of 470hp, way in excess of its rated 437hp. Pictured watching the display are (l-r) Claas UK sales office administrator Tom Wright, finance department member Katie Pullinger, Saxham workshop foreman Daniel Cracknell, Spaldwick workshop foreman James Harrison, and Saxham workshop manager Tom Gutteridge.
Brocks Wheel & Tyre is based near Thaxted, Essex and offers wheels and tyres for every agricultural application. It imports and manufactures wheels to suit specific requirements and also stocks a wide selection of used wheels and tyres at competitive prices. “We work closely with Manns and Claas throughout the UK,” explained Lydia Freeman who is involved with logistics and sales support. “We can supply heavy duty narrow wheels to fit almost any size tractor and are especially busy at this time of year, so have to work hard to make sure we have stocks arriving fast enough to keep up with demand.” Pictured with Lydia (left) is Victoria Freeman who has an accountancy role at BWT and was providing support on the day.
Jim Mann is from locally-based TS Mann Farms. Jim’s father and grandfather farmed at Saxham since the 1920s during which time Manns of Saxham started trading on the farm, selling Lanz tractors and associated products. The farm is all arable with wheat, barley, sugar beet and maize – grown for a local AD plant. The machinery fleet, naturally, includes many Claas products including a Tucano 450 combine, a Scorpion 630 telescopic handler and Arion 630 and 640 tractors. “We have always run Claas combines but moved to Claas tractors, initially running one tractor with another hired in at busy times of the year. Since having two proved useful, we approached the company for a deal to supply two next time we updated. The Arions are three and five years old and have been excellent. We would certainly go for Arions again,” he explained. “We deal with Paul Moss, mainly, when we are purchasing machines but get on well with all the staff including those in the Service and Parts departments. Being next door to Claas UK is like having our own stores though – it is so convenient for us,” he added.
Jim was at the open evening to catch up with news from other farms in the area as well as to see what products were on display, and ordered a Cherry products loader bucket at the event. Jim is pictured (right) with Saxham-based field sales manager David Carver.
Agricultural machinery theft remains an issue and Claas is working with Suffolk Police to raise risk awareness. The Claas police tractor has been attending events in the region for the past two years and carries Cesar anti-theft identification markings. Pictured with the tractor are (l-r) Cesar police liaison and training officer Vince Wise, Manns Braintree general sales manager and special constable attached to Suffolk Police Chris Chilvers and Suffolk Police rural and wildlife crime officer Mark Bryant.
Representing Cesar, which is owned by the AEA and the CEA and aims to help reduce theft and aid recovery of agricultural and construction machinery, was Vince Wise. “Approximately 85 per cent of self-propelled agricultural and construction machines are now marked with Cesar identification, making them less desirable to thieves as they are harder to sell on,” he explained. “An option on Claas products, Cesar often attracts premium discounts from insurers, including the NFU. On a Claas combine or tractor the cost is just 100 and there is no annual subscription so it is great value. It can be fitted to new machines before delivery or retro-fitted later, but is only available from approved installers. A typical 12.5 per cent discount on combine insurance results from statistics which show equipment is six times less likely to be stolen and four times as likely to be recovered if it has Cesar identification.”
Paul and Nick Farrow of Acle, Norfolk-based PW & NG Farrow visited the open day with Ian Hilton who helps out on the family’s mixed farm. “We deal with the Thursford and Saxham branches of Manns,” explained Paul, “and receive excellent service from Simon Bloomfield who looks after our account. We have had seven or eight Claas combines over the years, starting with one of the very first trailed models about 60 years ago and we have always liked the product, found it reliable and experience little downtime for maintenance or repairs. Our current machine has been used for three years and, apart from routine maintenance, we haven’t needed to do anything to it. Our crops include spring and winter barley, wheat, sugar beet and vining peas and we also have a 70-cow suckler herd. We have come along to look around, and to catch up with all the news from Manns’ team.”
Pictured (l-r) are Nick, Paul and Ian.
Doug and Charlie Tomkins had travelled from near Bedford. Trading as DTA Tomkins, their farming and contracting business includes arable and grass operations and 262ha (650 acres) of combinable crops including wheat, oilseed rape, peas and barley. There are also 80ha (200 acres) of grass in environmental stewardship schemes which is used to generate energy through solar panels, and is also home for a suckler herd of 100 Limousine-cross cattle which will be sold as stores and 150 sheep, comprising mule ewes and Suffolk rams. Doug (left) and Charlie are pictured with Kirby field sales manager Trevor Smith (centre), who is based at the company’s Spaldwick depot and a Lexion 580 combine which they ordered at the event. “For the past two months we have been considering options for updating our current machine,” explained Charlie. “We have looked at other brands too, but were keen to remain with Claas as our current Lexion 430 is 19 years old and has been excellent during its past 11 seasons with us. The new machine will be our fourth Claas harvester and we are looking forward to receiving it.”
We often use Farmers Guide’s classified section to sell our surplus machines and like the magazine for its editorial content and adverts and always read it cover to cover.”
Bale wrap, net and twine manufacturer Tama area sales manager Warren Tatton looks after the central, eastern and northern regions of England and is also the regional technical manager for the UK and Irish markets. “We will be especially busy from mid-March onward as customers stock up for the grass harvest season,” he commented. “We have invested 50m Euros in a new twine range for large square balers with 9,600ft of twine in a pack compared with 7,200ft in a standard pack. This 33 per cent extra will reduce the cost of baling and results from improved production techniques and cooperation during development with several manufacturers. Even after the additional cost of the larger rolls, there is a five per cent price advantage and we know that Claas customers will welcome the extra length per spool, available in Claas packs from Claas dealers.”
Enjoying the opportunity to catch up with local news were members of Hadleigh Young Farmers Club who are all involved in agriculture in the local area and happened to meet up at the event. Pictured in front of the sealed bid auction machinery are (l-r) George Halsall, Dan Cracknell, Will Gadd, Elaine Engle, Tom Debenham, James Gadd and Robyn Ryan.