An open day by Case IH main dealer Collings Bros Ltd, at its Abbotsley, Cambs main depot was well attended, despite a spell of warm, dry weather encouraging many farmers to make the most of the opportunity for field work. David Williams reports.
Collings Bros and Case IH representatives are pictured at the open day in front of the Case IH tractor line up which includes the dealer’s own 300hp Optum demonstrator. Pictured (l-r) are Case IH harvester manager Robin McArd; Case IH harvester and large tractor specialist Paul Freeman; CNH Capital Finance representative Fran Jacobs; John Northen; area service manager Sam Davies; Case IH demonstrator Ed Watson; Rebecca Baker, Peter Chessum, Ben Wood, Tony Fincham and Case IH area sales manager David Redman.
Collings Bros looks after customers in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire from its two depots; Abbotsley in Cambridgeshire and Brigstock, Northants. Franchises for many leading brands are held and the dealer’s experience looking after a wide variety of farms, many of which include challenging land, means it enjoys a loyal following in its trading areas.
The annual open day on 23rd March, included main brands; Case IH, Merlo, Great Plains, Richard Western, Stocks-Ag, Kuhn, Lely, Quivogne, Cousins, Bomford and Husqvarna along with Martin Lishman, Cherry Products and Kramp.
Collings Bros sales director Tony Fincham was pleased with the open day. “We had good attendance considering the dry weather was ideal for drilling, and gained some excellent leads for follow up and, although times are tough in the agricultural market, the atmosphere throughout the day was positive.”
New Great Plains X-Press disc cultivators were launched late in 2015, replacing the previous version and extending versatility. The new range includes mounted 2.5m-4.0m versions and trailed models from 4.6-10.0m. Suitable for shallow stubble cultivations, to work down ploughed land for drilling, the X-Press has two rows of discs all with adjustable working angles. Alternative patterns, including notched cultivation discs or SoilRazor, are available along with a choice of rear press. Pictured with the 5m version displayed are (l-r) Collings Bros area sales representative based at Brigstock,e Ben Wood, Great Plains area sales manager Jason Weston and Collings Bros area sales representative based at Abbotsley Rebecca Baker. “We have recently delivered the first Saxon drills to users following demonstrations in the autumn,” explained Ben. “They can be adapted for semi-direct drilling into cover crops or for traditional cultivation seeding and this versatility is proving popular. Widths of 3m, 4m and 6m means we have an option for most farms.
Kuhn products on display included a front and rear tank combination sprayer, ordered from the dealer by a Hertfordshire farmer. The Altis 2002 rear unit has 2,000 litres capacity and is equipped with 24m 3-stage folding aluminium booms and has 7-section GPS-controlled switching. The front tank incorporates its own pump and has a single pipe to the rear so all filling can take place from the front tank for convenience, but it can also be used for clean water. “We are experiencing increased demand for this versatile type of sprayer as it offers excellent weight distribution and provides a cost-effective alternative to a medium-sized, self-propelled sprayer,” explained Kuhn regional sales manager Paul Gregory, who is pictured with Kuhn’s area service manager Matt Grew (left) and Rebecca Baker who sold the machine.
Ben Wood (left) joined Collings Bros as a trainee in 2015 and now works with John Northen at the Brigstock depot. “I look after customers in Northants and Leicestershire,” explained Ben, “where most farms are mixed arable and livestock so there is demand for tractors across the Case IH range and machinery from all our franchises. I have already sold five tractors since I joined John there late last year including two Farmalls, several Maxxums and a used Puma and I have also recently supplied a Kuhn feeder wagon which is proving ideal on a 300-head dairy unit.”
Stocks-Ag wheel equipment along with seeding and spreading machinery is supplied through the dealer and was displayed at the event. “Increased interest in cover crops is resulting in demand for our Turbo-Jet distributor which is available with metering rollers for all common seed sizes,” explained sales director Rick Parker. “We are also busy manufacturing and supplying tractor wheel spacer kits to match the wide wheel spacings of modern large self-propelled sprayers,” he added. “Wider booms mean users prefer to set the wheels out to 2.25m for added stability, but this means tractors with mounted spreaders tend to be too narrow. Where wheel adjustment is limited, for example where fixed rims are used, spacer kits provide the extra width needed.” Rick is pictured with a Stocks Fan Jet slug pellet applicator at the event and was keen to remind growers that all slug pellet applicators will soon require regular testing under the NSTS scheme.
Tony Fincham received an award from Case IH in recognition of the dealer having met Certified Dealer Standards including sales, service and parts back-up targets. Pictured with Tony is Case IH area service manager Sam Davies (left) and area sales manager David Redman.
David Hunt farms near Woburn, Beds trading as Henry Hunt & Son and visited the open day while collecting a part for one of his Case IH tractors. David took delivery of a new Kuhn Axis 40.2W spreader during February, having ordered it late last year. It is his first with weigh-cells and he said its performance and accuracy are excellent. “We have a traditional mixed farm with sheep and Christmas turkeys and our crops include oilseed rape, spring barley, winter wheat and spring beans,” he said. “We gave a lot of thought to the spreader purchase and looked at various options at shows last year, but also determined through discussions with existing users that the Kuhn would be our best option. Another attraction was that the service from Collings Bros is extraordinarily good. We are a distance from the branch but, because the staff are so knowledgeable about their products, they will often talk us through any issues by phone which saves time and a visit. We run two Case IH tractors; a Puma 160 and an MX140 which were both supplied through the dealer, and they suit us well.”
David is pictured (left) with Rebecca Baker, who looks after the Hunt’s account, and Paul Gregory.
Merlo handlers displayed included the latest 11m, 4.5t capacity TF45-11. Expected to be popular with straw contractors and AD plant operators, the machine displayed was the first of its type in the UK, with deliveries expected to users in time for harvest. Cab suspension is standard, as is frame levelling and 40kph CVT transmission. A similar model, but offering 5t capacity and 8m reach, will also join the line-up and both new models are equipped with weigh-log technology, explained Merlo area sales manager for the south-east and south-west James Allen who is pictured (right) with Tony Fincham.
The Martin Lishman Grain Clinic provides an opportunity for farmers to bring along grain moisture meters for checking, calibration and certification. Attending dealer open days and events across the UK ahead of harvest, this ‘annual tour’ is popular as meters can be checked for accuracy without the need to send them away.