A dealer open day arranged to allow customers of George Browns Chesham branch to wish area sales manager Trevor Bateman well for his retirement
A dealer open day arranged to allow customers of George Browns Chesham branch to wish area sales manager Trevor Bateman well for his retirement, and to thank him for his service over the years, was attended by more than 200 people. David Williams was there. The open day, on March 25th, attracted customers from across the area served by George Browns Chesham branch, many of who had been looked after by retiring sales manager Trevor Bateman for many years. George Browns has six branches serving an area which includes parts of Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire and is a main dealer for Kubota as well as several leading implement brands. Its Chesham branch looks after the needs of customers of all farm types from smallholders and nurseries to large arable farms, livestock farms and estates. Until recently the dealer represented the Valtra tractor brand along with Kubota, and Caterpillar loaders, and although it still provides service and repairs for Valtra tractors it no longer supplies the tractors new. Kuhn, Warwick Trailers, Major, Bomford, K-Two and Browns Agricultural Machinery products are all supplied by George Browns, and with a wide selection of products on show at the open day were representatives from the main suppliers, providing specialist advice to new and existing customers. George Browns agricultural manager Roger Freeman who was delighted with the attendance at the event, said: I first met Trevor when he interviewed me for a sales roll in 1999, he explained. I joined the company as a junior sales representative and Trevor took me under his wing and shared his many years of experience with me, to help develop my career. I had a short break from Browns and returned in 2009 as agricultural manager and, although technically his line manager we picked up where we left off, working together and sharing knowledge as a team. Trevor has continuously provided leading results in the agricultural sales team and I was very pleased to see so many of his customers at the open day to wish him all the best and to meet the new sales team. With the new agricultural tractor product line coming from Kubota later this year this really is the start of a new beginning. Guests enjoyed a superb selection of food, including locally-produced lamb burgers from a nearby farm. Projected onto a large screen were photographs covering the 36 years since Trevor Bateman had joined the dealer, many of them featuring customers in attendance on the day as well as machinery sold by Trevor. He commented that he was flattered by the number of customers who attended; I have been very lucky to work in an industry where I have made so many friends, among my customers and my fellow staff at the dealer and within the industry generally, he said. Over the years customers become friends as we work together to find solutions to various problems and I will miss them when I have retired. George Browns is a very good employer, a great company to work for with some excellent franchises, and my fellow staff are a great team, he added. I am looking forward to starting my retirement after my final working day on 31st March, but will miss the industry and my customers, he added. Pictured in 1993, and again at the open day are (l-r) Ron Higgs of RC&A Higgs, who farms at Sarratt, Trevor Bateman and Bill Barr who farms at St Albans, Hertfordshire.
The early picture shows the three on a visit to the Manitou factory in France, and Bill Barr commented that he bought one of the first articulated loaders from the company, to be supplied in the UK. He used to keep pigs but now the farm is arable and its buildings are used for other purposes. Cropping is all cereals with some grass, and Browns has supplied tedders and mowers as well as a brand new Kuhn mower for the coming season.
Rons farm is all arable, including oilseed rape, barley and wheat and he is the third generation of his family to farm the land. I deal regularly with Browns, he said, and have always got on well with everyone there; particularly the stores and workshop staff who are excellent. I have bought all my tractors from the dealer, and run Valtras, all bought from Trevor. We have a Kuhn trailed mower too, and have invested in a Kuhn SW4004 wrapper, capable of wrapping square and round bales ready for the coming season as we do some contracting as well, and supply haylage for equestrian use. I have been farming 50 years, dealing with Browns from the start, he added. Long-established brand for Browns is Warwick Trailers and Roger Freeman is pictured (left) with Warwick Trailers managing director Chris Jones. Browns is a very good dealer for Warwick, said Chris. We work together well and our wide range of trailers means we have something suitable for most farms in the area. Currently small tipping trailers for equestrian use and large bale trailers are in demand and we are supplying large numbers of grain trailers too, mainly 14t versions, as well as some larger 18t models. We have invested heavily in recent years to ensure our products are top quality and every trailer is tested on a rolling road and issued with a VOSA test certificate before leaving our premises. We offer a two-year warranty on every new trailer. Export sales are growing too, for all types and sizes.
Warwick started making trailers in 1958, and is still owned by the same family, so there is a lot of pride in the range. Now most grain trailers go out equipped with air brakes and high speed axles, and demand is increasing for high speed bale trailers too, he added. Pictured (l-r) are Susan and Michelle Howie, Trevor Bateman, Browns Chesham assistant service manager Rob Adkins and Iain Howie. The Howies, trading as JR & SM Howie, moved from a family farm in Scotland to a rented farm at Tring in Hertfordshire and then to their own farm at Harefield. The family has a 250-head Jersey dairy herd as well as some arable land for fodder crops. We had recently moved to the farm at Harefield when Browns took on the Valtra franchise and, as we were looking for a new tractor at that time, we bought the first sold by the dealer, a 6550 model, having agreed the deal with Trevor, explained Iain. We run a T171 now, supplied by Browns, and the original, which was a 2004 model, was sold on by the dealer to another local farm and is still in this area.
Iain said most of the farms machines have been supplied by Browns, including balers, mowers, rakes, bale wrappers and a materials handler. Trevor is an excellent salesman and a good friend and we will miss him. We are looking forward to meeting his replacement, Dale, who is coming to the farm next week, but know Trevor will be a hard act to follow.
The Howies show their cattle all over the UK, including events in Scotland. Iain and Susans daughter Sarah, who was not at the open day, shows under the herd prefix Jovial Jerseys and one of her cattle has recently been awarded National Champion and Michelle will be showing her own cattle under her new Dream Maker Jerseys prefix.
Kuhn products have been offered by the dealer for many years, but until 2009 most sales were of grassland products. We sold a variety of Kuhn products, alongside other brands, and we were doing well with the Vicon baler, made by Gelderop. When Kuhn bought the Gelderop factory and sold the baler under the Kuhn brand name it gave us a full range of products to sell, which re-launched the brand for us, and sales took off from there, explained Roger. It is well made, good quality kit and ideal for our area. Since 2009 the amount of business we do with Kuhn has grown massively, and is increasing year on year.
While the grassland range has sold well, there wasnt the same focus on Kuhns cultivation range by the dealer; We were supplying cultivation products to order but didnt give the range the same attention as the grassland machinery. There is something to suit every size and type of farm available and it is all very well made, just like the grassland equipment. We began stocking more of it, with demonstration models available and sales have really taken off and customers are delighted, said Roger. We are working with Kuhn to promote the brand in this area, and have access to the full range of cultivation products to demonstrate.
Pictured with a Kuhn mixer wagon at the open day are (l-r) Paul Richardson, Kuhn area technical support manager for the midlands Paul Jennings, James Gibbins, who sold the mixer to a local farmer, and Kuhn area sales manager for the midlands Simon Heath.
Bomford area sales manager Craig Whiting was at the open day talking with visiting farmers. Browns runs three of our hedgecutters on Kubota tractors on its hire fleet as well as supplying large numbers to farmers and local authorities, said Craig. Our rotary toppers are sold mainly for farm and pasture use and are popular in the region. Browns has had the Bomford franchise for many years and is known for the excellent after-sales service it provides. I know all the staff well and we have a good working relationship.
Craig is pictured with the Buccaneer forestry mulcher which was launched last year and is available with three-point linkage or excavator or digger attachment mounting systems. In the 12 months since we launched it, it has been very successful and has appealed to those engaged in scrub clearance and forestry work, particularly with existing users of our other products. The price is right and it performs well. The smallest SD model, with a 2.25m cut width is priced at 12,000.
One of the youngest visitors to the open day is pictured trying out a Kubota RTV utility vehicle. Lottie Cadman, who has just turned one year old, was accompanied by parents Jack Cadman and Izzy Neal, who have a herd of beef cattle on their family farm at nearby Chivery, and offer a contracting service too.
Pictured with the Kuhn 6f Multi-Master plough which was awaiting delivery to his farm was Richard Gardener (pictured left with Trevor Bateman), who farms 340ha (850 acres) of arable land at Potten End in west Hertfordshire. The new plough is replacing a 5f vari-width of another brand. We use the plough to help deal with black-grass and other weeds and have been using a contractor but aim to do more ourselves, explained Richard. We grow wheat, barley, oilseed rape and oats and managed to get all our autumn crops drilled ok but the barley struggled in the difficult growing conditions initially but recovered well with the warm winter weather. We drilled 28ha (70 acres) of spring barley in mid-March following last year when we were forced to drill some in the spring following the difficult autumn. It did very well, so we decided to drill some this spring too, he said.
Richard said the family farm has been dealing with Browns for many years; My father dealt with the dealer a good 50 years ago, he said, The staff are always friendly and helpful. We have been well looked after by Trevor and we are sure we will get on equally well with Dale, who is taking over the area, and look forward to the continuing relationship. The new plough is the first Kuhn product we have bought for the farm. I was impressed with the build quality, and am sure it will be the right tool for the job.
Kubota tractors and groundscare machinery have been supplied and serviced by the dealer since 1977 and Browns is one of the largest dealers for the brand in the UK. New, larger models introduced in recent years, and with features to suit agricultural users have meant increased sales in the region, the range particularly well suited to mixed and livestock farms. The companys utility vehicles have been popular in the area too, with shoots, large estates and farms appreciating the go-anywhere ability and load carrying capacity of the machines, while causing minimal ground damage.
George Browns is one of our largest dealers for both utility and agricultural specification machines, and the new depot due to open in Essex in mid-May looks an excellent location for sales of the full range of Kubota products, said Kubota area sales manager Phil Brooks, (pictured left with Roger Freeman).
Phil commented that the 100hp M9960 tractor is popular with livestock farms, especially for front-end loader use. It is very manoeuvrable with a 3.5m turning circle, has great all-around visibility and the base specification includes 36 gears and 4wd, and a limited-slip front differential, he said.
Later in 2014 Kubota is due to unveil a new generation of larger tractors, offering close to 200hp, extending the ranges appeal to include mid-sized arable farms. The new models will be an ideal size to suit many farms in George Browns trading area and with the dealer having a large customer base already for tractors of that size, we expect a lot of interest, and that the tractors will prove popular, added Phil.
The new models will be built by Kubota in Europe for worldwide sales and a pre-production example was tested by Browns staff in autumn 2013. We were keen that they should see the new tractor, explained Phil. With their considerable experience of our existing products we value their opinions and our long working relationship means we share considerable trust and knew we could rely on their confidentiality. The Browns family are farmers too, so were ideal people to ask.
Roger Freeman was impressed with the new tractor; We had only a short time driving it, he said, but it was immediately obvious it is a proper agricultural tractor, with an ideal specification for our trading area. The weight and build physique are ideal for a mainline arable tractor, but the cab design is almost identical to the current tractors sharing the excellent visibility and comfortable operator environment. The engine is the same 6.1-litre unit as in the largest of the current models, and that has well-proven reliability and efficiency.
We had a 5f reversible plough on the rear, to see how it handled the weight on the road and were very impressed. Its going to be a good tractor and we are looking forward to having it available. It cant come soon enough, he said.
At the open day was Roger Brill of Peterley Manor Farm, Prestwood, Buckinghamshire. The farm grows top fruit and soft fruit as well as plants, shrubs and Christmas trees for retail sale. Roger uses a Kubota 9540 tractor and a Kubota ride-on mower, the 9540 used for cultivations including power harrowing and ploughing, and for spraying and rolling. It is ideal for us, said Roger. The turning circle is excellent and its design makes it perfect for use with our Hardi fruit sprayer which has a 1,000-litre tank and is used for the Christmas trees and top fruit. We have had the tractor three years or so and are very pleased with it. The dealer provides excellent back-up and friendly service. We have dealt with Trevor and will miss him now he has retired.
Major southern area manager Mike Hubble is pictured (left) with Browns area salesman Paul Richardson and one of the Major toppers displayed. A lot of pasture toppers and tankers are sold in this area, said Mike. The tankers are used for all sorts of slurry as well as for watering applications. We can adapt them for special situations which makes them a popular choice for local authorities as well as farms. In recent years developments on our pasture topper range include the use of higher grade but lighter steel which, along with closer coupled linkage systems, allows wider working widths, and our current range includes models up to 6.2m.
Browns is an excellent dealer for us, and a good loyal company and the sales force is keen and enthusiastic. Customers and suppliers often comment that everyone within the company is approachable, from the top man down, he added.