Few other dealer events boast a history or following like the Doe Show, which takes place annually at Ernest Doe & Sons’ Ulting, Essex headquarters. This year celebrated 60 years since company founder Ernest Doe arranged the first get-together of suppliers, customers and friends shortly after the close of the game shooting season. David Williams reports.
Ernest Doe & Sons operates from 18 depots across East Anglia and the south-east; with branches trading as Ernest Doe where the primary brand is New Holland, and Ernest Doe Power where the Case IH franchise is held. In the past, with only a few exceptions, the New Holland and Case IH branches each had their own complementary implement and attachment franchises, but a big change announced at this year’s Doe Show is that apart from Case IH- and New Holland-branded products, all others will be available from all depots with immediate effect.
A new brand at the event was Bednar. The Czech manufacturer offers a huge range of competitively priced cultivation products to suit all sizes and types of farm and was selected for its growing reputation and product build quality. Ernest Doe & Sons sales director Graham Parker said that feedback during the show regarding the Bednar range was extremely positive and that orders for various products were taken.
Graham commented that Marshall Trailers were also in strong demand. “We place large stock orders every year and offer the trailers at very competitive prices. Last year we sold a large number of flat-bed bale trailers and had a similar offer this year, resulting in more than 30 orders.”
The 2020 Doe Show was the first presided over by new managing director Angus Doe, who took over the role from his father Colin at the start of the year. Angus took the opportunity to engage with customers and suppliers.
“We enjoyed an excellent show and feedback from exhibitors, our sales team and customers was very positive,” commented Graham. “For the three days of the show, we enjoyed what must have been the longest run of dry weather since last autumn. As usual, the first day was the busiest and the third, final day generated the highest sales volume. With such positive feedback from our customers, we expect another very busy year.”
Cousins of Emneth
East Anglia-based Cousins of Emneth displayed its new Top Disc high-speed compact disc-harrow featuring 510mm rubber-mounted discs, and available in linkage-mounted 3.0 and 4.0m, and trailed 4.0, 4.6 and 6.0m versions. A new open channel rear packer with 600mm u-profile rings spaced at 150mm uses soil-to-soil contact and razor rings are an option.
“Ernest Doe has increased its sales of Shelbourne Reynolds hedgecutters to farmers and contractors across the trading area every year,” explained area sales representative Ian Taylor-Balls. “We have also had a great response to our latest front flail mower which we build in the UK, and large numbers have been sold and are out working. We imported a model previously, but with growing demand we designed and built our own and it is proving very successful.
Previous and current Ernest Doe & Sons managing directors Colin and Angus Doe are pictured receiving a special award from Lemken in recognition of the companies’ close cooperation for more than 60 years of trading, during which Lemken has exhibited at every Doe Show.
Pictured with the Spread-a-Bale bale chopper and spreader are company sales manager Dave Bull (on right) with Bishops Stortford, Herts-based farmer and Ernest Doe customer Mr Stigwood. Spread-a-Bale manufactures a range of bale spreaders in various sizes and suitable for tractor loader, or handler mounting.
Teagle displayed a Tomahawk 8500 Chief straw spreader, which area sales representative David Threadgold (pictured) explained is one of the company’s most popular products supplied to the dealer’s customers. The machine on the stand was sold and David said that a dual chop version is also proving popular – offering a finer chop down to two inches for cubical bedding, and to save time needed for TMR mixing
by processing straw in advance.
Seeds, granules and ferts
Stocks-Ag sales assistant Leah Carr joined the company in November last year and commented that there has been a very busy start to this year. The new TJ12 distributor has a double hopper and twin metering rollers for accurate simultaneous application of materials of different densities and sizes. Leah explained that most enquiries so far have been for seeds, fertiliser granules and pesticides and that the recommended retail price of the unit is approximately £13,000.
Bednar is a new franchise for the dealer, and its cultivation products include a wide range of sizes. At the front of the stand was a 12.4m Swifterdisc disc cultivator, which was ideally suited for work with larger models in the New Holland and Case IH ranges.
Bednar also manufactures inter-row hoes, which are expected to prove popular with customers as an alternative to chemical weed control, particularly where herbicide-resistance is an issue.
Marking 60 years
A commemorative special edition New Holland tractor was commissioned to mark 60 years of the Doe Show. The tractor was unveiled in front of a large crowd by Ernest Doe & Sons managing director Angus Doe.
In front of the commemorative edition tractor, which found a buyer within one hour of the unveiling, are (l-r) New Holland Basildon tractor plant manager Ryan Hopkins, Angus and Colin Doe and New Holland business director Pat Smith.
An attractive trade-in deal by Karcher for its range of hot water pressure washers proved popular. This allowed an additional £125 off the show special prices if any make or model of washer was traded in, and national account manager Jess Grant explained the offer was available nationally until the end of February. Pictured with Jess on the stand was farmer Richard Mitchell of Ragmarsh Farm and Burger Bar, based at Bradfield, Essex. Richard was considering upgrading his current Karcher cleaner for a new model.
Electric weed control
A display of new and future technology included the CNH AgXtend XPower electronic weed killer. Using electricity generated by a rear-mounted PTO-driven generator, the front-mounted XPower delivers an electrical current to plants, destroying their ability to take up moisture and causing almost immediate wilting. “Within five minutes of treatment on a hot, dry day, the plants can be seen wilting,” said CNH Industrial precision farming business coordinator for the UK and Ireland, John Downes. “We are seeing lots of interest from growers keen to replace conventional chemical weed treatment with sustainable alternatives, and another potential application we are trialling is its use for potato foliage desiccation. It’s currently available only as a 3m model priced at £150,000, although a 1.2m version is in development and there is also a model with break-back boom protection for use in orchards and vineyards,” he explained.
Low disturbance conversions
Martin Lishman is known for its range of grain moisture meters and crop storage solutions but at this year’s Doe Show the company also promoted Bourgault Tillage Tools, for which it is the UK importer. “VOS System coulters are designed to minimise surface soil movement within min-till and no-till crop establishment regimes,” explained specialist Stuart Aldworth. “Less soil disturbance also means lower wear rates and a low power requirement combined with precise seed placement. Martin Lishman has imported the Bourgault coulters for approximately 15 years, supplying mainly OEM customers so the brand is well proven. “In recent years demand has increased as part of a strategy to improve soil health and save money and although most of the coulters we supply are to convert Horsch drills, there are other conversion kits under development and due to be available in the near future.”
New franchise arrangement
Members of the Opico team are pictured with Ernest Doe Power representatives. Previously Ernest Doe Power depot sales teams had access to Opico-branded products but not to other brands imported by the company. Fyfield branch and sales manager Charlie Webber said that he welcomes the policy change which allows his team to offer brands including Maschio power harrows to their customers. “We are very pleased with the new arrangement and it has proved attractive to customers too. By mid-morning on the first day of the show we had taken orders for two Maschio flail mowers,” he said. Maschio Gaspardo sales manager Rob Immink said the new arrangement suits his company well too. “It’s opened up the market for us and access to the trading areas of the additional depots fits in well with us geographically. We have always sold large numbers of products through the Ernest Doe branches and expect similar success through the Ernest Doe Power teams too.”
Logic displayed accessories and implements for use with ATVs and UTVs including a new gas cylinder transport trailer. The trailer was designed for an Ernest Doe customer last year to carry gas bottles on a mobile home site, but interest from farms for tasks such as carrying gas bottles to bird scarers, and from gamekeepers for transporting gas to rearing pens persuaded Logic to put the carrier into production. Large flotation tyres ensure mobility over soft ground and the carrying cradle tilts to pick up the bottles, so no lifting is required. The price is £1,525. Logic area sales manager Oliver Minns, commented that wet weather during recent months has resulted in high demand for trailers suitable for off-road use behind ATVs, and the company is anticipating a very busy season supplying paddock maintenance products to repair grassland which has been damaged in the winter months.
Exceptional tool sales
A new attraction this year was the Sealey Tools show unit. The walls and ceiling of a converted shipping container are covered by tools and workshop equipment from the company’s range, and special offers for the Doe Show ensured that members of the Sealey team were busy throughout the three days. “Seeing the range displayed in the show unit was impressive, and resulted in an exceptional volume of sales,” explained Ernest Doe sales director Graham Parker.
Battery and petrol saws
Working demonstrations of Stihl’s latest chainsaws created lots of interest at the event. Stihl demonstrators Tom Edie and Mark Hellewell reported interest in the latest battery models including the MSA220CB which is the company’s most powerful cordless saw to date, and which was recently tested by Farmers Guide (see January edition). The MS500i petrol saw is the first fuel-injected model available and also received many enquiries.
“We have already received new enquiries as a result of the Ernest Doe depots having access to our products,” explained Spearhead area sales manager Jack Norton who is pictured with a Twiga Mid Flex T69 hedge trimmer. The new model has a telescopic arm with up to 6.9m reach and a 145-degree slew post allows the trimmer to be used at full stretch in the forward direction. The latest Twiga also has a new four-point mounting system, and the cutter head rotates up to 240 degrees. A hydraulic roller and flail-head hood are standard, and the cutter can be used during forward or reverse travel.
“It was launched earlier this year and the new design, with its increased ease of use, has proved popular,” added Jack.
Wet weather drills
This year has started well for KRM, after a quiet end to 2019, explained managing director Keith Rennie (pictured). “Even though many farmers attending the Doe Show have a lot of spring crops to establish, there is a very positive atmosphere and considerable interest in our range of spreaders,” he said. “Improving accuracy by adding electronic control and weigh cells is a priority for most of those buying new spreaders, and increased work rates are also wanted, so most move up a size.”
The wet season has also resulted in high demand for the company’s range of tine drills. “We offer light weight tine drills which allow drilling to progress while conditions are still too wet for larger, heavier machines,” he added. “We also added a new Sola drill late last year, designed to minimise soil disturbance using narrow tungsten carbide coulter tips, and it’s suitable for direct drilling too so it’s grant qualifying which makes it very affordable.”
Specification to suit
The new Mega mounted sprayer from Hardi boasts features and improvements over the Master model it replaces. The spray tank, chassis and fluid system are all new, and Hardi sales director Peter Wiles (pictured) explained that the new chassis and tank are designed to keep the liquid weight as close to the rear of the tractor as possible, while leaving space for access to the PTO and hydraulics. Lower link suspension is unique and improves the ride in the field and for transport. Tank capacities are 1,200–2,200 litres and boom widths are 15–28m.
SP swathers in demand
MacDon combine headers have proved popular with the dealer’s customers for fitting to Case IH and New Holland combines as well as other brands. This year, for the first time, a MacDon self-propelled swather was also displayed – one of two supplied to customers by Ernest Doe last year. “There is increasing interest from potential customers for a wide range of crops and we took orders for two more machines during the show.” explained area sales manager for the Ernest Doe Braintree depot, Mark Jolley. “Interest is no longer just for oilseed rape, and other enquiries concerned alfalfa, borage and buckwheat. With the potential ban on using glyphosate as a chemical desiccant, increased cutting and swathing is expected.” The MacDon swather is available in 15–40ft working widths. With Mark (left) is MacDon representative Paul Pickford.
The latest Case IH Magnum AFS Connect tractors were displayed for the first time in the UK and proved a star attraction for visitors. There were two versions on show – a conventional wheeled 380CVX and a Rowtrac half-track 380CVX, as well as a simulator allowing customers to try out the revised controls and main precision farming features.
Grass harvest kit
SIP grass harvesting products were added to the Ernest Doe & Sons portfolio in late 2017, and the range has since proved a big success. “It’s really taken hold,” said Graham Parker. “The first season we saw potential customers keen to see the machines in action at demonstrations which resulted in large numbers of orders. The following year, many of those who had bought SIP machines placed further orders for additional kit including rakes and tedders, and had recommended the brand to friends and neighbours.”
SIP sales director Martin Holden is delighted with the response by Ernest Doe customers. “We have sold a real mix of models, and the trend is toward larger machinery each time an item is updated, so there are more large trailed tedders and sets of triple mowers being purchased,” he added. “Most farms have tractors with the power and lift capacity to handle bigger equipment and with weather windows for grass harvesting limited, the higher capacity is an advantage.”
On the Wessex stand, the new BFX180 large bale unroller attracted interest. “Most enquiries have been for livestock feeding,” explained sales manager Jake Browning. “Other applications being considered include using it to re-bale large round bales into conventional small bales, mainly for equine use. It was launched in late 2019 and is priced at £4,900.”