A brand new depot, built on a greenfield site on the edge of Cirencester, was official opened by Claas Western in late January
A brand new depot, built on a greenfield site on the edge of Cirencester, was official opened by Claas Western in late January, a significant investment welcomed by farmers and contractors in the region. An open evening allowed potential and existing customers to join the celebrations and, with all the latest products on display and manufacturer and dealer staff on hand to discuss the range, the event was a great success. David Williams was there.
The Claas brand has been well represented in the area for many years, with Mill Engineers providing its services and in 2002 joining forces with Vaughan Agri. In late 2015 the two dealerships were rebranded to embrace the extended coverage of all six branches of the two businesses, and now trade under one fully integrated business Claas Western.
The success of the Claas brand in recent years has been due to a combination of factors including a strong dealer network and a superb range of products. This has meant that the previous Bibury site, which served farmers around Cirencester for several decades, had outgrown itself and modern large machinery had to compete for space during servicing and repairs in the workshops. The new site, at Cotswold Agricultural Centre near the Spine Road junction, is adjacent to the large Countrywide Store and Cirencester livestock market. The space available has been well utilised, a purpose built facility accommodating a large showroom, sales, accounts, parts and service departments, all laid out in the latest Claas corporate style which has also been employed at other new branches owned by Claas.
The total site area is approximately four acres of which half an acre is under cover, and there is plenty of space for future expansion when needed.
Growth in customer numbers and sales had meant the previous depot was under pressure, but the new facilities, including the larger workshops and parts stores have space for additional members to be added to the teams to maintain the levels of back-up for which the brand has developed its great reputation.
The new depot, which is now fully operational, serves the area as far north as Bishops Cleeve, Gloucestershire, east to Oxford, south to Swindon and west to the Severn Estuary, and employs 27 people; including 13 in the workshops, 3 looking after customers’ parts requirements and 5 in sales.
The new 8,000ft2, 8 bay workshop is big enough to accommodate the largest Claas combines, and the building is equipped with the latest lighting, heating and ventilation systems to provide a superb working environment for its technicians. “We are absolutely delighted with the new workshop,” commented workshop manager Nick Evans. “Previously we had to spend time shunting machines in and out each morning and evening when the workshop was full, but with the space available now we will be far more efficient. We have always prided ourselves on the level of customer care we provide and the new facilities will enable us to further expand our service reputation.
“The workshop staff love the new building. It is a comfortable working environment and features such as the lighting help reduce fatigue and this all helps us provide an even better service to farmers and contractors in the area.”
The sales offices and admin offices are adjacent to the showroom on the ground floor. On the first floor are meeting rooms, which provide a comfortable facility for group training sessions and new product launches. Sales director Will Greenway said the location couldn’t be better as it is easy to get to from all the main routes with decent surrounding roads enabling easy lorry access.
Approximately 700 visitors attended, many of which are already Claas Western customers, but there was also considerable interest from those currently operating other brands, keen to see what the dealer had to offer.
An open invitation to the evening event was sent out to prospective and existing customers within the Cirencester area and representatives from the main brands were on-hand to provide information and help dealer staff handle the many enquiries. Approximately 700 visitors attended, many of who were already familiar with the team at the branch, but Will commented that there were also many who were not currently operating Claas machinery, but who have been considering moving to the brand for its product range and back-up, and who are encouraged by the level of investment and commitment to agriculture in the area, by Claas Western.
Richard Western trailers is a long-established brand represented by Claas Western, its line-up popular with grassland and cereal farmers as well as contractors. “Claas Western and Claas Southern represent our brand across all the depots,” explained Richard Western sales director Michael Murray who was at the event. “This new depot is a great opportunity for Claas, and for us to develop our business further. We are enjoying a good start to the year and are seeing a definite trend toward larger trailers. The Cirencester depot serves arable and livestock farmers and there is a lot of grassland in the area too, so popular products from our range include all the trailers as well as side- and rear-discharge muck spreaders. There is no doubt that this new depot will delight the customers and the number of people attending the evening shows the level of support for the Claas brand.”
The official opening was carried out by Claas UK CEO Trevor Tyrell and, in his presentation speech, he described his admiration for the reputation and high regard with which the dealer staff were held by those who rely on them to keep their machinery operating in the area. “I can think of no other dealership the Claas family would be more proud of,” he said. continued over…
Pictured at the depot opening event with Claas Western Marlborough service engineer George Dyke (second from left) are Jeff Homer (left), Matt Wood (second from right) and David Homer. The Homers farm near Marlborough, Wilts and the enterprise is a mix of tenanted and contract-farmed land, comprising two dairy farms and arable crops which include cereals and grass. The Homers have been dealing with the Claas Western business since they moved from a competitor brand to Claas six years ago. The first Claas product on the farm was an Arion 640 tractor, and this so impressed the family that a Scorpion telehandler was bought soon after. “The product and service are very good, and if we have a problem, then as soon as we pick up the phone they are keen to help, even if the query involves a brand or machine they didn’t supply and that is the kind of service which makes a difference to us,” explained David.
The farm’s Claas fleet includes a Scorpion 7050, a Tucano 420 combine, a Variant 385 baler and three Arion tractors; a 630, a 640 and a 650 as well as a smaller Celtis 446RX.
“I think the Scorpion is the best handler on the market, it drives well, it is very comfortable and the visibility is excellent,” said Jeff. “Ours works approximately 1,000 hours per year, handling grain and bales and it is kept busy on the dairy units mucking out,” added David.
Matt is the Arion 640’s main operator and he also drives the Scorpion regularly. “I came to the farm straight from Plumpton College a few years ago and the mix of dairy and arable farming appealed,” he said. “I think the Claas machines are very well designed and they are comfortable to use which makes a difference when you are in the cab much of the day.”
The group are pictured beside a used Scorpion displayed at the event, which was one the family had part-exchanged just a few weeks previous, replaced by a new machine. It had been refurbished and was being sold through the Claas Approved used scheme. “We are on our third Scorpion,” explained David. “It is the one machine which is used every day of the year and we usually replace the handler every three years. Since buying the first one, we have had no hesitation purchasing another of the same brand and we know that if there is a breakdown then a machine will turn up on our farm within a few hours, even if it has to be sourced from another branch within the group. The same applies for the tractors and we appreciate that service.”
Trevor Tyrell addressed the many farmers and contractors at the event, stating that the Claas family would be immensely proud of the dealer staff that have built such a reputation in the area.
The management team at Claas Western. (l-r) used machinery manager Richard Charman, branch sales manager Andrew Roach, service manager Nick Evans, after sales director Steve McCahill, parts manager James Stow and sales director Will Greenway.
Mike Morrissey who trades as MP&CA Morrissey Ltd, is a contractor based in Ewen, near Cirencester, specialising in silage and bales. Approximately 2,000ha (5,000 acres) of forage are made by the company each season including wholecrop rye, maize for dairy and beef and grass. New for this year are 280ha (700 acres) of hybrid rye too. A Claas Jaguar 970 forage harvester is operated, working with 12-row maize and 6m grass headers.
Other Claas machinery operated by Mike includes a set of triple mowers and a 4-rotor rake. “We used another brand of forage harvester for years,” commented Mike, “before we moved to the Jaguar and we are on our fifth set of Claas triple mowers and our fourth 4-rotor rake, usually operated by my wife Caroline. “We moved to Claas originally because we knew the back-up provided would be good and we are very well looked after by Andrew Golledge, the salesman, and Nick Evans, the workshop manager who, with the rest of the staff, look after our account. They are all first class, knowledgeable and if we have a problem we know they will sort it quickly and efficiently.”
Mike (left) is pictured with Caroline and Nick.
A selection of products from the Lemken range was displayed, including the new Vega 12 trailed sprayer which had been ordered by a local customer and was the first of the new models to be sold in the UK, and also the first to be sold in Europe. “It has been purchased by a long-standing customer, Maurice Flower & Son Ltd, based at Chilmark, Wiltshire,” explained Claas Western field sales manager Richard Hutchinson, who is based at the company’s Marlborough depot. “It is a 20m 4,000-litre model and has full Isobus compatibility and will be working behind a Claas tractor, also supplied from there. We believe the specification and build quality will prove ideally suited to the farm’s needs and we are looking forward to seeing it in use.”
Richard commented that he has sold several Lemken mounted sprayers, all of which are performing well and that the back-up from Lemken is excellent with dependable service ensuring the dealer staff can look after customers’ needs. “The sprayers, just like the cultivation equipment, are well made, well engineered and the brand complements the Claas product well.”
Pictured with the new sprayer are (l-r) Lemken area support manager for the SouthWest Mike Stacey, Richard Hutchison and Lemken UK general manager Paul Creasy.
Simon Scott and his daughter Brittany were at the open evening. Trading as WF Scott & Son the family business includes beef and dairy enterprises and offers a contracting service from its base at Brinkworth, Wiltshire to approximately 35 farms in the area. The dairy herd includes approximately 120 cows and 150 followers and the contracting business is 90 per cent grassland work, including silage making, baling and all related activities. Claas 6-rotor mounted tedders are operated as well as a Claas rake and the family has dealt with Mill Engineers and, more recently, Claas Western for many years. “The Claas machinery is very good and the back-up from the dealer is excellent,” explained Simon. “This new Cirencester branch is just 13 miles from us, so very convenient and I will be tempted to look at other Claas kit as well as the brands and products handled by the dealer now, with these new facilities available. It is reassuring to see this level of investment. Brittany and I have come along this evening to catch up with colleagues and friends. Brittany does most of the milking and is machinery mad, so very much involved with all the activities. We have both had a very enjoyable and interesting evening.”
u Iron Acton, Gloucestershire-based RO Williams & Son is a farming and contracting business, with its own arable crops which are mainly cereals and the company offers a full contracting service from drilling to harvest as well as fencing and digger hire. A Claas Jaguar 950 forage harvester processes approximately 1,600ha (3,500 acres) of grass, 80-120ha (200-300 acres) of whole crop and 600ha (1,500 acres) of maize. Other Claas machinery operated includes a square baler, three Claas rakes and the business also operates two, 6-row Gaspardo maize drills supplied by the dealer which, between them, establish approximately 600ha (1,500 acres) of maize each year. “We deal with the Cirencester branch,” explained Andy Williams (left), “and are looked after by Andy Roach (right) and Nick Evans in the service department. The back-up is excellent with superb availability of parts which is essential for our business.”
Lemken South West area sales manager Richard Relph discusses features of the latest Lemken ploughs with a visitor at the open evening.
The new Shredlage maize processor is a recent addition to the Claas range, providing increased palatability of the crop for ruminants. Claas Green Harvest product manager Dean Cottey (right) explains the design to an interested visitor at the event.
u The open evening was an ideal opportunity to recognise staff achievements, with so many customers present and pictured is Graham Probert who was presented with an award for 40 years service, having been employed with Mill Engineers since 1975. Previously working in the service department Graham later moved to parts and is now parts supervisor at the Cirencester depot. Graham (centre) is pictured receiving his award from Steve McCahill (left) and Trevor Tyrell.
Claas UK and Claas Western teams in the new showroom at the start of the evening. The Cirencester team is delighted with the new facility and believes it will be able to provide an even better service to its customers.