Machinery News

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Timing and weather perfect for successful open day

Claas main dealer Oliver Agriculture Ltd and JCB and Challenger main dealer, and sister company Oliver Landpower Ltd, staged the open day

A Bedfordshire dealer open day, combined with a moisture meter testing clinic, was very well attended. David Williams was there.

Claas main dealer Oliver Agriculture Ltd and JCB and Challenger main dealer, and sister company Oliver Landpower Ltd, staged the open day at its Wandon End, Beds headquarters in mid-April. Farmers and contractors in the area were well up to date with field work and made the most of the opportunity to get their annual meter checks completed and to view the latest equipment on offer. The 2015 event followed a similar formula to the company’s previous 15 successful and popular annual open days.
The dealer has three depots; Wandon End and Bicester, Oxfordshire from which both the Landpower and Agriculture divisions operate and Kings Langley, Herts, which includes just the Landpower business. Customers are looked after across the local areas as well as further afield. A wide range of machinery franchises are represented including Sumo; Lemken; McConnel; Amazone; Hardi; Teagle; Twose; Larrington Trailers; Kawasaki; Logic; Strimech and Topcon, along with Isuzu trucks from Oliver Landpower. While an equally comprehensive line-up is available from the Agriculture division which includes Great Plains; Horsch; Maschio; KRM; Cherry Products; Reco, Cousins; Richard Western; Opico; Dowdeswell; Knight; Kramer; Sulky and Martin Lishman.
Representatives and specialists from many of the brands were on-site to assist Olivers’ staff in dealing with customer enquiries.
Combined with the open day was a Martin Lishman Moisture Meter Grain Clinic, one of 30 organised by the company in various UK locations between January and June. The clinics allow visitors to bring along their moisture meters for testing and calibration, at a fixed cost of #11 per unit which includes a calibration certificate which can be used for quality assurance purposes. Specialists are present to advise users on correct technique and any make of meter can be brought for testing. In the event of failure, the meters can be submitted to Martin Lishman for repair or replacements can be purchased including the company’s own brand; Field Check, as well as Protimeter models.
Two new JCB 4000-series Fastracs were at the event, one of which was available for test-driving on roads around the depot, complete with a high specification Larrington trailer. Oliver Landpower sales director Charlie Glenister said the event had been a huge success and a great opportunity to launch the all-new JCB 4000 series tractors to customers, giving them the opportunity to drive it. “We see this product contributing to further growth of the Landpower business with six tractors already ordered for delivery during the coming season. The interest from customers in this tractor has been remarkable.”
Oliver Agriculture sales director David Jarman hailed the day a great success with well over 300 visitors. “Holding an open day is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with new and existing customers, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where their future needs can be discussed. Interest was strong in all product areas with many enquiries and several orders taken on the day. This annual event has grown considerably since we restructured our trading businesses in 2008,” he said.

The Isuzu vehicle franchise was taken on by the Landpower division in September 2013. “It didn’t clash with anything we were doing already and we were aware that 30 per cent of all Isuzu trucks are sold into agricultural situations,” explained Oliver Landpower sales director Charlie Glenister. “We have had considerable success already, supplying our existing customers, but also gaining new ones within other industries, such as the building trade. We sold 55 pick-ups in our first year which was pleasing and the standard five-year or 125,000-mile warranty is reassuring to buyers. Fuel economy is superb and the 3.5t towing capacity is just what is needed. The range ticks all the boxes,” he added.

Mark Cooper of Henlow, Beds-based AS & JS Cooper is pictured with a Claas tedder similar to one operated on his family farm. The mixed arable and beef unit includes approximately 80ha (200 acres) of crops and a 400-head Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle herd, producing beef for Waitrose. “I have always been an Oliver customer and use two JCB telescopic handlers, a Claas 640 Arion tractor, a Claas combine and a rake tedder and mower,” he said. The Arion is used mainly for haulage tasks and with a diet feeder, its 50kph transmission and cab and front axle suspension making it ideal for the large amount of transport work necessary explained Mark. “It is a CIS-specification, equipped with the Hexashift transmission, and we bought it following a demonstration as the operator was keen. It has a good warranty package too, which is reassuring, but we have had it for approximately a year and it has been very good. Our previous tractor was five years old, of a different brand and with a basic gearbox, so the Claas with its 24×24 shuttle transmission and its 1,000rpm Eco PTO operates the diet feeder much more efficiently. Our Claas mower and rake are both under three years old and the 9m tedder was bought last year and performs well. We have a separate business producing hay and silage for equine use so we need up to date, reliable kit and the Claas machines are ideal.”The back-up from Claas and Olivers is very good and we run a Claas combine which is quite elderly, but we can always get hold of parts when needed and the service staff are always available,” he added.Mark was also taking advantage of the Martin Lishman moisture meter clinic. “I bring it along every year. It is convenient and much easier than having to send it away for checking, and I receive the certificate too,” he explained.

MJ Smith & Son farm at Oaktree Farm, Langford, Beds growing combinable crops on 149ha (368 acres) of which the average field size is just 5ha (12 acres). “It used to be market garden crop production,” explained David Quinlan, (left) who was at the event with Donald Smith and is pictured with Lemken UK general manager Paul Creasy and a new Lemken Rubin disc cultivator, which had been ordered by the farm prior to the open day. “We were using a 5.5m trailed cultivator previously,” explained David, “but it was awkward with our small field size because we wasted time struggling to get into the corners. This linkage-mounted set of discs with hydraulic folding will allow us to negotiate narrow lanes and field entrances more easily, and we can reverse into the corners which will be much more efficient and easier for the operator.”The Lemken discs were recommended to the farm by Oliver Landpower sales representative, Michael Payne who looks after the farm’s account. “We will use the cultivator on winter wheat, winter barley, spring barley, oilseed rape and bean stubbles, and possibly on onion ground,” added David. “Behind the combine, we want to chop the top couple of inches as part of a black-grass control regime and we will use the discs on seedbeds where needed. We had a demonstration recently on over-wintered ploughed land and the results were impressive. The discs did a good job. We hadn’t had many dealings with Olivers previously, but many of those farming around us speak well of the service and back-up and we are sure we will be well looked after.”

Since replacing its conventional tractors with JCB Fastracs during the mid-1990s, Felden Park Farms, near Hemel Hempstead, Herts, has come to rely on the brand for its versatility and performance. The land totals approximately 400ha (1,000 acres) between two locations, one with tricky Chiltern clay cap soils and the other easier to farm, but hilly, explained manager Howard Whybrow (left). “We were using four conventional tractors but had a demonstration of an early JCB 155 machine. We could see significant advantages in the rear load platform which meant we could utilise the machine more efficiently and we bought a 155, and two years later we bought a 185, eventually running three 185s. We then bought a 7270, which was upgraded last year to an 8310 and the 185s were upgraded to 3230s. We currently use an 8310 and a 3230 for all farm tasks,” he added. “We were keen to make the most of the machine’s abilities from the start and had a purpose-built drill with a hopper on the rear platform. We used a demount sprayer on the 185 but have now moved to a trailed unit for extra capacity. Fertiliser is applied using an Amazone 4200 Ultra and, with the Fastrac, it makes a superb combination.”Machinery operator Graham Evans (right) said the Fastrac’s light weight means that even larger versions can be used for lighter farm tasks. “We even find it excellent for rolling and the tractors are used for corn carting, min-till cultivations and drilling. Most crops are established using min-till cultivations, but a third of the land is ploughed each year in rotation. The 8310 does a lot of heavier draft work including ploughing with a 6f Dowdeswell Delta 120, which was used at 16in behind the 155s but is set at 18in behind the 8310. Whatever we are doing with the tractors, the superb suspension provides exceptional grip and they perform well. We will certainly be expecting to change our current 3230 for the new 4000 series model when it is due – we wouldn’t consider anything else,” he said. “Most of our machinery is bought and serviced through Olivers. The staff are friendly and honest and we don’t ever feel we are being ‘ripped-off’. We receive quick and efficient service too, especially from Adrian Hewis who looks after us for sales.”

KRM products supplied by the dealer include fail mowers, drills, seeders and spreaders, but area sales representative David Wagstaff (pictured) said his company’s Bogballe spreaders account for most sales in the area. “It is a broad customer base, including livestock and arable farmers, and a range of specifications are supplied including the latest with our dynamic section control,” he said. “It is proving popular and the greatest benefits are when working with the wider spread widths. There is growing appreciation of the benefits available and we are finding existing Bogballe users upgrading, as well as those moving from competitor machines.”

Pictured enjoying refreshments on offer at the open day are (l-r) Olivia Whitaker, Sam Bacon and James Bacon. Sam and James were at the event looking at Claas tractors as their contracting business; Acorn Services Herts Ltd, which specialises in silage operations and muck spreading, is in need of a larger model to replace its current Claas tractor.

Sumo’s latest Mixidisc cultivator and DTS drill were creating interest in the Oliver Landpower area. “Growers are trying not to move more soil than necessary during crop establishment as it costs money, and also increases weed problems,” explained Sumo area sales manager for the south, Richard Hales. “The dealer has recently taken an order for a 7m Mixidisc from a farmer who said it is just what he needs to leave a level finish after ploughing, its weight providing an ability to penetrate well and the levelling paddles ensuring the surface is even.”During the coming Autumn, the dealer will be running a demonstration 6m DTS drill as well as a 5m Mixidisc, due to the high levels of interest from potential users. “It is a good pro-active sales team which looks after customers well,” said Richard. “The business runs on good old-fashioned family values and farming is all about the confidence generated by this kind of relationship with customers. It has been a good spring in terms of enquiries and requests for demonstrations and we are seeing large numbers of confirmed orders as a result.”

Cultivations equipment to tackle the black-grass problem featured within the Dal-Bo display area. “Dal-Bo is our fastest growing franchise and we sold many machines from the range during the past year,” explained Oliver Agriculture sales manager William Helliwell. “We receive excellent support from Steve Atkin and his team and many of our sales have been the result of referral, as neighbouring farmers have recommended the products, resulting in requests for demonstrations and sales. “We are delighted with the increased sales in the area,” added Steve. “Features such as the paddles available for our rolls are in demand as they provide a level finish when rolling ploughed land, and are great for freshening up the surface. The dealer team supplies equipment from across our range, but mainly seedbed cultivators and the rolls, with 12, 15 and 16m sets in highest demand as well as 8m versions with paddles.”Dal-Bo UK sales manager Steve Atkin is pictured (left) with William Helliwell.

The Martin Lishman Grain Clinic was well attended throughout the day with farmers and growers taking advantage of the opportunity to have their meters tested.
Developed in the UK to assist in the fight against black-grass is the Opico Micro-Pro 16 Avadex applicator. Since its first showing at Lamma in January, it is now available to order and is receiving high levels of interest, explained the Opico team. It has a 12m application width and uses a hydraulic-driven fan to distribute the herbicide through its application booms across the distribution outlets. Designed to be mounted on a 3-point linkage it is priced at 13,931 and was attracting considerable interest. “Black-grass is foremost in many farmers’ minds,” explained Opico area sales manager Glenn Bootman. Pictured (l-r) are the Opico team at the open day; Glenn, Maschio specialist David Day, Maschio key account manager Carlo Facchini and Opico sales representative for the west of the UK, John Hulland.

Horsch area sales manager for East Anglia, John McAuley is pictured at the open day (right), with Oliver Agriculture representative Rex Hedges, who looks after customers in parts of Beds, Bucks and Herts and the latest Horsch Tiger cultivator which is proving popular with the dealer’s customers. Available in 3, 4 and 6m working widths, several of the Tigers have been sold by the dealer during its first season of availability. The tyre packer on the rear provides even consolidation across the width encouraging black-grass and other weed seeds to chit and allowing effective control. Low-disturbance legs provide deep loosening without bringing clods and weed seeds to the surface while the discs provide an even tilth for shallow cultivations. “Working on free draining soils, users have found that only one pass with the Tiger followed by a pass with discs is needed before drilling,” explained Rex. “Compared with other machines, the Tiger is praised for its very level finish, and the brands high retained value provides low cost of ownership.” The Tiger 4MT displayed is Oliver’s new demonstrator available for customers to try during the coming season. “Oliver Agriculture is a very good dealer for us,” commented John, “and has a team of dedicated sales staff, all committed to the products they supply.”

Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire-based Bluebury Contractors Ltd partners David Sworder (left) and Mike Smith (right) are pictured with Oliver Group chairman John Humphreys. The farming and contracting business offers its services to farmers in the area, its mainly arable operations totalling 1,820ha (4,500 acres) on a mix of rented and contract-farmed land. Cropping is mainly cereals with some grass, and much of the work is stubble to stubble crop management and the business also specialises in borage swathing and forestry work. Two Challenger crawlers; an 855C and a 765C are operated and drilling is carried out using two Horsch drills, a 4 and 8m. The business also operates a JCB loader. The two Challengers carry out all the heavy cultivations tasks as well as the drilling and a new mole drainer has recently been purchased for the larger machine, and is due to start work on fallow land shortly. “We have been dealing with Olivers since the business started more than 50 years ago,” said Mike. “It is a good family firm and we always feel welcome when we call in for anything. Customers are treated well and the phone is always answered, no matter when we call. When problems do occur there is never any attempt by anyone to run away from the problem and the relationship has become very easy.” One of the latest acquisitions by the business has been a new high specification Amazone ZA-TS fertiliser spreader. “We bought it earlier this year and it has already applied fertiliser to more than 4,040ha (10,000 acres),” explained David. We run it through an iPad linked to the Amatron 3 control box to achieve variable rate applications and it has proved a wonderful machine. It has variable spread width control for headland operation, and it has been spot-on. John Barnett, Oliver’s Amazone specialist has been such a great help, and as it was the first of this type that he has worked with he has been learning with me and I am very impressed with his enthusiasm. Fertiliser is expensive and being able to apply it precisely where needed in the required quantities using the new spreader is a real benefit,” he added.

Pictured (l-r) Oliver Landpower sales director Charlie Glenister, with members of the Luton sales team; Kevin Ludgate, Adrian Hewis and Michael Payne.

Trading as Alistair G Clark and farming at Kimpton, Herts, Alistair (right) and main machinery operator Adam Hills are pictured at the event. Approximately 260ha (650 acres) are farmed by the business, and cropping is mainly cereals but there is also a small livery enterprise and a general agricultural contracting service is offered, including harvesting of combinable crops. “This is the second generation of my family dealing with this depot and we tend to buy most of our machinery from the dealer. In the past Olivers had different brands to offer, but when they took on different franchises we followed them, as the service is so good and we enjoy such a good relationship with the staff. It is no good operating the best machinery in the world if there is no back-up in the event of problems, so the dealer is our main priority when choosing equipment.”Recent purchases include a Claas 650 Arion with Hexashift transmission and other machines bought through the dealer include the farm’s Claas Tucano 430 combine, new in 2011 and the fifth Claas operated by the farm since it purchased its first of the brand; a Senator bought in 1980. “We get on well with Claas combines and they have all been reliable despite being well used while we own them,” he added. The farm’s plough, cultivators and sprayer as well as a JCB 526-55 telescopic handler, new in 2010, were all bought through the dealer. “We are looked after well by the whole team, but tend to deal mainly with Rex Hedges and David Jarman. They are all very good,” he said.

“We are very pleased with the attendance at the open day,” said William Helliwell. “Farmers are up to date so are taking time out to have a look at what is new and discuss their requirements with our staff. The weather has been excellent in recent weeks and crops which were struggling have largely caught up, except the grassland, which is a bit behind still. We seem to be bucking the general trend within the industry, as our sales are similar to last year. Our tractor sales are increasing, we are busy on products such as the Dal-Bo rolls and our other cultivation products from Great Plains and Horsch are all in demand. The Great Plains X-Press cultivator is proving popular, along with the CultiPress for heavier land farmers in Bedfordshire and Herts. The Horsch Sprinter drill and Tiger cultivator are selling well, and we are looking forward to an autumn demonstration campaign during which we will be allowing farmers to find out for themselves just how effective the Horsch Joker and Pronto machines are.”Our main brand, Claas, is proving exceptionally popular, the latest tractors, handlers, combines and green harvest products providing users with the best range we have ever been able to offer, which has led to a great increase in sales,” he added. Pictured (l-r) are William Helliwell, David Jarman, Rex Hedges and Paul Green.

Oliver Landpower and Agriculture customer JPF Waddup of Coldharbour Farm, Hatfield, Herts has recently ordered new JCB and Claas telescopic handlers. Farming just under 400ha (1,000 acres) between three units the farm is mixed, with arable crops as well as grass, sold as haylage, for equine use. “We deal equally with both sides of the business,” explained Jeremy Waddup, and recent purchases have included a 6m Amazone drill, bought six months ago and a new Larrington trailer last year. We have recently purchased a Great Plains cultivator and McHale bale wrappers too. The service is very good from everyone here.”Explaining the decision to buy both makes of handler, Jeremy commented that a JCB was operated previously along with several tractor loaders but the decision had been made to move away from the tractors for materials handling, replacing them with a second telescopic handler. The JCB had been very successful, so the decision was made to replace it with another of similar specification, following a successful demonstration of one of the latest models with an improved and updated design. While considering options for the second machine, the farm’s Oliver Agriculture sales representative, Paul Green, had lent the farm a demonstration Claas Scorpion to try, resulting in the purchase of a new 7055 7m 5.5t capacity model, to be used for grain and bale handling as well as bale haulage on the road. “We very much like the hydrostatic transmission and the Deluxe cab option is very comfortable, with all the controls falling easily to hand,” explained main operator Michael Waddup. Having all the functions for the boom and transmission on the main joystick is really convenient. We spend long working hours in the machines and need something which won’t be tiring to operate,” he added. Pictured (l-r) from JPF Waddup are; Adrian Jarvis, Jeremy Waddup, Glen Gear, Michael Waddup and Oliver Agriculture salesman Paul Green.

Larrington Trailers on show included one of the latest ‘Farmer’ specification models, launched this year at the Lamma Show, and a higher specification ‘Harvester’, which was in use behind a JCB Fastrac 4000-series tractor, travelling around local roads and allowing potential buyers to evaluate the benefits of the new tractor. The ‘Farmer’ trailer features a base specification but with all the latest components and capable of being upgraded to meet specific demands of users. The ‘Harvester’ has a high-specification ‘half-pipe’ body, and is ideal for tipping in lower buildings as it empties at a lower angle. “Oliver Landpower has been a dealer for approximately three years,” explained Larrington Trailers sales manager, Simon Baxter, who is pictured with the demonstration Fastrac and Larrington trailer combination. “In an area with strong demand for grain and muck transport our trailer range has proved a successful franchise for the dealer with all variants proving popular including the highest-specification ‘Majestic’ versions for use behind Fastracs.”


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