The Niemeyer name is set to disappear from the world of grassland kit, but its legacy will continue with much of the range being produced under the Ziegler banner.

Probably an unfamiliar name to many, Ziegler is the company which bought the design rights and name of this once well-known German equipment manufacturer.

Niemeyer has changed hands three times since 1999, first moving to Vogel & Noot, then undergoing a management buy-out and finally being swept up in 2004 by its current owner, automotive parts supplier Ziegler.

This last acquisition may be seen as an unusual move for a company tied up in what is perceived to be a booming car industry, but owner and managing director Martin Ziegler views things differently.

“Having bought mower manufacturer Mortl in 1995, we needed to expand our portfolio and spread production costs at our factory in Latvia,” he points out.

“The European agricultural market is traditionally very stable and doesn’t fluctuate like the automotive industry.

“On a world scale the demand for food is growing and we can supply the kit to those farmers producing that food.”

Dropping the Niemeyer name may seem a strange decision, especially given the success of the brand during the 1980s and 1990s, but Mr Ziegler is keen to explain his reasons.

“Although the name was strong for a long while, Niemeyer also had a negative reputation with some customer groups.

“We were concerned that selling both Niemeyer and Mortl product lines would create some confusion, and to straighten this out we decided to launch a combined range under the Ziegler banner.

“It also cuts our ties with Niemeyer’s cultivation equipment range, which is produced by another German firm under the same name.”

Currently producing 3000 mowers, rakes and tedders a year, Ziegler’s objective is to strengthen and update the range to reach a total of 5000 units a year.

Having achieved this, the plan is then to widen the product offering to include other grassland kit.

To achieve this, the company is investing 12% of turnover in a research and development programme which is already yielding fruit.

Due to be officially unveiled at Agritechnica in Hanover (8-12 November), a trailed mower will join the product range in 2007 after thorough testing in Europe and the UK.

The Ziegler Carrier is one of Niemeyer’s standard PowerDisc mowers mounted on a trailed frame.

The drawbar pivots from the centre of the unit, swinging from one side of the tractor to the other.

This allows operators to mow up one bout and back down the next rather than working in lands.

To broaden the new range’s appeal, the company has taken features from both Niemeyer and Mortl units to produce a hybrid mower for the lower end of the market.

EasyDisc mounted mowers stretch from 2.1m to over 3m, use a shaft-drive rather than belts and are available with or without a conditioner.

The final new product is a four-rotor rake that Ziegler says has been designed to take advantage of a niche in the market.

Covering a working width of between 11.5m and 12.5m, it fills a gap between the largest two-rotor units and other manufacturers’ four-rotor rakes.

Available for the 2007 season, the rake is expected to cost about 18,000.

fwmachinery@rbi.co.uk