Italian family-owned tractor manufacturer Same celebrated the official opening of its new visitor centre at its Treviglio headquarters in Italy, along with modernisation of its production lines to meet growing demand for its machines. David Williams was there.
Without Same’s investment, the future of Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini and Hurlimann tractors would have been less certain, reminded Same Deutz-Fahr country manager for the UK Graham Barnwell. Same, which manufactures tractors up to 170hp, also owns the distinctive light green German, cream-coloured Italian and dark green-coloured Swiss brands.
On the outside, Same’s headquarters has changed little since the 1970s and the factory still looks much as it did in the 1950s, but inside there has been a complete revamp in recent years and now the production line includes the latest robotic assembly techniques and driver-less guided vehicles to improve the efficiency and speed with which heavy components are transported.
The Same visitors centre has also received significant investment, including a large auditorium, meeting rooms and a superb museum displaying key models in the company’s history from the 1927 Cassani, which was one of the first diesel-powered tractors and which won a prestigious award from the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.
For a family-owned company Same enjoys a great history of innovations including the 1950 4R 20 – with reversible driving position, and the DA25 – manufactured in 1952 and one of the first regular production conventional tractors with 4wd.
In 1973 Same acquired Lamborghini Trattori and in 1979 Hurlimann was added. In 1995 Deutz-Fahr was purchased leading to creation of the Same Deutz-Fahr (SDF) Group.
In the UK most demand for Same tractors tends to be for smaller mixed and livestock farms, while Deutz-Fahr tractors with up to 440hp available from the 11-series, currently under development, cater for the needs of contractors and arable farms. Lamborghini tractors are identical to Same models, apart from their colour and badging and Hurlimann models are also very similar, but available through only one dealer in the UK.
In 2015, Same launched its Frutteto fruit and vineyard tractor range with ActiveDrive transmission and adaptive hydro-pneumatic independent front suspension – offering what Same describes as unrivalled stability and comfort on-road and in the field. In early 2018, it added CVT transmission to the Frutteto options list and at the November factory opening an all-new model with four wheel steering was announced.
Offering unrivalled manoeuvrability for orchard and vineyard tasks, the Frutteto ActiveSteer has a tight 28-degree steering angle, and also features selectable crab steering mode, allowing accurate tracking across slopes and improving accessibility for tasks such as mowing and spraying when working under overhanging branches. What is most surprising, adds the company, is that four-wheel steering has been added without altering the standard wheelbase or wheel track.
Best vineyard tractor
Mostafa Camlica and his family have 90ha of vineyards in the Kirklarell Province, Turkey, with plants at high density from 5,000–10,000/ha. “It’s easy to lose time manoeuvring with such narrow row spacing,” he said. “We run six Frutteto tractors already which are ideal with their tight steering angle. In the late 1990s we bought Same tractors for our arable crops and got on very well with them, so it was an easy decision selecting the brand again when we started the vineyard. We firmly believe they are the best vineyard tractors available and, with four-wheel steering making the latest models even more manoeuvrable, they will definitely be our choice in future.
“When turns at the row ends are difficult we lose valuable time, and for growing vines prompt application timing is critical to protect quality. Spraying every row rather than alternate rows means reduced risk of missing plants, and four-wheel steering action will allow this without risking plant damage with reduced stress on our drivers. Business shouldn’t be stressful; it should be enjoyable and we want that for our operators too.”
Mostafa said reliability so far has been excellent and back-up from the company is always reassuring. “We are a family business and family always comes first. We prefer to deal with other family businesses when possible, and Same is an ideal match for us.”
UK dealer view
Bishops Castle, Wales-based SDF dealer G Bryan Jones has been in business 46 years, of which 36 have been as a Same dealer. “It’s an impressive tractor line-up, and despite its success it remains a strong family business retaining its family values,” explained managing director Gerald Jones. “At the official factory opening it was great to see that the younger generation is deeply involved too. Owner, Mrs Luisella Cassani Carozza is clearly familiar with the company’s UK dealer network and, when I chatted with her, she knew about our business and what we are achieving. That is encouraging,” he said.
Gerald explained that Same tractors tend to appeal to livestock and mixed farms while the more powerful Deutz-Fahr models are selected by larger arable farms and contractors. Lamborghini branded tractors enjoy great customer brand loyalty with users enjoying their distinctive appearance.
“Our trading area includes many hill farms and Same, for years, offered exclusive design features making it the ideal tractor for the situation. Safety through a low centre of gravity, four-wheel braking since 1983 and automatic selection of mechanical 4wd if the engine stalled, all inspired confidence. The range only goes up to 170hp, but in the 1990s and early 2000s the output we could offer was more than most competitors. We are lucky to have three brands to offer, each with features ideal for our customers and with great back-up including overnight delivery of parts from Germany. Investment in the new production lines and a top-class visitor centre for potential and existing customers is impressive, and will reassure dealers and users,” he explained.
“Visiting the Same factory has become an impressive experience for dealers and customers,” added SDF sales manager Richard Hicks. “The excellent museum, new reception and visitors’ shop makes it easier to accommodate groups of all sizes and the professional image reflects our quality brand. Investment in the production line including state-of-the-art automation adds efficiency and inspires confidence for our brand to continue growing in the future.”