By Peter Hill

GERMAN MACHINERY manufacturer Strautmann has decided to start marketing its products through its own sales and service organisation, rather than using an independent importer.

 It expects to increase sales in Britain by having a team dedicated to forage wagons, diet feeders, muck spreaders and silage handling machinery.

The machines will be sold through a network of dealers supported by service agents.

 “We had a good relationship with Amazone as our importer but to strengthen sales we need to have a business that focuses only on Strautmann,” says export manager Volker Klasen.

 “Just as we are specialists in manufacturing, we need specialists in sales and support.”

The growing interest in forage-wagons for grass silage harvesting is another factor behind the decision to go independent. A clash occurs because Amazone represents Krone in Britain.

 Strautmann UK manager Neil Robinson believes the producers using such machines are just the tip of the iceberg.

 “I don”t know anyone who has changed their system to a modern forage-wagon that would go back. Now their neighbours are sitting up and taking notice,” he says.

 “I think we”ll see a big growth in users of this silage harvesting system across the board, from small family farms to large producers and contractors.”

 Strautmann”s range caters for this diversity of users with the Vitesse, Super Vitesse and Giga Vitesse. The top model is aimed at high tonnage silage makers, including contractors who are beginning to look to forage wagons as a way of replacing traditional self-propelled forager-based silage teams. They also have the potential as a way of providing a cost-effective service to smaller farms.

 “To farmers, the main attractions of using a forage-wagon are lower running costs and a more relaxed harvesting routine, especially among those who want to be independent of contractors,” says Mr Robinson.

 “Organising the job is easier because fewer men and tractors are involved and as long as the field-to-clamp distance is not great, clearing 30 acres/day is quite feasible.”

Latest addition to the Giga Vitesse line-up is a shorter model that is more manoeuvrable to cope with tight farmyards. Grass capacity is calculated at 51cu m, the three existing machines have capacities of 60, 68 and 75cu m.

There are standard and “Plus” versions – the latter get wide tyres and 45 knives instead of the standard 41 for shorter chop lengths. These models are also fitted with shaft drives to the chopper unit and pick-up, in place of chains.

 fwmachinery@rbi.co.uk