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Root crop specialist opens its doors

A bitterly cold day with a cutting wind did nothing to deter visitors from the annual Burdens Group open day

A bitterly cold day with a cutting wind did nothing to deter visitors from the annual Burdens Group open day, held in December at its Sutterton headquarters, Boston in Lincolnshire.The long-established dealer holds many franchises key to agriculture, horticulture and groundscare operations in its area, including those to suit the specialist vegetable and potato crops around its Lincolnshire base. In 2011, it used its open day to officially announce its appointment as a New Holland dealer for agricultural products, and, one year later, was talking of its success with the brand and announcing its appointment for the utility and groundscare ranges.
“It is 13 months since we entered the partnership with New Holland,” said Burdens Group sales director Shaun Taylor. “The model range complements the area and we have had tremendous support from both new and existing customers who have moved with us to New Holland and are reporting low running costs and excellent fuel efficiency. Tractor operators are impressed with the working environment, and in particular the very good visibility. The power-to-weight ratios are impressive, and we are selling models across the whole range.”
With its location and reputation as a specialist supplier of vegetable handling equipment, the dealer has an import division; products including Tumoba sprout, leek, lettuce, and baby leaf harvesters and Samon toppers and lifters designed primarily for onions. It also brings in Alpego power harrows and rotary cultivators for distribution within the east of the UK.
Other brands represented are Tong Peal, Swiftlift, Walthambury, Pacepacker, Mini Veg Packer and Scotts, all handled from the Sutterton branch.
On the agricultural side, as well as New Holland, brands include Kverneland; Shelbourne Reynolds; Manitou; Agrifac, Simba Great Plains; Alpego and Takeuchi mini-diggers, as well as Timberwolf chippers and shredders.
The latest name to join the dealer is Agrifac sprayers. “We took on Agrifac sprayers just two months ago,” said Shaun. “We had an existing relationship with the company having sold its drain jetters for many years. We had heard good reports about the sprayers regarding their strength of build and reliability, and so it was an easy decision. We have sold four already, and they are out working and performing well with users including arable farmers and vegetable producers.



Burdens Goodacres has been associated with Tong Peal products since 1990, and Goodacres produce handling manager Adrian Harrison (right) said the companies share an excellent working relationship. “Tong Peal is a very innovative company,” he commented. “Its staff listens to feedback from dealers and customers and it’s a business with which we are able to work hand-in-hand to our mutual benefit. The products are British designed and manufactured, and offer excellent value for money, providing cost-effective solutions for growers.”
Adrian pointed out that of the Tong Peal product range, the Caretaker 1800 grading system is the most popular it supplies, complete with an easy clean cleaner and screen module. Most are sold by the dealer for potatoes and onions.
Sales manager for Tong Peal, Nick Woodcock (pictured left), said that business was good at present. “Weather has a big effect on our business and we have many good enquiries coming through now, somewhat earlier than they started last year. The wet conditions have meant increased interest in cleaners, as some other products just haven’t been able to handle these levels of dirt, and the reputation of our products for excellent performance in the difficult conditions has definitely created added interest. Also, the crops that have been harvested are worth more, which has meant investment in better handling products is more easily justified. The new cleaners can clean more thoroughly with higher outputs which means the harvesting can continue when weather allows, and this has been reflected in the number of urgent orders we have received, which fortunately we have been able to satisfy.”
Nick explained that he believes Burdens’ experience in the industry is a major benefit. “It’s a very traditional dealer and, with its skilled and experienced technicians, provides a reliable and efficient after sales service. We have farms where three generations of the family have been dealing with Burdens and using Tong Peal products, and when we visit those customers with the dealer, that relationship and experience shows.”


Burdens is respected for its expertise in specialist vegetable production and handling equipment. The large number of brands represented provided plenty for interested producers to see.


Pictured is Adrian Harrison (right) with customer Jonathan Papworth who farms at Home Fen near Peterborough. Jonathan operates a Tong Peal Caretaker grading system, which he shares with a nearby farmer, Greg Bliss.
He explained he is delighted with the product, as well as the support offered. “Adrian and Nick planned the complete installation for us, and looked after everything. We were more than pleased with every aspect of the installation,” he said. “The after sales service is excellent too; Chris Scott is our main point of contact.”
The farms already used Tong Peal equipment, including a 2520 weigher and a box filler. “We run virtually all Tong Peal products, and it was all supplied by Burdens,” explained Jonathan. “We produce approximately 3,000t of potatoes, mainly for chipping, and we depend on good products and service. Everyone at Tong Peal and Burdens is very good to us. It’s great having a manufacturer like Tong Peal which is a very good family firm, and with which we can enjoy such a good relationship. I like being able to pick up the ‘phone to the company and chat to everyone on first name terms. It all helps.”
Many of the larger vegetable producers and processors use robotised packing and stacking systems and Burdens offers the Pacepacker range of products. Pictured is Pacepacker sales manager Chris Francis with one of his company’s new Fanuc robot packing systems. Pacepacker supplies both new and used robots and the company’s own Blu Robot range of used models are extremely popular. “They are typically half the price of a brand new robot, but they are reconditioned and we warranty them for 12 months. Most are made by Fanuc, the same manufacturer that supplies our new robots, but they come from car factories where they might have been welding or paint spraying and where extreme precision is required, so they are replaced regularly. In the packing industry, we don’t need that level of precision, but they are perfect for repetitive packing tasks,” explained Chris. “Burdens sells a lot of our Blu Robots, most are used only for seasonal work and they are very cost-effective for a typical user.”   Two 36m self-propelled sprayers from Agrifac were on show – 4,000 and 5,000-litre machines – of which the larger sprayer was borrowed from a local user. Pictured with the sprayers, on the bitterly cold day, are sales manager Ben Painter (left) and managing director Andy Carse.
“We are extremely busy with a long waiting list at present,” reported Andy. “Machines are going out, performing well and being seen by neighbouring farmers and much of our business is by recommendation. It’s a rough, wet year but our sprayers have proved how well they can travel in extreme conditions.
“Burdens has had the franchise for our sprayers since late summer, and has already been very successful. We have always worked well with the dealer; it is in a very good area and the kind of professional dealer with which we want to be working. Many of Burdens’ customers are professional vegetable growers and our Condor sprayers appeal, with easily adjustable track width, and effective boom suspension and ride,” he added.


Pictured with a Shelbourne Reynolds hedge cutter are Burdens sales executive Keith Sharpe (left) who works out of Sutterton and North Kyme, and Shelbourne Reynolds area sales manager for south and east UK, Ian Taylor-Balls.
“From our range of products Burdens sells the hedgecutters mainly, and has been supplying them for many years,” says Ian. “Historically Burdens sold a large number of our rape swathers and Draper pick-up headers, many of which are still in use and for which Burdens provides after sales service and parts. Now more farmers are direct-cutting the rape, so we supply fewer rape harvesting products, but our relationship with the dealer has continued, mainly for our wide range of hedge cutters. Many of our machines are sold for use along verges and for ditch and dyke maintenance, and we are extending the range with an 8m reach model launched at Lamma, which we believe will appeal to users in this area.”
“We do find the Shelbourne Reynolds products very good and they are popular with users,” explained Keith. “There are several reasons for the success of the brand including the back-up provided by the manufacturer, and especially Ian. Also the service from Shelbourne Reynolds, which includes its help installing the products with users, ensures performance and satisfaction.
“Customers are very pleased with the level of finish and the quality of manufacture plus the attention to detail for operators’ use,” he added.


Burdens has been a dealer for the Timberwolf chipper and shredder brand for many years and a large number of products was displayed. “The market has been very good this year,” commented Timberwolf sales demonstrator for UK and Europe Nigel Ecclestone (pictured). “Tree work always needs doing and our customers include tree surgeons, contractors and national utility companies. We have a very diverse clientele and an excellent range of products. Burdens does well with our range, selling mainly to professional users. It’s good to deal with such a reliable company and if a user has a problem then Burdens is always there to help.”
On display was a new product in the range; the SX200PHB, designed for landscape gardeners, hire shops and councils. “The advantage over a chipper is that it will shred any green waste. It has a conveyor belt feed which pulls in loose hedging. It is very safe to use, powered by a Honda engine and was introduced in September,” added Nigel.


Walthambury was displaying a typical potato bagging line, including its STC Sack Top Control system which holds the bag securely during filling, and doesn’t release it until it has been stitched. This, the company claims, results in fewer spillages, gentler handling and more efficient operation. The unit displayed will handle up to 8t per hour, but larger models are available. Burdens looks after Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire for Walthambury.
Pictured with the STC system are Adrian Harrison (left) with Walthambury area sales manager for the UK Tony Faulkner.


Scotts produces a range of specialist products for the root crop, allium and flower bulb industries. On display were daffodil bulb toppers designed to finely chop the tops and deposit them in the tractor wheelings without using a conveyor. New out this year, most sales so far have been to growers in Cornwall, explained Derek Scott (pictured).
Derek reported that the company’s Microlift Pro is proving popular this season. Very heavy-duty, it is made to cope with strong ground and is available in 1.5-2.7m working widths and will lift daffodil bulbs or potatoes. “It is proving popular with potato growers who are lifting the crop and then dropping it on the lifted bed for hand picking. It has proved the only option for some with ground conditions as they are at present,” explained Derek. “It is very versatile and provides an additional option for many crops.”
Burdens has been selling Scott products for almost three years and Derek says the relationship is working well. “With dedicated sales staff looking after such an important area for us, the arrangement works very well. The staff are experienced and have considerable knowledge of the industry.”


Burdens is a dealer for the full line-up of Kverneland products, and a team from the manufacturer was available to assist with enquiries. Key account manager Rob Thornton explained that the precision drilling and application equipment offers significant benefits for vegetable producers in the area, and in particular appeals to those growing onions, carrots, lettuce and leeks.  As well as the precision products, there was a range of tillage equipment on show, and also grassland toppers. “Farmers in this area are well used to the benefits provided by GPS, and use it extensively,” explained Rob, “and our new Geo-Control system which increases accuracy of fertiliser application enables them to make savings with less wasted fertiliser, and less overdosing, which helps maintain quality through improved crop stand.
“For the coming season we will have our GeoSeed system available which helps optimise crop spacing and establishment. A limited number of units will be available for customers, and that is something else we can offer for greater efficiency.”
Kverneland product manager for seeding, power harrows and spreading products Graham Owen added that the company will be working on establishing sugar beet trials this spring, to quantify the benefits of precision placement in terms of plant population and yield, as well as for inter-row cultivations.
The Kverneland team is pictured: product support engineer Simon Wills; plough and cultivator manager Adam Burt; Graham Owen and key account manager Rob Thornton.


Pictured with a Lynx loader fitted to a New Holland T5 tractor is Lynx area sales manager for central England and Wales, Mike Amos, who was at the event standing in for a colleague. Lynx handles Stoll loaders which are supplied as original equipment on New Holland and Case IH tractors.
Mike reported considerable interest in the loaders from visitors to the open day; “Whereas we used to have more enquiries for the smaller tractors, now it is across the range,” he says, “We are frequently supplying loaders for tractors up to 200hp and even more. Often, during winter, large tractors are available and there is the opportunity to use them to supplement the work of the telescopic handler. Fitting a loader to an existing tractor is cost-effective, and for situations such as when bales need clearing from fields, a tractor with a loader and trailer can clear the field, while a handler stacks the bales in the yard.”


Oxdale manufactures a range of products for use with compact tractors including loaders, landscaping and small agricultural attachments. It also offers a range of firewood processing products, which it says are proving popular with Burdens’ customers. “It’s the first full year Burdens has supplied our products,” said Oxdale owner Chris Butcher (pictured). “Burdens sells mainly our saw benches and log splitters and it has been a busy first year. Now the firewood season is here demand has increased. It used to be that we sold more tractor-mounted firewood products which were bought almost exclusively by farmers and contractors, but there is now increased demand from landowners and owners of large houses wanting to process their own wood, so the popularity of self-contained products has increased.”


The Ezy Fill bulk filler is designed to provide the accuracy of a mounted spreader with the range and capacity of a trailed unit. It has a large wheel-mounted hopper with a built-in rear linkage able to accommodate almost any mounted spreader. A rear filling auger refills the mounted spreader from the bulk hopper during work. Designed to allow the easy removal of the mounted spreader, the hopper can be used to transport materials such as bulk seed around the farm for filling drills in the field, when not in use with the spreader, and there is now the option of an auger extension for this purpose. The Ezy Fill was shown for the first time at Lamma 2012, and has undergone several improvements; a steering axle is now available, introduced last June, and powered by the tractor’s hydraulic system.
There are two versions; 6.5 and 8.0t with 6,000 or 7,500 litres capacity. “Most have been sold to farmers needing precision application over large areas,” explained Ezy managing director Thomas Carpenter (pictured). “The most popular size is 8t and this is the first time it has been shown by Burdens, which was recently taken on as a dealer. We believe it will prove very popular.” Also on display from the manufacturer was a completely new product, the Ezy Crop M12000 which is a trailer with a full moving floor and sides, designed for gentle handling of vegetable and leaf crops. Previewed at Lamma, the test unit has been in use with a Burdens customer and is said to have performed extremely well. The conveyor belt floor, sides and tailgate are controlled by an electronic sensor which monitors the level of crop at the rear and maintains a constant feed, avoiding crushing and bruising. “It has been working mainly with potatoes and spinach, and there was significant benefit with the leaf crop where bunching could have occurred with a conventional trailer. Burdens looks after a lot of customers for who the trailer would have major benefits, and priced at 32,000 for the 12t capacity, we expect it to be popular,” said Thomas.


Burdens has recently taken on the New Holland range of grounds-care products to sell alongside its agricultural range. Pictured are some of the compact tractors and mowers on display.



Pictured is the team from Simba Great Plains with the company’s Centurion drill; (l-r) product support specialist Mathew Nicholson, UK sales director David Holmes, parts manager Kevin Wadding, sales and service support specialist Martyn Hall, and territory manager Stephen Cook.
Burdens has been a dealer for Simba products for approximately 10 years, and Stephen Cook, who looks after the Burdens Group account explained that many of the smaller products have been popular. “Products such as the Flat liner have been popular with vegetable growers, and for cereal farmers the Solo, and now the SLD subsoilers sell well. Smaller farms have been buying the DTX and the 3m mounted X-Press and ST Bar. The Aqueel 11 rubber roller has proved popular too. It is designed to leave indentations in the surface helping maintain an optimum surface when vegetable beds are being created. It helps prevent capping and allows operations to continue earlier after rain, so has significant benefits for growers in this area. We work well with the Burdens sales team and being close to our UK headquarters we often receive visits from the dealer staff with potential customers,” he added.


Burdens Group sales director Shaun Taylor (left) is pictured with New Holland area sales manager, Paul Roberts. Shaun said the transition to the New Holland brand from its previous supplier was made very straightforward by New Holland, and that the products have proved popular with new and existing customers. The dealer has already had several users who update annually, replacing their New Holland tractors bought last year with equivalent new machines, which Shaun commented reflects the level of customer satisfaction.


“It is my first time dealing with Burdens, and this is the first chipper I have purchased, but I am confident I will be well looked after and the after sales service will be good,” explained local tree surgeon Joe Symonds (centre) who was at the open day to receive the Timberwolf TW125PH chipper he had ordered from the company.
Joe has been trading for just over a year and had previously hired in chippers when needed. “Hiring is expensive and sometimes inconvenient,” he said, “and a chipper is a key tool for the job so I felt it was time to invest in one.” Joe is based at Bottesford near Grantham and works for farms and estates as well as domestic and commercial customers. Burdens branch manager based at North Kyme; Gez Appleyard believes the chipper will be ideal for Joe. “He approached me originally looking for a good used machine but we were able to arrange an acceptable deal for a new one. We, at Burdens, like to deal with quality products so we are confident in what we supply and Timberwolf makes great products. Users enjoy the ease of servicing, and excellent performance, and we look forward to looking after Joe now he has his own.” Pictured (l-r) Gez Appleyard, Joe Symonds and Timberwolf sales demonstrator for UK and Europe Nigel Ecclestone.

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