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Friday 28 July 2017

'I was like a child in a sweetshop' - machinery fanatic on his visit to Krone production line

Machinery fanatic Damien McDermott was one of the winners of a trip to Dusseldorf to see the Krone production line in action

Big X harvesters come to life at the Krone production plant in Spelle, Germany
Big X harvesters come to life at the Krone production plant in Spelle, Germany
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

I'm a hospital porter during the day. I work in the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar. It's a very busy time of the year, the cold weather brings in lots of sick patients. My job means I often work on a week on/week off type rota.

That gives me the freedom to indulge in farming and machinery, which are two other big interests of mine. I'm what they call a part-time farmer. I keep a flock of sheep these days and I've always been interested in machinery, especially vintage machinery.

Thinking back, my interest probably stemmed from my grandfather on my father's side, who was a farmer, and my uncle on my mother's side, the well-known agricultural contractor John Salley who is based on the Kildare Meath border. John runs Fleet of John Deere and JCB Fastrac tractors as well as a Claas Jaguar harvester and a Krone Big M mower.

When I was a kid he used a Fleet of Ford tractors and that's what really sparked my interest in vintage and machinery. I'm a member of the Fingal Vintage Club. I'm happy to say I have a few classic Fords myself, including a Pre force 3000 Super Dexta and Ford 6600, which was previously owned by former World ploughing champions John and Eamon Tracey. I'm in good company.

Damian McDermott (right) and Oliver Ennis
Damian McDermott (right) and Oliver Ennis

You have to go back to May to see where my adventure to Germany came about. My friend Oliver Ennis and I decided to go to the FTMTA Grassland and Muck show in Gurteen College. It was our second or third time going; it's a good show and the live demonstrations are always worth seeing.

Anyway, as we were walking into the show we saw everyone coming away from the Krone stand with these buckets with the Krone logo on them. They were all over the place, anyone who was there would have seen them. We went over to the stand to see what all the commotion was about.

It turns out Farmhand, the Krone distributors in Ireland, were running a competition and if you entered you got a free bucket. We jotted down our details and enjoyed the rest of the day, buckets in hand.

Lo and behold about a week later I'm back in the hospital at work and I get a phone call from Farmhand's marketing manager, Steven Scrivener, to tell me I won the competition for a trip to Krone factory in Germany for two people.


I was shocked and amazed, I thought it was a joke at first because I'd never won anything before! I brought my friend Oliver because he has a good interest in machinery as well, and he was with me when we entered the competition.

The trip was on October 26 and 27. We flew from Dublin to Dussledorf. There were a few others on the trip too; a few of the Grassmen lads were on it, I think they're making a new DVD. Sinead and Stephen Scrivener from Farmhand were with us as well.

When we landed in Dussledorf we were met by Krone and drove about an hour north to our hotel in Spelle, close to the factory. Once there we met Bernard Krone, the head man of the company. He sat down and spoke to us.

My impression is that he is a gentleman who knows Ireland quite well. We were treated to lunch, and after that we were given a brilliant tour of the Krone production plant in Spelle. It's a huge factory spread over about 40 hectares with I think around 600 people working there. I had been looking forward to it, it was my first time visiting a factory of that type.

We got to see the various production stages of all of the well-known Krone products like the Big X, the Big M and the wagons. We saw everything from the initial plate welding stages to the finished chassis. That night we went out for dinner and relaxed, tired but happy.

The next day we got a tour of a huge nearby John Deere dealership that is actually owned by Bernard Krone's daughter. They sell around 400 tractors a year. This is a massive premises with a huge shed that contains lots of second hand tractors and self-propelled harvesters. I was like a child in a sweet shop! We also got to tour an agricultural museum beside the Krone factory. It was a fabulous trip, and I would like to say thanks to Farmhand for their hospitality and to Krone Germany for a few unforgettable days.

Indo Farming