Many of the familiar names in the farm machinery industry were started by a village blacksmith, and that was the way Cousins of Emneth began making tillage implements.
Repairing broken equipment and making simple tools can give blacksmiths a unique insight into the machinery needs of local farmers, which allowed Norman Cousins to extend his blacksmith’s business to include making implements.
Norman Cousins bought his own forge in 1951, having previously completed his training and then worked for another blacksmith for a short period of time. The village where he ran his own smithy was Emneth near Wisbech, Cambs, in an important arable farming area. The blacksmith’s business expanded, and at some time in the early 1960s Norman Cousins designed a new levelling harrow that was popular with local farmers.
The success of the Cousins harrow soon outgrew the space available in the smithy, and when Norman’s son John joined the business in the early 1970s they began the first of many expansions. Some of the extra building space was needed to cope with a growing product range as the levelling harrows were joined by other implements and rollers, but the most recent of the building extensions, added just two years ago, was needed mainly to cope with the increasing size of implements such as an 18m wide set of rollers.
The company is now run by Norman Cousins’s grand-daughter Laura. while her father John is responsible for product development and manufacturing. Adding new products to meet customers’ changing needs is important, and recent successes include the Patriot combination cultivator. It has soil-loosening legs at 60cm centres with up to 40cm (16in) working depth, followed by two rows of discs and, at the rear, a row of Cousins Razor Rings to leave a consolidated and corrugated surface.
This year’s new arrival is the Free Space range of tined cultivators available in mounted and trailed versions up to 8.0m wide. They are equipped with S tines at 15cm centres, but a special adjustment system alters the spacing to suit different soil and trash conditions. Hydraulic folding reduces the width to 3.0m for road transport.
Cousins tillage equipment is designed mainly for UK conditions and customers, although the company exports to other European markets. They have also diversified into a range of specialised equipment for maintaining all-weather training surfaces for horses, and this has become a major export success.
Company:Cousins of Emneth
HQ: The Forth, Emneth, Wisbech, Cambs
Owned by: The Cousins family
Annual turnover: £3m plus
Principal products: Cultivation machinery, rollers and special maintenance equipment for all-weather training surfaces for horses