An event to celebrate the opening of a new dealer depot in Lincolnshire by John Deere main dealer Doubleday took place in May
An event to celebrate the opening of a new dealer depot at Swineshead, Lincolnshire, by John Deere main dealer Doubleday, took place over two days in late May. David Williams attended.
Doubleday has been supplying and servicing agricultural machinery since the early 1970s, and has been a main John Deere dealer since 1982. In recent years the business has expanded and it currently operates from four branches; Swineshead, Holbeach St Johns and Bourne in Lincolnshire, and Kings Lynn in Norfolk. As well as John Deere, the dealer looks after brands including Vaderstad, Gregoire Besson, Larrington Trailers, Opico Maschio, KRM and Lynx. We have aligned ourselves with manufacturers of quality products, explained Doubleday director Zoe Doubleday-Collishaw. We focus on a few suppliers which complement our main brand, and we do them well. Farms in the area served by Doubleday range from smallholdings to traditional family farms and large estates, and much of the farming around the new Swineshead depot is intensive vegetable and salad crop production, while further north there are many livestock farms. We cater for all sizes and types of farm, said Zoe, and we know that whatever the farms size, efficient dealer back-up is essential.
Since taking on the new area around Swineshead we have provided customer support from the existing three branches and our staff have worked hard to ensure the service has been excellent, despite the distances being longer than ideal. The new branch is ideally located, right in the centre of the area, and will ensure we can provide even better service for the future. The new state-of-the-art premises has been built on a 3 acre green-field site, directly beside the A17, to provide sales, service and parts back-up for customers in the mid-Lincolnshire area and the 1,400m2 building includes a large showroom, a workshop capable of accommodating the largest sprayers and combines and a comprehensive parts store, while upstairs there is 400m2 of parts storage and a large training room. Outside, there is a car parking area as well as plenty of hard-standing for machinery. Along with the full range of John Deere agricultural products a comprehensive stock of garden and estate machinery ensures that retail customers are catered for.
We took on extra staff when we began looking after the new area two years ago, explained Zoe, but now we have the branch open we are recruiting more to cope with the extra business. Approximately 20 staff will be based at Swineshead looking after sales, administration, parts and servicing, and that will enable us to offer the highest standards of after-sales service as we increase the business. Our priority is to keep users machines working, and to keep customers happy. The implications of a machine which is broken down can be massive, particularly for salad and vegetable growers where one machine standing still can result in 3040 people unable to work, and missed targets for supply to demanding markets. We are part of that supply chain and this new branch will allow us to minimise downtime. This is just the beginning and we look forward to gaining the confidence of farmers and growers of all types and sizes in the area. Specialists from John Deere, as well as from the dealers other suppliers, were on-hand at the open days to advise customers. KRM products displayed included an M2 spreader with dynamic section control which KRM central England area sales manager Mike Britton (pictured) said is proving popular. Since launching the dynamic section control last year it has been well received by customers and we have seen demand from users new to KRM as well as from those updating existing KRM machines. Our double overlap spread system has always been popular offering a very consistent spread pattern and combining this with the section control means there is the same accuracy even for short work. Also displayed was the Pellicano offset topper, which Mike explained is popular with Doubledays customers, being ideal for verge maintenance as well as for use beside dykes. It is well-made, will cope with heavy use and has four vee-belts driving the cutter, he said. There is a new 2.5m version available which was launched last year and we expect that to be very popular in this area. One of the Swineshead branchs closest customers is Mike Capps (right) who farms almost next door, and trades as RM Capps Ltd. The family farm grows vegetables including sprouts, baby cabbage and cauliflower and Mike says that although the farm used Doubleday occasionally prior to it taking on the mid-Lincolnshire area, he is now using the dealer regularly, dealing mainly with Les Gilbert (pictured with Mike) who is an area sales manager based at Swineshead. Its a dealer with good products, good people and providing good service, explained Mike. We get on well with Les and have recently bought a sprayer from him and we run four John Deere tractors; its great having a local dealer again for service. Mike also subscribes to Doubledays RTK network service and uses a John Deere 2630 screen for planting as well as inter-row cultivations. We are just a small grower, but our ground is expensive and we have to do the job properly, he said. Luke, the RTK specialist is excellent. He helped us set it all up and if there is any problem or we need advice, then nothing is too much trouble. If he isnt immediately available then we always get a call back from him within just a few minutes. John Deere representatives were at the open day to meet customers and to provide support to Doubleday staff. Pictured (l-r) John Deere product sales specialist for tractors and loaders Mark James, UK dealer development manager Owen Lister, Doubleday directors Ian Doubleday-Collishaw and Zoe Doubleday-Collishaw, John Deere territory customer support manager Rob Epton, area aftermarket manager Paul White and territory manager David Purdy. David Purdy commented; The new branch location is excellent, right in the heart of the main vegetable growing area and being purpose-built, its facilities are ideal. We have already used the workshop and board room to run training courses for users. Customers in the area have remained loyal to the brand even without a local dealer branch and that is due to the hard work of Doubledays staff. We know that users do like to have a local dealer though, and this is ideal. Rob Epton agrees; Its a good team at Doubleday and the customer loyalty it enjoys bears that out. Customers choice of machine is dependent on the product and the dealer and Doubleday has provided continuity of after-sales service in the area, even while there was no branch nearby. It enjoys phenomenal loyalty in its longer-established areas and we expect the team to do the same here. In his role as dealer development manager Owen Lister worked with the dealer through its expansion and construction of the new building. Its a good family business, he said. The directors are keen to preserve that family feel and they do the brand proud and are liked by customers. Precision farming products have been one of the fastest-growing product lines in recent years as users have seen the benefits offered in terms of improved precision and more efficient operation. Doubleday has invested in an RTK network for its customers, and Doubleday group AMS specialist Luke Spencer was on-hand to provide advice. Our RTK network has been running for approximately a year and the demand, particularly in the green vegetable growing area has been massive, he said. Being able to plant the vegetables with one tractor, and then travel through later with an inter-row hoe in precisely the same wheelings is a huge advantage allowing many more acres to be hoed per day, and minimising costly crop damage. Potato growers have also seen significant benefits; being able to ridge up in October to allow winter weathering, then re-ridging in the spring in precisely the same place is made much easier using RTK guidance. Transmitters at Swineshead produce a usable signal as far north as Woodhall Spa, and another at Kings Lynn, Norfolk, covers the area to mid-Norfolk. We have the potential to expand our coverage further and are looking at extra locations, said Luke. He explained that in recent years confidence in the systems has encouraged users to invest in the top-of-the-range 2630 display, which now accounts for 95 per cent of the dealers sales. Its fairly future-proof and very capable, plus it enables the use of variable rate applications. Last year was the first in which variable rate application was generally available, and whereas we had one or two customers using it in 2013, we currently have 1516, for fertiliser application, sugar beet drilling and now for cereal drilling. Its less about saving seed cost, but more about ensuring optimal plant populations for the soil conditions to maximise yields, he said. Doubleday has a great team and offers excellent service and we are delighted that the new branch has opened in such an ideal location, said Opico Maschio product specialist David Day who is pictured (left) with Doubleday area sales manager for west Norfolk, Richard Wales. Drills, power harrows, flail mowers and rotary cultivators are popular with customers of all Doubledays branches, and we have seen increasing demand for precision drills for maize in recent years. Our Gaspardo MTE (R) 6-row planter suits a lot of growers in the area and is reasonably priced. David said that combination drills are particularly popular in the Holbeach and Swineshead areas while tine drills are in more demand around Bourne. It is a combination of soil and farm types, he said. We have seen a busy start to the year with new products launched in 2013 now available. Power harrows are a particular success and our market share is increasing; we have sold more 8m power harrows this year than we did in the past two years, he said. A new front weight block from Lynx, the ProWeight, combines a secure toolbox within the weight and there is the option of a second toolbox which mounts between the front linkage attachment arms. Four versions are available; 1,000, 1,600, 2,000 and 2,500kg, the 1,000kg version costing 2,610. Also shown on the Lynx stand was a Zuidberg front linkage, versions of which are available for almost any make and model of tractor, says the company. The Streamline D front press was also shown, which with its Simba DD rings is a very versatile tool able to operate in most conditions, and is said to be popular with users in the area. Gregoire Besson products on show included a range of ploughs including the new twin-wheel HRWC8 which has adjustable hydraulic offset, vari-width, inclination and depth all controlled from the cab. It enables the user to adjust and monitor the improvements in work, and is ideal for less experienced users, explained Gregoire Besson area manager Harvey Sherwin. Also displayed was the new Solis cultivator which was launched at Agritechnica last November and which is designed for light surface cultivations or deeper one-pass seedbed creation. The Solis is available in 46m working widths and features a row of 620mm discs at 230mm spacing with two discs mounted to each flex-spring mounting leg. Patented 450kg leg trip protects against overload of the cultivating tines while close 230mm tine spacing means all the soil is moved, even during shallow cultivation. Behind the tines is a second row of discs, and a choice of packers is available for the rear, a twin-ring rear roller the most popular option, explained Harvey. The cultivating components are all independently adjusted and the tines can be lifted allowing disc-only high speed cultivations. The new cultivator is designed to complement the heavier Discordon, with the ability to cultivate to approximately 10in compared to the heavier cultivators 1214in maximum working depth. The Solis 4m cultivator costs from 65,000 and requires upwards of 260hp. Gregoire Besson has been represented by Doubleday under its previous trading name; Bourne Tractors for 1520 years, said Harvey. The farming area meant ploughs have been especially popular and the dealer has supplied a large number, from 514f. The new branch location is fantastic in the middle of such a strong arable area and we expect the business to grow year on year. The new building is superb farmers and contractors can be in no doubt that Doubleday is dedicated to the industry. Vaderstad products displayed included Rapid drills and the Tempo precision maize planter, which was attracting a great deal of interest. On-hand to advise customers were (l-r) Vaderstad UK territory support manager Ed Hutchinson, managing director Michael Alsop and parts manager Keith Jones. We are delighted with the new premises here, as it is exactly what we want to see dealers doing, explained Michael. Employees have a safe, comfortable and efficient working environment, and it is obvious that the company is moving forward. Dealer development is important and staff need to be confident and knowledgeable about all the products they handle. New products are coming through and developing the knowledge and know-how to sell, service and supply the correct spare parts for them is essential. Customers expect modern machines to be right for their purpose, to be set up correctly and they expect to be told accurately what they can and cant do as well as how to get the best from them. Doubleday makes sure its entire staff are thoroughly trained but having a dedicated Vaderstad product specialist within the team will be a huge benefit for customers, he said. Peter Craven (far right) of F Craven & Sons, Wigtoft, near Sutterton, Lincolnshire is pictured with members of his farm staff, Les Gilbert and one of the first new 8-series John Deere tractors to enter the UK, the new models not yet in full production. Peter explained that the family farm runs approximately 10 John Deere tractors for its arable crop production which includes cereals, potatoes, daffodils, sugar beet, vegetables and peas. We run John Deere products as we have found them to be the best for our use, he said. Doubleday provides very good back-up and we subscribe to the dealers RTK signal system, using the accurate guidance for potato planting. It works very well. We are delighted that the new branch is so close and convenient to our farm, and we know some of the staff as they were employed with the previous John Deere dealer and we are sure they will continue to look after us well. We have come to see the new premises and what other products are on offer and today was an ideal opportunity, he added. Pictured (l-r) Les Gilbert, Rytis Augustaitis, Ryan Mead, Tom Nundy, Dimitrijs Petunous, Peter Craven and his son Max. Checking out the new tractor cab is Steven Read. Cutting the ribbon; (l-r) Graham Collishaw; Zoe Doubleday-Collishaw; Jayne Doubleday; John Deere UK managing director Richard Johnson; Company founder John Doubleday; Charles Doubleday-Collishaw; Ian Doubleday-Collishaw; Emma Doubleday-Collishaw (Ians wife); and pictured on the tractor great grandson of John Doubleday, Henry Doubleday-Collishaw.