Great Plains News by Region

International News

The following are news articles of interest to our International customers, listed in chronological order, starting with the most recent. Enjoy!

Delegates and drills … delegates inspect the Centurion, surrounded by Spartans!

Some 160 dealer and company personnel attended Great Plains International’s European Training Days, held at Kamen – some 50 miles from Prague in the centre of the Czech Republic.

Over 30 of the company’s machines were shown at the event, although the extensive schedule of working demonstrations could not proceed due to the extraordinary amount of rain that had fallen in the country in the weeks leading up to the event.

Great Plains models made a great impression on Case Day visitors

Farmers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia got an earlier opportunity to see a huge selection of Great Plains machines when they attended the Case Field Days – also held at Kamen - where almost 40 of the company’s machines were on show.

While the planned programme of field demonstrations could not be completed, Vasek Madl from AgriCS says the quality of the technical presentations made during the two days ensured the visitors had an enjoyable and profitable time:

The 3m X-Press is helping simplify crop establishment systems

Farmers in the North of Britain are being practical and looking forward to the future after one of the hardest crop-growing years in living memory, says Craig Thomson, Territory Manager after a successful Royal Highland Show for the company.

And the fact that spring crops could yield respectably is helping improve their mood, he says:

“Prospects for this coming harvest have improved quite markedly thanks to the recent run of better weather, which has helped some of the backward-looking autumn crops to rally very well.

John Chapman

Power Farming Group – Great Plains’ distributor in Australia and New Zealand – is strengthening its presence in the latter country with the appointment of John Chapman as Product Specialist for seeding and cultivation equipment.

John (39) has spent 15 years on managing farms in Suffolk and Norfolk in the UK since graduating from the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester with an MSc in Farm Management.

The Centurion is excelling in Essex

One of Great Plains’ Centurion drills is set to make a major impact on the profitability of an Essex farm in the UK by reducing the amount of cultivation needed ahead of the drill.

Michael Symons bought the drill to work at Grange Farm, Latchingdon, Chelmsford, Essex following a successful trial this spring:

“We previously used a tined drill but it simply would not work last autumn, so we talked with Ernest Does and decided to try the Centurion this spring.

The DTX, pictured here at the Curtis Open Day, is proving popular in Somerset

New dealer H Curtis and Sons is celebrating receiving its first orders – and hopes to set up a lot more with a busy farm demonstration programme planned to start as soon as possible this autumn.

The company, which was appointed to the UK dealership network this spring, is benefitting from holding a very successful working day on land near its headquarters at Pensford, near Bristol, and some good follow-up work on leads gained at that event:

Burdens visitors saw the new factory

Forty customers of dealer Burdens Group visited Great Plains’ Sleaford factory in which agronomy featured as strongly as machines.

Burdens’ Shaun Taylor says the group – which included both existing and potential customers for Great Plains machines – was most interested to hear the company’s latest thoughts on soil restructuring, this being a major issue in a region where a significant portion of the land is given over to vegetable and root crop production, and so is often worked late in the autumn:

A brief rest (left to right): Neil Clark, Jim Dalton, Rufus Pilgrim, David Holmes, Colin Adams and Euan Adamson make the most of their only rest period

Three Great Plains staff – Colin Adams, David Holmes and Euan Adamson – took part in the Coast to Coast Cycle Race, a 150 mile race that starts at Seascale on the West coast of the UK and finishes at Whitby on the East coast.

They formed part of a six man team, being joined by friends Jim Dalton, Neil Clark and Rufus Pilgrim.

Euan Adamson finished in a time of nine hours and eight minutes excelled, coming ninth of the 500 competitors, while Colin and David finished a little further down the field.

The Centurion shows its paces

Great Plains’ Simba Centurion drill, SL and X-Press cultivators all delighted an audience of potential customers in Denmark, as Jim Thygesen, Territory Manager, reports:

“All three machines were demonstrated on light medium land by Almas, a new dealer with its headquarters in Aalborg in the North of the country, and two other branches – one further North and the other to the South.

“The Centurion was demonstrated by a contractor for a group of his customers sowing spring barley and peas, and then shown at an open day where an audience of 20 other farmers saw it work.

Tom Williams (left) and Clement Goirot

Great Plains is continuing to champion the cause of young engineers by recruiting a student every year from Harper Adams University College to its Sleaford-based engineering team.

Tom Williams, from Hertfordshire, who is just completing the third year of an agricultural engineering degree and is coming to the end of his placement, says the experience has been very valuable:

“It has been a brilliant year and I have been working on all sorts of projects, including designing assemblies for machines like the X-Press and the Great Plains field cultivator range.

The plasma cutting station in the new factory at Sleaford

UK farmers are the prime beneficiaries of the huge investment made by Great Plains in its Sleaford factory, managing director Colin Adams told customers of Carrs Billington – its dealer in the North of England and parts of the Scottish Borders, when they visited the factory.

As part of the Great Plains group, he says the company benefits because it has shareholders and is still owned by its founder, Roy Applequist:

David Holmes discusses soil structure with farmers at a dealer field day

Farmers should look at the healthy parts of their crops as much as the bare and thin patches to decide what remedial action might be required to repair damaged soils, says David Holmes, UK Sales Director for Great Plains.

Such agronomic advice will be on offer from the company’s stand at Cereals 2013 (Stand 12-K-1223):

“Obviously farmers must examine the bare and thin patches to decide what remedial action might be required before the next crop is drilled.

“But they should also look at the healthy areas of crop, and consider the differences between the two areas.

Visitors watch the DTX perform

Great Plains Simba produces many cultivators suited to the needs of the smaller farms in North of England and Scottish Borders, Craig Thomson, Territory Manager, told staff and customers of Carrs Billington when they visited the Sleaford factory:

“We produce a range of different cultivators that work behind tractors up to 150hp.

“These machines all have technical advantages over competitors, such as sprung discs so they ride over and avoid stones, and in-line discs that are easier to set up and operate, and require less maintenance.

Dave Fereday lines up components of a jig

Great Plains is busy recruiting skilled workers to help run its new factory, and meet some of the new manufacturing challenges it faces.

The company has made half a dozen key new appointments, says Colin Adams, Managing Director: “As we move from being an assembly plant into a full manufacturing site, we have required new staff with specific skills and experience.

Philip Wright

The subject of soil structure and the best way to restore damaged soils was top of the agenda at two evenings staged at Sleaford for customers of Grantham-based dealer Sharmans, with the importance of the subject being apparent from the total attendance of some 70 farmers.

Visitors heard from Philip Wright, from specialist consultancy Wright Resolutions, who said:

“Repairing damaged soils was one of the main topics, and farmers need to remember not to exceed the ‘critical depth’ when re-structuring the soil.

David Holmes

Fresh ideas on restructuring damaged soils and successful oilseed rape establishment are both in great demand, which helped attract an audience of 75 farmers to Peacock & Binnington’s seminar “Repair the soil - maximise the oil”, held at Fenwick Park, near Louth, North Lincolnshire.

The Yield-Pro’s accuracy of seed placement impresses everybody.

Great Plains’ Yield-Pro® planter is proving its value in a range of field trials Britain, France and Hungary, with the accuracy of seed placement it achieves being instantly apparent.

In the UK, field-scale trials have been set up on farms in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, while similar work is being completed in Western and South West France, and also in Hungary.

James Kissock, Territory Manager, says the work in South West England has gone well:

The new-style 3m X-Press

On Stand 12-K-1223 at Cereals 2013 Great Plains is launching new specification versions of its popular Simba ST Bar, X-Press, DTX, SL and TL cultivators, and adding other new options for its Flatliner and SLD models.

The new options are expected to appeal to farmers who have consistent soils and who do not need the full adjustability of working elements that the company offers across all its models.

James Kissock (left) congratulates Andrew Curtis, watched by David Holmes

Great Plains is strengthening its UK market presence in North Somerset and South Wiltshire by appointing H Curtis & Sons, based at Pensford, South of Bristol, as its dealer for the region.

H Curtis & Sons are main AGCO/Valtra dealers, and represent a range of other leading brands including Merlo, McConnell and McHale.

The business was started on its existing site at Stanton Wick Farm, Pensford, in 1948 by Harry Curtis and is run by his sons Andrew, Derek and Gerald, all of whom have children working in the business.

The Centurion is getting to work in France

Great Plains’ drill range has already chalked up encouraging early sales in France, and should achieve more this year.

Both the Spartan and the Centurion drill have already impressed many, says Pierre-Arnaud Noiret, Territory Manager:

“The first 9m Spartan has gone to a 2,000 hectare farm, who needs that sort of output, with two 6m models going to 400 ha farms. We have three Centurions on farms now too.

Stephen Aldis briefs dealer staff

Service staff from 37 of Great Plains’ UK dealer network attended a series of training sessions to update their knowledge of Great Plains’ full range of machines.

The sessions included briefings on the many amendments and improvements made to the company’s machines over the past year.

They will help ensure dealerships offer customers an excellent level of support and service, says Peter Hindmarsh, Service Manager at Sleaford:

Hungarian farmers watch the Yield-Pro® with interest

Great Plains’ Yield-Pro® maize planter is being tested to the full in Hungary this spring, with 30 different field trials being set up spread right across the country.

And in a nation that grows around 1.2 million hectares of maize, there will be plenty of people looking at the results:

“We are testing the planter and comparing it with competitor machines in as many regions, soil types and rotations as we can”, says Attila Jocsak, machinery specialist for importer Valkon.

The Yield-Pro® planter at work in Germany

Dairy farmers in Germany will have their chance to assess the merits of the Yield-Pro® planter thanks to a series of eight field trials being conducted by plant breeder Pioneer and Great Plains.

Most of the sites are in Lower Saxony, says Jurgen Koch, from Pioneer:

“That region has the highest maize-growing concentration in Germany and it is a very important crop for livestock farmers, both for feeding to dairy cows, but also because many of them use maize with slurry in the bio-gas production plants they have on farm.

Great Plains Simba X-Press + ST Bar

Farmers aiming to establish spring crops must work carefully to ensure they remove any compaction and ‘capping’, while avoiding losing the surface tilth and replacing it with raw, unweathered soil from deeper in the profile.

Compaction is evident in many un-drilled fields this spring, says David Holmes, UK Sales Director for Great Plains, and needs to be removed effectively:

James Francis with his tried and tested Flatliner

Keeping the soil in good condition is of special importance to  Barrington Park Estates, based at Burford, Oxfordshire – a mixed organic unit that includes 3,500 acres of combinable crops.

Their system relies on ploughing to establish crops, and damp autumns such as the one just past can cause problems. Farm foreman James Francis uses a Great Plains Simba Flatliner to restructure the soils:

“We use it to break any plough pan and compaction that might have been caused, as well as removing damage that might have been done on the headlands.