A huge selection of used agricultural machinery displayed in superb order attracted visitors from across the West Midlands to the Ellis Machinery open day. David Williams was there.
The open day was held by Ellis Machinery at its Gaydon base, on the farm owned by the Ellis family for more than 100 years and, as well as the company’s stock of used farm machinery, there were trade stands by drill manufacturer Mzuri, precision farming equipment and signal supplier Vantage England and Wales, sprayer specialist John Rhodes AS, farm electronic equipment repair specialist DK Electronics and local New Holland and Honda dealer Murley.
Weather was kind to the event, but seasonally chilly which meant the indoor stands and catering area were especially popular.
ATVs and UTVs
Murley parts manager Matt Simkins is based at the dealer’s Warwick depot and was at the Ellis Machinery open day discussing features and benefits of Honda ATVs and UTVs as well as New Holland Boomer compact tractors.
“The Honda Pioneer is attracting a great deal of attention,” he explained, “and it’s proved especially popular with livestock farms as well as amenity users including golf courses and stables. Honda has more than 50 per cent market share in the UK, and feedback from owners is always that reliability is exceptional. The Pioneer has a three-speed direct drive, torque converter transmission, requiring no belts which can be an issue on competitor machines. It’s very economical and although often potential users are suspicious that it is petrol rather than diesel-powered, once they have tried it they far prefer the Honda’s performance and are impressed by its economy.”
Matt said Murley supplies the full range of New Holland machinery, but that T6 and T7 models tend to be the dealer’s best sellers, with features appealing to arable users. “We have great brands to offer customers backed up by good service and we work well with the team at Ellis Machinery, providing parts and advice for used New Holland equipment.”
Locally-based sprayer specialist John Rhodes AS Ltd displayed a used Househam sprayer and sales and marketing manager Boudy Dugfield, who also organises training, and John Rhodes both reported a busy day with interest in the company’s products and services. “It’s a busy time of year for us from supplying new and used sprayers to servicing and arranging PA training,” commented John. “We recently took on the Agrifac sprayer franchise and there has been considerable interest in the Condor models, mainly from large-scale arable farms for which their high capacity, wide spray booms and great boom suspension makes them ideal. They fit in well with our other brands; Househam, Hardi and Berthoud, providing a solution for all sizes and types of farm.”
Pictured with Vantage England and Wales representatives is farmer Richard Ward of The Barton Farms Ltd, Moreton-in-Marsh. Richard explained that the mixed farm features arable cropping and deer, and specialises in producing assured venison mainly for supermarkets. He is pictured (left) with Vantage England and Wales sales manager Andrew Williams and central area sales manager Alex Pascoe.
“The Ellis Machinery open day is local to me,” commented Alex. “I’ve been impressed when attending previously so I was keen to bring some products and raise awareness of the services we offer. Trimble products can be fitted to almost any make and model of tractor and we work well with Ellis Machinery, co-operating to provide solutions for the dealer’s customers. As a Trimble Vantage dealer, we have recently taken on Muller and can offer even wider compatibility.”
Since becoming a Trimble Vantage dealer, AS Communications, as was, has expanded its operating area. “We now also cover the Borders as far north as the A66,” explained Andrew. “The Lamma show this year was a great opportunity to meet potential customers out of our core operating area and promote our services.
“The new GFX display which became available last year makes precision farming techniques more accessible to a wider range of users. Customers can choose and pay for only the features required, making it cost-effective for entry-level and advanced users. Previously screens were used only on the main tractors but we have seen a definite trend toward wider usage, including swapping displays between whichever tractor is in use, and purchasing multiple systems,” he said. “Centrepoint RTX is increasing signal availability to more users, with identical accuracy to RTK,” he added.
Farming and contracting
Father and son David and Alex Johnson trade as W Johnson & Son Farmers Ltd, based at Rowington, Warks and as well as having a beef herd and arable crops, offer a local contracting service. The main service offered is hedge trimming and three Bomford side arms are operated including two Falcons and a Hawk, while other activities are baling, muckspreading, ploughing and cultivations with most work on farms within 25-miles radius of the base. David said that recent purchases from Ellis Machinery have included a Kongskilde Delta cultivator along with a power harrow and a front press. We have always been pleased with the service and whenever we buy any kit it’s been thoroughly checked over and is ready to work. We first dealt with the company approximately eight years ago when we started doing arable work and having it nearby is very useful.
“Originally we had a dairy herd, then moved to beef and then started producing arable crops and now the contracting business is growing well, gaining additional customers and proving successful,” he added.
Interest in new drills
UK drill manufacturer Mzuri is based approximately 30 miles from Ellis’ site and territory manager Mark Symonds reported a lot of interest in new drills, as well as the used Pro-Til 3T also pictured, which had been purchased by a farmer the afternoon before. “We help with advice and parts when the dealer takes in used drills, and are often asked to help source machines for customers with a particular model in mind,” he said.
Ufton, Warwickshire-based PR Mann & Son specialises in beef production from a Hereford and Angus herd, and also has a flock of sheep. Grass for grazing and maize for forage are grown, and Tom Mann explained that he uses Ellis Machinery frequently to buy and sell machinery. “They have a good selection and are conveniently close to us,” he said. Tom is pictured with wife Helen and sons Jack and Harry who enjoyed inspecting one of the vintage tractors displayed.
Local and reliable
Pictured (l-r) are Duncan, Shannon and Felicity Dawes who trade as Duncan Dawes Farms, based at Hornton near Banbury. “We always buy tractors from local main dealers for the back-up and warranty, but everything else is from Ellis Machinery,” explained Duncan. “It’s local, reliable and when it’s supplied it is always ready to work. Buying from a farm sale one never knows whether machines are coming with problems. Cows are our speciality but we are happy to leave machinery to the team here.”
The farm is dairy and arable and 300 cows are milked currently – mainly Jerseys, Guernseys and Red & White Holsteins, with both the Guernseys and Holsteins shown. “We have a family history showing cattle,” commented Felicity. “Now our son Michael and daughter Shannon both show their own cattle, although the whole herd is run as one unit.”
Duncan said the family has experienced no problems with cattle feed availability this winter. “We were lucky and had an excellent maize crop, and the barley was good too,” he explained. “We were able to leave the cattle out grazing much later than usual and they came into winter in good condition from the grass clover mix. All our grass is temporary leys in the rotation so we need good, reliable kit to establish the arable cropping and forage.”
Mixed sheep and arable
Mark Reason farms between Stow-on-the-Wold and Tewkesbury. He runs a mixed sheep and arable farm with his wife Loraine, and buys much of his machinery through Ellis. The sheep are mixed crossbreds including Suffolks, Romneys, Mules and Beltex and fat lambs are produced mainly for one local buyer. Recent machinery purchases have included a plough, a dump trailer and a wood chipper and Mark was at the open day looking at discs. “Machinery we have bought in the past has all been carefully checked and an issue with a plough soon after we started using it was sorted immediately without quibbling,” he explained. “I deal mainly with Ross Ellis and he is always very helpful. There is no hassle and when I ordered a trailer but then couldn’t accept delivery as planned due to being in hospital, there was no pressure to take delivery until it suited me.
“I was keen to look at what is in stock and meet the team at the open day and it was well timed as we have just started lambing and will be too busy to do anything else in a few weeks’ time.”