Angus Lindsay reflects on the flobal influence present at recent industry trade shows and the latest info from top manufacturers.
January saw a couple of interesting trade shows in the form of LAMMA (Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association) at the NEC, and the BTME (BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition) event at Harrogate. Despite tractor sales being down in the UK, the LAMMA event saw a strong turnout from both exhibitors and visitors – an encouraging sign that UK agriculture is unfazed by Brexit.
It was also encouraging to see suppliers more akin to our marketplace displaying wares at the NEC and getting a response from farmers looking to diversify from agriculture, venturing towards landscaping and grounds maintenance operations. This seemed to ring especially true with core machinery that could be utilised for verge mowing, hedge cutting, and earth moving.
Despite some of the larger manufacturers opting not to attend the event, there was room for several newcomers from eastern Asia, Turkey and India to display their wares in, everything from electric compact tractors to telehandlers. Whilst the price tag on these machines may be tempting, you need to do your homework in terms of compliance and back-up. Cheap is not always cheerful!
We also saw the first fully electric commercial compact tractor from Farmtrac, which are now being imported into the UK by Reesink, the Toro importer. The Indian-built machine is little changed from the standard tractor, albeit with a lithium battery. It will give six hours of run time and is aimed predominately at the horticulture and equestrian markets, or where noise and pollution can be an issue. Following close on its heels, but not shown at the LAMMA event, are further electric offerings from Kubota and ISEKI. The quiet revolution is upon us.
The BTME event saw a couple of surprises which echo the automotive industry’s move towards globalising product lines: firstly, it was no coincidence that the Kubota and Baroness stands were together. With Kubota having just celebrated its 130th year and having expanded into agriculture to challenge the likes of John Deere, New Holland, and the AGCO Corporation, it makes sense that it should align itself with a manufacturer of golf course equipment to further compete with John Deere, Toro, and Textron.
A bigger surprise was the announcement that Toro has bought the US-built Ventrac product, lock, stock and barrel. This multipurpose tool carrier was initially taken into the UK by Textron, but in the last couple of years under the guidance of Price Turfcare the product has seen its numbers grow steadily. It’s an extremely versatile machine, ideally suited to landscaping, amenity horticulture, agriculture, and more. Let’s hope the Toro influence doesn’t dilute this.
So, interesting times are upon us. Much as the Volkswagen Group bought several manufacturers and now has a range of vehicles under its umbrella to cater for all pockets and tastes from Skoda to Bugatti, it seems the machinery manufacturers are following suit too.
It’s not all about tractors either. Look at the American-owned Alamo Group, which controls nearly all the supply of tractor-mounted hedge cutters in the UK, be it Bomford, McConnel, Twose or Spearhead. It recently bought Dixie Chopper, who make a range of zero-turn machines which we probably won’t see in the UK. But, more importantly, it recently acquired Roberine mowers, a name previously lost when John Deere acquired that business decades ago.
Original Source: www.prolandscapermagazine.com