Heavy demand means cultivation equipment availability is patchy

Cultivations equipment makers may have upped production sharply over the last year, but farmers wanting new machinery for this autumn who haven’t put in an order yet may still struggle to get what they want.

Availability of machines for this autumn differs from maker to maker. Shaun Groom at Austrian plough, cultivator and drill maker Pottinger says investment in capacity last year means it can supply most products either from stock or with a 4-6 week wait.

Sales in 2007 were up 20-25% across the board, he adds, with the same true across all European markets. There were also some big orders from further afield, including 200 ploughs for Ukraine and 30 big trailer cultivators going to Iran.

UK manufacturer Simba has spent £200,000 on boosting capacity at its Sleaford factory and increased the number of machines available by 25%. Despite that, some of its popular cultivators, including some models of the new SL range, are already sold out and the rest of the range is about 80% sold, says the firm’s Guy Laversha. He adds that sales in 2007 were up 27% on 2006 and he expects 2008 sales to be 25-30% above 2007. Horsch drills, which Simba sells in the UK, are all sold out for this autumn, he adds.

Over at Vaderstad UK, Mike Allsop says there are still some drills and cultivators at dealers but once those are sold any new orders will be for October 2008 delivery. He points out that it supplied 50% more air-drills in 2007 than in 2006, with sales across Europe buoyant and £25m being spent on boosting factory capacity.

Lemken UK‘s Mark Ormond says supplies of most of its machines are still fairly good, if farmers get their orders in soon. Big semi-mounted ploughs, which were a big seller last autumn, are still available for late-August delivery, but only just. “We’re coping,” he says, “but people need to move fast.” He expects sales to be good through 2008 and 2009, as farmers replace ageing or too-small tackle.

French plough and cultivator maker Gregoire Besson says it still has some dealer and ex-demo stock, but once those have gone any new orders will be for delivery in October. Sales were up more than 30% on 2006, adds the firm’s Rob Immink, with a lot of demand coming from Russia.

Alan Jones from Kverneland admits that, while the massive upturn in demand for ploughs and other cultivations equipment is good news, it has placed manufacturers under a big strain. He says there are still some Kverneland ploughs in stock at dealers but they are going fast and new ones won’t be available for delivery until September or October 2008.

The situation with other Kverneland cultivations equipment is better, with kit ordered now likely to be delivered on-farm by July. He adds that Kverneland, like other makers, has been making a big investment in increased manufacturing capacity to meet rising demand.