Archive for September, 2011
We roll into another of Korbanek’s impressive Agrocentres, this time franchised to a charming couple who are clearly actively promoting Massey Ferguson and modern technology to the farmers in this region in the North of Poland.
The field selected for the demonstration is directly in front of the Agrocentre and it rolls away into the distance in a downwards direction. Absolutely perfect for this kind of event.
As we head for the large marquee for the opening presentations, it is lightly raining and we discover that it is already jam packed full of eager farmers, waiting for the event to begin. After attentively listening to the opening speeches, they stampede towards the demo tractors to try them out for themselves!
There is already here a basis of a customer base for Massey Ferguson. I talk to one gentleman who has an MF 8220, purchased 9 years ago and having completed over 4000 hours on his farm. Having established that he is happy with his purchase, I ask what he likes most about the tractor… a simple reply “performance HIGH, fuel consumption LOW” presented with accompanying gestures and hand signals!
There are over 1 million farmers in Poland but many are farming in a small way. The number of full time “professional” farmers is reckoned to be around 100, 000 and from this number; less than half will be in the market for a “western type” tractor. Nevertheless, that means that around 10, 000 “western type” tractors are sold here every year and as such, all the well known machinery brands are here in one way or another.
Fuel economy seems to be a general requirement of most farmers here and I am pleased to see that both our Tractors and Combines have already achieved this reputation wherever we go, after that the farmers do want to have the latest technology and of course they like to have a brand that is well recognised with a good reputation.
The drive to the next location takes us from north to south, only around 200 miles but a good six hours. Again, we see road constructions everywhere. We have fun spotting other dealerships and debating whether some of the perfectly straight crops we see planted have used satellite guidance or not.
When we arrive at the Hotel, a group of salesmen are waiting for us. We did a big training job here in April, so they are already well known to us and it is good to see their enthusiasm is unabated.
Mr. and Mrs. Korbanek have travelled with us all week and they are highly respected wherever they go. They always give us an update on the region that we are arriving into and explain to us the structure of the farms and any special requirements of the farmers here, but the mission is always clear… full speed ahead with developing the business. They have a very good CRM system so have a very close relationship with their customers which they are naturally keen to nurture and maintain.
From observations so far, they are being successful…
Have you seen our group at all on the Poland SUPER DNA tour?
A rainy day. However the advantage of assembling a large marquee at each location with a wooden floor comes into its own. And we have a captive audience for watching the Product Show! Every Korbanek branch has a large area of concrete so we also take the opportunity to show the MF 8690 with Topcon autoguidance driving around the yard. The result is impressive as the leviathan machine automatically follows its pre-determined route in a circular pattern around the large yard. We are also fortunate to have a very well informed lady representing Topcon who can explain everything about the system. I am also told that the person installing the technology on the tractors is also a lady and they appear to make an excellent team.
Polish agriculture appears to be moving in an interesting direction. In the past there were huge state farms and very, very small farms. A large state farm could be in the region of 20 000 Ha. Now there is a new category of farm arriving which spans from 50 – 1500 Ha and these are the farms who are investing in new machinery – both Tractors and Combines.
Our “pedal tractor winner” today is a good example. He runs an MF 8280 as his main tractor on a 1200 Ha farm but is in now in the process of splitting the farm amongst his family. It is almost the reverse process that we see in some strictly Western European countries where farm size is consolidating upwards.
As we travel cross country to the next location, the landscape is a picture of productivity as we see large factory type pig units with big equipment spreading slurry interspersed with a plethora of little farms with their 50 – 80 HP tractors ploughing away in fine contentment.
Whenever we pass a Massey Ferguson working in the field, our convoy opens up with a blast on the horn from each vehicle, just to let them know we are here! In many places, there are major road constructions taking place to provide highways to link up the main cities in Poland, but in the meantime, it is interesting to use these roads that allow us to really see what is happening in the fields.
Interest for our products is proving to be high amongst the farmers who are gathering and there is a cavalcade to test them out when we go to the field. In a country like Poland which is in a transitional stage from older traditional methods to using new technology, it is a distinct advantage to have machines which are easy to use, but which can be loaded up with as much technology as the customer needs and wants. Our tractor transmissions are a prime example where we can go from the basic Dyna 4 with its 16 x 16 gears and a simple pedal change on the move all the way to a full CVT with Dyna VT.
There is a lot of hard work ahead, but Poland, Polish agriculture and Massey Ferguson in Poland are all heading in the same positive direction.
Today we were at the second of Korbanek’s Agrocentres in the North of Poland and received an even larger crowd of farmers than at yesterday’s event in Posnan. Field demonstrations are less common in this region of Poland and so many farmers took the opportunity to come and see with their own eyes what we had to offer and to try out potential purchases for themselves.
The Agrocentre is almost new and has every facility required to support sales, parts and service for the MF range including a very well stocked parts warehouse.
In a rather more sobering moment, we spent a moment at the War Memorial which forms part of the site which commemorates an infamous atrocity committed towards the end of World War 2. It is somehow fitting to know that this site is now being used to help Polish farmers increase food production and that those days are well in the past.
Our visitors today included a large consignment of students from the local Agricultural College who eagerly pounced on the free posters available. By far the most popular were those of Massey Ferguson Combine harvesters which rather surprised us as the area is much more mixed farming.
One thing is for certain, the farmers here certainly know how to try out and test tractors, with various depths of ploughing being tried and various performance trials taking place in the working area. All of the demo tractors appear to be equally popular but it is the 80 – 150 HP machines that farmers are mainly asking for firm price quotations on. Although we are not running MF 3600 in the field, these nimble machines are on display in the Agrocentre and form part of the initial product presentation together with MF Combines and Balers.
We finished up the demo in a very good mood as our MF pedal tractor was won by a Grandfather who had brought his two grandsons with him, aged around 3 and 4 and their faces were a picture of delight as they scooped up their prize!
We weren’t smiling quite so much when our GPS systems told us that the move to the next location, 120 miles away would take us over 4 hours, mainly because there are a limited number of fast roads in this part of the world. However we soon cheered up as we watched the many MF tractors en route including a particularly nice MF 6245 ploughing away in a field next to the road and various MF Combines still working in what looked to be a crop like Soybeans. With so many farms now using minimum tillage systems, it was very interesting to note that the plough is very much alive and well here and still seems to be the main tool used in cultivation.
History and heritage seem to be very important here and each night, so far, we have heated discussions about who actually invented the Combine Harvester (self propelled ). We know it of course to be Massey Harris in 1938 and the legendary Tom Carroll but another well known Harvesting brand in these parts is making claims that they were indeed the first. Not the most important issue facing the world but in honour and with respect of our forefathers in the company, we will without any question prevail and win the “argument”. I will be pleased to receive any additional information on this subject from anyone who could advise why another Company may feel justified in making this erroneous assertion?
The Massey Ferguson Across America team recently visited Glenn Mast in Columbus, Mississippi on his 7,000 acre farm. Glenn is the proud owner of a Massey Ferguson 8660, which he uses to help farm cotton, corn and soybeans. When he is not using it for row crops, he also uses it to dig ponds for catfish and irrigation. Watch the video and see how Glenn uses his Massey Ferguson 8660.
Do you want to configure, price and compare a Massey Ferguson 8660? Visit the Massey Ferguson online configurator.
Yesterday we kicked off our Massey Ferguson roadshow in Poland, working in co-operation with our distributor Korbanek and Co. This is the first time that we have done such an event here, in what is proving to be an important growth market for MF. The plan is to exceed sales of 1000 MF tractors per year by next year and this year we are tracking well towards that.
Family company Korbanek have established a network of professional Agrocentres all across Poland and Mr and Mrs Korbanek, together with a full team of product specialists and demonstrators are travelling with us on the tour around the country.
Farmers receive a personal welcome to the Agrocentre from Mr Korbanek, followed by a product show and shuttle buses to the demo field for a field demonstration. As many farmers as possible are invited to test drive the tractors, with a raffle of special prizes available for all those who get on the seat.
The day rounds off with a hearty meal of soup, sausages and bread, freshly prepared in the field and then we move on to the next location. That meant a long convoy of cars and trucks last night, from Posnan to the north of Poland.
Together with MF Harvesting machinery, a full line of MF tractors is being presented with the star of the show, the recently introduced MF 5400 series models MF 5420 – MF 5450. These are proving already to be a hit with Polish farmers. With good fuel economy and being very straightforward in operation, farmers love their sleek modern styling and impressive features that offer good performance in the field.
This kind of event is very well appreciated by Polish farmers as it gives them the opportunity to see and try the products for themselves and talk to experts on every aspect of farm machinery including the latest Technology available from Topcon.
It is really heartening to see the warm welcome, wherever we go, for Massey Ferguson and the pleasant reaction from farmers when they see for themselves the power and performance of the products in the field. Massey Ferguson is already very well known here because of former connections with Ursus and we are going through a sustained period of re-positioning the brand, to a much more modern image, that spans virtually all possible requirements of farm mechanisation in Poland.
Our current promotional campaign in Europe is “Superior DNA from Massey Ferguson” and the Polish version is nicely translated as “Super DNA od Massey Fergusona” … and this is creating a very positive passion for the brand whose roots so closely reflect the history and development of farm mechanisation, not only within Europe but globally.
Stay tuned on the AGCO Blog for the rest of the week to hear updates about our tour. What is your favorite thing about your Massey Ferguson?