At a time of unprecedented uncertainty and challenges for businesses throughout the world, innovative family-owned UK agricultural machinery manufacturer, Claydon, has reported strong sales for the first quarter of 2020.
The Suffolk-based company, which is a global pioneer in crop establishment technology, designs and manufactures products which farmers use to accurately drill all types of agricultural seeds that can be air-sown, from herbs and grasses to cereals and maize.
Proven in all crops, soil types and conditions, the Claydon Opti-Till System enables consistently high yielding crops to be produced more efficiently, at much lower cost, with reduced agronomic inputs and less financial risk than using conventional plough-based or min-till methods, resulting in significant economic, yield, ecological and environmental benefits.
Employing 47 staff at its design, manufacturing, distribution and service centre in Wickhambrook near Newmarket, Claydon continues to experience strong demand for its products from customers throughout the UK and overseas, with approximately 80 per cent of production being exported to 35 countries, from Europe to New Zealand.
Whilst complying fully with current government regulations surrounding Covid-19, it continues to support farmers by supplying the new machinery and spare parts needed to help ensure that adequate supplies of safe, healthy food are available for manufacturers and consumers in the months ahead.
With support from its network of dealers, the Claydon factory is currently operating at capacity to meet demand for the company’s range of tractor-mounted and trailed Hybrid seed drills, Straw Harrows, TerraStar® light rotary cultivators and TerraBlade inter-row hoes. These are marketed and sold by the company’s commercial team, headed by commercial director Spencer Claydon.
Jeff Claydon, the company’s founder and chief executive, states: “We have focused on designing and producing machinery which enables farmers to establish crops more quickly, profitably and reliably for more than 18 years. Never has that been more important than now, because whilst governments can seemingly ‘print’ limitless supplies of money just by pressing a computer key they cannot create food in the same way.
“Farming is a long-term, weather-driven business and crops must be planted up to 10 months ahead of when they will be harvested. A lot can go wrong in that time, making it essential that this vital work continues uninterrupted so that consumers continue to have access to a safe, affordable food. Despite the considerable challenges which farmers have faced this season they are working hard to achieve that, and we and our dealers continue to support them.
“The extremes of weather which affected all parts of the UK this season meant that many farming businesses which relied on conventional, min-till or zero till establishment systems were unable to drill their planned acreage of autumn-sown crops because of persistent wet weather, which left fields impossible to work and waterlogged.
“This spring, weather conditions have been exactly the opposite and many soils have dried out completely due to the lack of rain, so even where crops have been sown some have failed to germinate or their growth has been restricted, which will ultimately reduce crop performance. The combination of a shortfall in plantings and below-average yields could mean that the UK will have to rely more heavily on imports to meet its requirements later in the year.
“The challenges which farming businesses have experienced this season have prompted many to re-evaluate their current crop establishment system, question whether and how they can do the job better, consider how to produce more for less and realistically assess the risks of carrying on as they are compared with the potential rewards of adopting a new approach.
“With more frequent extremes of weather, profit margins under severe pressure and labour in short supply it has never been more important to operate a system which is effective in all conditions, minimises weather risk and provides sufficient capacity to exploit weather windows, allowing crops to be drilled at the right time, in the right conditions, produce high yields and generate the financial returns necessary for farming businesses to continue.
“Recent events have also made consumers much more aware that food is one of life’s few basic major requirements and what it takes to ensure that a continuous high-standard supply reaches the supermarket shelves. The farming and food supply sectors therefore have a real opportunity with the Assured standards and Red Tractor logo brands, to better inform and educate the public on these critical topics.”