An open day by Case IH main dealer Farmstar enjoyed sunny, dry weather, over 1,000 customers in attendance and plenty of sales on the day. David Williams was there.
Farmstar looks after customers in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and part of Lincolnshire from four depots at Marr – South Yorkshire, Market Weighton – North Yorkshire and Newark – Notts, and Brigg – Lincolnshire. The open day, in late January, was at its Marr head office but also attracted customers which normally deal with the other depots. Dealer and supplier representatives were busy throughout the day providing information on machinery, equipment, products and services and taking many confirmed orders.
Along with new Case IH tractors, combines and telehandlers, machinery was displayed from the other main franchises represented by the dealer including: Manitou; Kubota ground care; McHale; Richard Western; Bomford Turner; Kverneland; Vicon; Alpego; KRM; Ritchie; Mzuri and Philip Watkins. An under-cover display area included stands featuring Draper, Stihl, Portek, Stocks-Ag and Wroot Water.
“We enjoyed a very successful event,” commented Farmstar Marr sales manager Tom Clark. “The attendance was excellent including new and existing customers from right across our trading area and on the day we took orders for 49 used machines and 13 new products including tractors – mainly Maxxums and Pumas. All our main brands including Case IH, Kverneland and Bomford Turner were in strong demand and we will be busy during the coming months following up enquiries from the day with quotations, and on-site demonstrations when the weather allows. It was a great start to our year.”
Keen interest in precision farming products
A steady stream of visitors were keen to talk through precision farming products throughout the day and Case IH AFS specialist Shaun Price was on-hand to help. Customer Rick Woods is the main operator of a Quadtrac 620 for Sandy, Retford-based Barton & Co (Farmers) Ltd. He is pictured (right) chatting through options with Farmstar workshop technician and AFS installation specialist Graham Brownless (centre).
“We get on well with Case IH tractors and have recently purchased a Puma 240CVX. Farmstar provides very good service,” commented Rick.
New telehandler for fencing contractor
Farmstar Brigg depot manager Craig Bradshaw is pictured with customer Ben Jackson. Ben trades as Freedom Livestock and operates as a fencing contractor while also having his own Continental beef cattle herd at his Belton base. The cattle enterprise was started approximately six years ago, and a regular buyer in Sheffield takes most of the production. A new Manitou 635-70 Elite telehandler is due to be delivered to Ben in March, following a very successful on-farm demonstration. “From the start the dealer has been easy to deal with,” commented Ben. “I was told the demonstration machine would be with me within two weeks when we were discussing suitable models, and it arrived exactly when promised. I have used a different brand previously, bought second-hand, but wanted a new machine this time and I believe the Manitou offers great value for money.”
Ben said the Manitou will work with a post knocker for fence installations and will also be used for the beef cattle enterprise.
“It’s my first time dealing with Farmstar but I know many farmers who use the dealer for Case IH and Manitou machinery and are impressed by the service. I have known Rupert Padgett who is based at the dealer’s Brigg depot for many years and am confident that buying the Manitou from Farmstar is the right move for my business.”
A handler for all farm sizes
Manitou area sales manager for Yorkshire and the Midlands Glynn Wallace is pictured with a line-up of handlers at the open day. “This dealer does an excellent job of looking after customers and enjoys a large slice of the market share in the area as a result,” he said. “Demonstrators include the new articulated MLA-T 535 145V+, and the most popular model is currently the MLT 630, along with MLT 737 and 741 models. Between the four branches a wide variety of farm sizes and types is catered for and the fact that new machines are kept in stock and available for immediate delivery is appreciated by customers. All the sales team members are enthusiastic and appreciate our range so sales are shared between almost all of them.”
Glynn said Manitou’s new skid-steer loader, displayed for the first time at the Lamma Show is attracting great interest and expected to boost overall sales while the MLA-T 535 launched last year is also in strong demand.
Versatile baler on show
Farmstar has represented Vicon for approximately 16 years and sales manager David Furber said most sales are of sprayers and balers, including the company’s latest non-stop FastBale.
“The first sold in the UK was to one of this dealer’s customers for silage bale production, and he also has one of our belt balers for straw,” David explained. The FastBale displayed at the open day had also been sold by the dealer and is due for delivery for the coming season. “It’s very versatile as for silage it works non-stop allowing very high work rates, but it can also be used as a conventional round baler, achieving high density bales even with dryer materials such as straw,” he added.
Excellent customer service
Howard Baines and partner Angela Howgate are pictured admiring one of Manitou’s latest NewAg machines. Based in Wakefield the farm is mixed livestock and arable and seven Case IH tractors are operated, the latest being a Puma supplied by Farmstar. “We have dealt with this dealer for more than 20 years,” commented Howard. “Most of our business is through Tom Clark and we find the service excellent. It’s a firm which we have seen go from strength to strength.
“We keep our own beef suckler herd and most of our arable cropping is barley for feed. We specialise in supplying hay and straw, we buy in the field and bale then store, with most supplied to customers during the winter. Straw is mainly for cattle farmers, with most transported to northern counties including Lancashire, and hay tends to be for equestrian use, sold in 80×70 bales.”
Howard said his next tractor purchase is likely to include GPS auto-steer and CVT transmission, both of which will aid productivity and reduce driver effort.
“We both very much enjoy Farmers Guide,” he added, “and look forward to reading it every month.”
High demand for versatile pelleter
Stocks-Ag technical sales specialist Henry Potter is pictured on the company’s display stand. “We supply large numbers of dual wheels, slug pelleters and seeders through the dealer,” he explained. “The Turbo-Jet is bought primarily for oilseed rape establishment but by swapping the feed rollers and feed block it can also apply Avadex. Slugs numbers were low during the dry autumn so Fan-Jet pelleters weren’t in particularly high demand in this area, but we have seen increased sales through Farmstar of the Turbo-Jet, because of its versatility to handle a range of products including cover crops.”
Cattle and sheep handling systems
Ritchie products have been sold through Farmstar for many years. The number and variety of livestock in the trading area means the full range is in demand including stock gates, feeders, fencing and bale handling equipment. “With Farm Business Grants available to improve profitability and safety, we have seen high demand for fixed and portable cattle and sheep handling systems,” explained area sales manager for Wales and the Borders Carwyn Davies.
Ideal baler for contractors
The McHale team had a large display area including models from across the company’s range.
“A new option for the V660 baler was a single belt, shown for the first time at Cereals last year,” explained McHale sales representative Kieran Hughes. “It also features hydraulic motor net tension adjustment, making it ideal for contractors working in a range of conditions, including variable weather. Auto-greasing is another popular option reducing down-time.
“Farmstar has been a dealer for us for at least 10 years and supplies our range through all its depots. Most sales are of balers and wrappers and the dealer’s success is down to its excellent back-up and service.”
Worksop, Notts-based contractor Dan Gregory of CDG Farm services is pictured (centre) with Kieran (right) and England and Wales service manager Shane Mc Kenna. “We specialise in baling but also offer a hedge cutting service to estates and farms in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire,” he explained. “Farmstar gives us a very good service which other dealers just can’t beat, so we also run Manitou handlers and use Bomford Kestrel hedge-cutters.”
Excellent customer service
Contractor Graham Thompson trades as Specfarm Solutions, and is pictured with Craig Bradshaw. The Crowle, north Lincs-based contracting business specialises in baling, making Hesston and conventional bales and also offers a grass and pasture management service. General farm cultivations are carried out for farms in the area. Products supplied by Farmstar include a Manitou – used mainly for bale handling and stacking as well as loading manure, a Case IH round baler and other general implements. “I deal mainly with Craig,” pointed out Graham. “I knew him when he was employed previously with another dealer and when he moved to Farmstar it suited us well to continue the relationship. I have dealt with Farmstar for many years but since Craig joined I have been keen to try more of the brands and products available.
“I’m considering hiring a Case IH tractor for our big baler this harvest, and looking at Kubota products too. Both are on our list of potential purchases. I deal mainly with the Brigg depot which is closest to us, and the service is always good. Without doubt the parts department is excellent. Comparing Farmstar’s service to other dealers I’m always impressed with the speed and efficiency with which enquiries are acted upon. The team is never pushy, but other dealers could learn a lot from their attitude.”
Graham said the Manitou handler is superb. “I rate it very highly,” he said. “It’s an old model but remains reliable.”
Wide range of products from local firm
Locally based manufacturer KRM supplies cultivation products, spreaders and drills through Farmstar. “Our drills have exclusive features which appeal to farmers and contractors in the trading area,” explained KRM technical sales representative for central England Michael Britton (pictured). “Our Bredal spreaders are also popular, including larger trailed versions which appeal to contractors and larger farms, and mounted spreaders of all sizes for grassland and arable users.
“Farmstar’s sales team is brilliant – keen to do business and with an excellent service division to back it up.”
Reassuringly well built products
Hatfield, Doncaster-based farmer Tom Brooke of DE & M Brooke told Farmers Guide that he wouldn’t consider changing his cultivator brand from Philip Watkins as no other product offers similar ability to cope with the difficult working conditions on his heavy clay and peat. Livestock on the mixed farm include sheep and cattle and crops are winter wheat, barley, oilseed rape and sugar beet. Products supplied by the dealer include Case IH Puma 130 and 160 CVX tractors as well as the cultivator. “We bought a Philip Watkins sub-soiler approximately seven years ago and it performs well and is reassuringly well built,” he said. “Our land is quite demanding and when conditions are especially tough there is a high risk of breakages. We just don’t need to worry when using the Philip Watkins products.”
Farmstar Marr depot managing director Andrew Waddington agrees. “It’s a great product range and the manufacturer builds it to suit each customer’s individual needs,” he explained. “As long as it will work Philip is happy to create a bespoke piece of machinery and customers appreciate that. He isn’t seen so much as a manufacturer but more as an advisor who will discuss their needs and suggest a solution. It’s not just the cultivators which appeal. It’s also the range of trailers and in particular larger flat and livestock trailers which are in demand in this area.
“All the sales staff here enjoy selling Philip Watkins products as there is always something suitable for any farm size and type. Heavy duty tillage products which are built to last and perform well with minimal attention appeal to farmers and contractors, especially when they are putting a 650hp Quadtrac on the front,” he added.
Workshop accessories popular with visitors
Draper workshop accessories and tools have been available through Farmstar for more than 20 years and area manger Howard Hall (pictured) described the dealer’s sales team as brilliant. In highest demand at the open day were socket sets, toolboxes, compressors and space heaters, he said.
Rugged equipment for demanding tasks
Alpego technical product support manager for the UK Charlie Thompson is pictured with northern area sales manager Robert Wilmshurst.
“Farmstar took on the Alpego franchise two years ago and very quickly achieved large sales, mainly of flail mowers and rotary cultivators,” explained Robert. “One of our rotary cultivators was recently supplied to incorporate willow stumps after harvesting for biomass and it was selected for its rugged build quality and 280hp-rated gearbox making it ideal for this demanding application.”
Busy stand for mower company
The Bomford Turner stand was busy throughout the day. Pictured discussing features and benefits of one of the large range of flail mowers are (l-r) Andrew Wood, Ashley Anson, Tom Clark, Stuart Wood and Edward Green.
Edward works occasionally with farmers Andrew and Stuart who trade as SD & AJ Wood Ltd, based at Balne near Goole, north Yorkshire. Andrew commented that they deal with Farmstar’s Marr depot mainly for the excellent service offered by the team.
Petrol chainsaws still popular on farm
Farmstar Stihl product specialist Malcolm Phillips is based at the dealer’s Newark depot and enjoyed a busy event dealing with enquiries from new and existing customers regarding the Stihl petrol and battery-powered ranges. “Farmers remain keen on petrol models but we are seeing professional users opting for battery versions for many situations,” he said. “They are quieter, there are no exhaust fumes and for amenity and golf course applications they are ideal.”
Malcolm is pictured with the current most popular farm chainsaw – the Stihl MS181 with a 14in blade.
Drills reduce complexity and cost
Mzuri territory manager Mark Symonds is pictured with a Pro Til3T direct drill at the event. “Most demand in this area is from farmers keen to reduce complexity and cost of crop establishment,” he explained. “Many mixed farms are improving soil structure by incorporating the maximum amount of organic matter and our drills cope well with chopped straw, farmyard manure and cover crops. The drills also cope easily drilling direct into grass leys and achieve superb maize establishment. Time is precious to livestock farmers and using our establishment technique releases time for all the livestock tasks carried out every day.
“I deal mainly with Brian Bannister, Tom Clark and Lauren Fraser, all of who are enthusiastic about our product range and keen to promote its advantages to potential users.”