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Suffolk open days celebrate prestigious new franchise

Open days in January at Suffolk Agri-Centre’s Pakenham branch proved popular

Open days in January at Suffolk Agri-Centre’s Pakenham branch proved popular with farmers and contractors in the area, the handful of leading brands represented providing plenty for visitors to view. David Williams reports.
Two late-January open days at Suffolk-Agri Centre provided an opportunity for prospective customers to find out about the latest products from the quality franchises represented, including the Deutz-Fahr flagship 9340TTV tractor. Pictured with the recently-launched model are (l-r) director Ken Grimwood, sales executives Trevor Muskett, Sam Spall, and Lee Head, sales director David Eley, SDF area sales manager Richard Hicks, and SDF product specialist David Jefferson.

Suffolk Agri-Centre took on the Deutz-Fahr franchise just over two years ago, to replace another tractor brand, and the new range has been well received, the high horsepower models proving popular with larger farms and contractors in the area while the medium-sized machines have sold well to smaller arable and mixed farms.
Another relatively recent addition to the brands represented by the dealer is Amazone, taken on three years ago, and its high-specification product range suits the needs of arable farms in the region. Despite its location in a primarily arable farming area, the dealer also sells a lot of products from the Lely range, including mowers, tedders, rakes and balers, the round balers favoured by farmers using straw for livestock bedding as well as those making hay and silage.
British-made Teagle products are also available from the dealer, its straw spreaders the most popular items from its range. The McConnell brand has been represented by the dealer for many years and its range of hedgecutters continues to offer a size and specification to suit all types of users including full-time contractors.
The most recent addition to the dealer’s line-up is Merlo, and the open days were an ideal opportunity to introduce the high performance handlers to new and existing customers.
“We hadn’t had an open day for two years,” explained sales director David Eley, “and we had a lot of exciting news for our customers. An organised open day allows us to have the latest products on display and to have the manufacturer’s product specialists on-hand to explain their features and benefits, and with the superb Merlo handers available now, things have moved on considerably since we last organised such an event and we knew customers would be keen to come and see what we are offering.
“We get on well with the Lely products and a new variable chamber round baler which was launched recently will be ideal for users in our area so we were keen to display that too, while there is time to order it for the coming harvest. Amazone, another great franchise for us, has a lot of new products in its range, fresh from their launch at Agritechnica, and we were keen to have several of these on show, and to have specialists on-hand to talk about the latest features,” he added. “The Pantera self-propelled sprayer has been a particular success, and having one here to view for the two days is useful for those considering updating their sprayers during the coming year.”

David said that one of the main attractions was the new Deutz-Fahr 9-series tractor displayed, offering power outputs up to 340hp, and likely to be popular in the region. “We are delighted with Deutz-Fahr’s range. We were very fortunate having the opportunity to take on the franchise when we did, because the recent new higher-horsepower models are ideally suited to our trading area and allow us to access a potential new market. We have already sold several of the 7-series tractors, including some of the Warrior special edition versions which have proved popular with larger farms and contractors and our most popular model has been the 7250 while the smaller 5120 is the best-selling mid-sized tractor, with features to meet the needs of both arable and mixed farms. CVT transmission is becoming a must-have on the larger models, while the Deutz-Fahr C-Shift is popular on smaller machines, providing superb ease of control at a very cost-effective price.
“I think the success of the whole range though is the genuinely good build quality, the reliability, performance and impressively low fuel consumption which users have told us competes favourably with any other brands,” he added.
David commented that the open days were very successful and that there was interest across all the products, but especially in the Pantera sprayer and the new Merlo franchise. “We have sold a Pantera since the open day, and expect to be busy following up leads and arranging demonstrations of machines from all our main brands as soon as the weather and ground conditions permit,” he said.

The new Lely Welger 160V variable chamber round baler has replaced the popular 445 model and is capable of producing dense bales from 0.9-1.6m diameter. Isobus compatibility is available on top specification models and, even on the entry-level version, electronic control is standard whereas previously control was mechanical. A large 2.4m pick-up is available replacing the previous widest 2.25m and will suit those using the baler behind larger combines. The chopper unit can be configured with 0, 13, 17 or 25 knives offering flexibility of chop. The whole chassis is new, including a heavy-duty drawbar and access is improved for servicing with gull-wing doors replacing the previous side-hinged panels. First shown at Agritechnica in November last year, the new baler is available for the 2016 grass season. “It has been designed for extra performance and to be easier to operate and maintain,” explained Lely area sales manager Jonathan Coleclough who is pictured with the new baler.

Amazone product manager Peter Henson was at the open days, providing support to the Suffolk Agri-Centre sales team at the event. “Most interest has been in the Pantera self-propelled sprayer,” he explained. “Where farmers are considering updating their machines, we are also seeing a trend toward wider tramlines and the specification and design of the Pantera means it performs superbly even with the widest booms. We run our own demonstration machine, allowing potential users to go through the whole cycle from filling to spraying in the field, and to try all aspects of the operation, using water rather than chemical, and they can also try it on the road fully loaded to see how it handles. The open days generated many enquiries and requests for demonstrations so we expect to be busy in the area during the coming months.”

Celebrating the appointment as Merlo main dealer for parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, Suffolk Agri-Centre staff are pictured with Merlo area sales manager James Allen.
“We already have a significant number of requests for demonstrations,” explained David Eley. “There hasn’t been a dealer representing the brand in this area for a while and the reputation of the product, including its position within the top three brands of loader sold in the UK, means there has always been interest from potential users. The latest Merlo products are very user-friendly and operators love the working environment. They are the only handler currently with cab suspension, and we know there will be good demand for used machines too, which helps the resale value and reduces cost of ownership. With tighter margins in agriculture this is an important consideration for those choosing new machinery and we are delighted to offer what we consider is the best handler in the market.”

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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