Exhibitors put on grand display at LAMMA. January 21, 2024 11:00 am
Exhibitors put on grand display at LAMMA.In the deep midwinter, amongst the sharp frosts of this January, comes the LAMMA event of 2024 – a chance to shake off the woes of 2023 and focus on the year ahead.
There was plenty to focus on, as the exhibitors put on a good display of what they consider to be essential equipment for the years ahead.
The first item of this category that springs to mind is the Case 715 Quadtrack that had made its debut at Agritechnica in the autumn, but was now being seen in the UK for the first time.
Away from the rest of the mega machinery at the German show, the true size of Case’s range topper can be appreciated, as it dwarfed any other tractor on display in the halls.
Sharing space on the CNH display, and also on show for the first time in the UK, was the New Holland CR11 Combine, which was looking a lot better in the bright yellow of the company’s normal livery.
As of yet, there is no indication of price for either of them, but it was suggested that the CR11 may become the first million dollar combine.
Big Massey on show
Another machine making its first appearance in the UK, was the Massey Ferguson 9S tractor, which was attracting a good deal of attention.
Closer to home, McHale had once again committed itself to putting on a large display of its equipment, which must have gladdened the hearts of its UK dealer – seeing such strong support for the brand.
The company is also supporting the Kilmaine GAA club, which is local to its factory in Co. Mayo. The first prize is a Fusion 4 baler with all the trimmings.
Tickets were selling well to the large Irish contingent that always comes over for the show.
Hydrogen at LAMMA
The alternative fuel scene took an interesting twist, with both Kubota and JCB showing their Hydrogen-powered engines at the show.
Although the Kubota has been quite open about how it is approaching the alternative fuel situation, this was the first time it had placed a power output on the 3.8L engine, which is now claimed to be 85kW, or 116hp.
Another development quietly brewing away in the background, is Near Infra Red Technology (NIR), which John Deere has been pushing with its Harvest Lab.
However, it is not the only company to be waking up to its potential for Abbey Machinery is working away on its potential, with a system that will measure the nutritional value of ingredients being placed in its feed mixers – as well as give a real time indication of nitrogen levels in slurry.
Overall, the mood at LAMMA was described by many of the exhibitors as being quieter than last year, with companies facing less than full order books, but as Paul McHale, marketing director For McHale noted: “Soon, the grass will start growing again and farmers will be along to the dealers.”
Focus: Smooth switch for Meath Farm Machinery in Dundalk
January 20, 2024 11:00 am
In business, there is a fine line to be drawn between disruption and transition, and certainly in the agricultural retail business, a smooth change is much preferable to an abrupt adjustment to the status quo.
This is not always easy to do, but it appears to have been achieved by Meath Farm Machinery, as it took on the sales area of Hanlon Machinery when John Deere terminated the latter’s franchise agreement back in July of last year.
All of the big manufacturers have been consolidating their dealership network, and John Deere has been at the vanguard of this general movement towards fewer, but bigger, dealers – however, that does not mean that the expanding companies jump into a newly-acquired area with big boots and all guns blazing.
That is an approach that Meath Farm Machinery has scrupulously avoided over the past few months, as it absorbed the new business, but now that it has done so, it recently held an open day at the Dundalk premises, previously occupied by Hanlon Machinery.
Although it might have been seen as a foregone conclusion, the decision to continue with the business in Dundalk was not an automatic one, nor was it immediate.
That said, there are great advantages to the arrangement, not least of which is that the familiar faces are retained, maintaining the confidence of the customer base that it will be business as usual, the only significant difference being the name on the paperwork.
Getting stuck in
Eoin Hannon, the new depot manager, and former sales manger at Meath Farm Machinery’s Navan office, is full of enthusiasm for the new venture, and is committed to continuing with the service and support that the local farmers are accustomed to.
The retention of staff was a vital part of the transfer. All at the Dundalk premises were approached with the offer to continue in their present positions, and the majority agreed to do so.
The building itself was taken on a five-year lease, with the option of extending it further if required.
There was though, still the the task of stocking and preparing the premises for business, and it is this which took place over the course of two months – leading to the official opening this month.
Now that the transfer has been completed, it is time to look forward and address the 2024 market for machinery. grand display at LAMMA
This is not an easy task, given the present uncertainties and the return of negative outlooks for the agricultural supply business.
Volume down, technology up
From the open day, two major guiding principles emerged, the first is that sales are not going to be as buoyant as they have been over the past three years, while second is that digital technology is going to play an increasing role in dealer income.
A fall off in sales is being forecast throughout the industry, and it is pointed out that tractors and equipment will still be sold, just not as much this year as last – which also started off under a cloud of uncertainty.
The increasing role of digital technology as an income stream is something that may not be exclusive to John Deere, but it is a facet of modern machinery sales that John Deere has picked up and ran with to a greater extent than other players in the market.
Mel Guinan, general manager for John Deere Ireland, agrees that his company is heading for a situation where it is seen primarily as a technology provider with the sale of machinery being almost an addition to this new core business.
Meath Farm Machinery partner in technology
This is a large shift in focus for a company that has built its position and reputation on nearly 200 years of metal bending, yet it is one that might seem inevitable, with the global drift of manufacturing towards lower cost countries.
He also confirmed that John Deere is another manufacturer that believes in the long-term future of the diesel engine.
There is, he points out, no viable alternative for off road vehicles at present.
Will it eventually transpire that the company has made the right decision in focussing on digital technology, rather than pursuing other energy sources as others have done? grand display at LAMMA
The answer is not yet apparent, but the investment it has made has every chance of paying off.
Fourth strand at Meath Farm Machinery
This attention to the new income stream manifests itself at ground-level in the form of the three traditional departments of a dealership – sales, parts and service now being added to by a precision ag-section.
Niall Marron currently serves all three Meath Farm Machinery depots in this position, and from early spring onwards is kept busy supporting customers who are starting to take the digital management of operations, and the farm in general, more seriously.
A major task faced by both him and the company is making farmers aware of just what is now possible, and just where farmers can obtain sound advice on what is out there. grand display at LAMMA
In John Deere’s case, this is compounded by its claim to be ten years ahead of the competition.
The new landscape
To summarise the company’s present position, it has created a digital environment within which its products not only perform the normal operations, but can also contribute to the overall management and efficiency of the farm – with all of this being done in house.
On-board capabilities have not been ignored either, yet little favour is to be gathered by claiming that operators capable of getting the best from modern machinery are scarce.
This is a natural consequence of machinery becoming ever more complex, a complexity that is to be met, it seems, with ever more complexity in the form of automation, yet somebody still has to set up these routines, such as headland turns, in the tractor. This applies to all manufacturers. grand display at LAMMA