New directions - New Holland rolled out all its big guns for a special promotional event focusing on combines and tractors
New Holland Agriculture hosted a special event for Irish farmers, contractors and dealers at the The Hub in Cillin Hill in Kilkenny last week.
The manufacturer's full line-up was on display, including Irish debuts for some tractors, combines, balers, telehandlers and forage harvesters along with ploughs, mowers and rakes from the new implement range.
By holding a standalone event in Ireland, New Holland staff say they hoped to show Irish farmers and contractors how seriously they take this market. Nigel Honeyman, Product Specialist for combines for the Irish and UK market, explained: "Our Irish customer base is loyal and we wanted an event that was easily accessible and didn't involve travelling too far or coming over to the UK. We had a lot of product experts under one roof on the day with all of our latest machines, so hopefully people found it useful."
There have recently been changes at the top for New Holland, with Pat Smith joining the business as director for the ROI and UK markets upon the retirement of Andrew Watson, after 31 years with the company.
Mr Smith (pictured below) joined from T H White Ltd, one of New Holland's leading UK dealers, where he worked for the past 34 years.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge of this new role and I'm lucky to be working with a great team of people both here at New Holland and throughout our dealer network," said Mr Smith. "We, along with our dealers, will continue to build and invest in the brand to make the customer experience even better. We have already had a successful dealer meeting where we outlined our strategy and vision."
Turning to some of the markets and product news that came from the event, it appears the Irish combine market has been in robust health, with some 35 combine harvesters sold here last year.
Mr Honeyman noted with interest some key differences between the Irish and UK markets.
The most interesting of which is that Irish customers are still predominantly buying straw walker type combines as opposed to rotary machines, which is exactly the opposite to what is happening in the UK.
The reason, it seems, is that Irish farmers are not as convinced as their UK counterparts as to the straw handling capabilities of rotary combines.
Mr Honeyman explained how there has been huge advances in separation technology in rotary combines in the last few years.
He predicted Irish farmers would eventually join the swing towards rotary when they see there doesn't have to be a compromise on straw quality by using these combines, but that, for now, straw walkers remain the most popular type of machine being sold here.
A second difference between the two markets is the size of the average machine being bought, with Irish customers typically buying combines in the 350hp bracket (the most popular sellers in the straw walker range being the CX 780 and CX 870 models) in comparison to UK buyers who are purchasing combines in the region of 420hp.
And a third difference is that not as many machines are bought here fitted with tracks when compared to the UK. This option is becoming increasingly popular across the water and can hugely reduce ground pressure under the machine. Mr Honeyman explained how a top-of-the-range combine with a full tank of grain can weigh 45+ tonnes. He said using tracks can reduce the ground compaction.
Ploughs, mowers & rakes
Finally, the event in Kilkenny was the first opportunity for many people to view New Holland's new implement range.
A lot of punters seem surprised at the new products which come out following New Holland's recent acquisition of the agricultural grass and soil business of Kongskilde Industries.
Models from its new range of ploughs, mowers and rakes were on display, including a six furrow PXV heavy duty fully-mounted plough with variable width, non-stop trip system and hydraulic depth adjustment of the large tyre land wheel.
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