SDF sets high target in combine development

Same Deutz-Fahr has embarked on an ambitious combine harvester production project that it says will give the company a 10% global market share by 2015.

The project has at its core the recent acquisition of a combine harvester production facility at Zupanja in Croatia – SDF acquired control of Duro Dakovic, the Croatian manufacturer which had been building Deutz-Fahr combines under licence since 1982.

Now called Same Deutz-Fahr Combines, last year saw 146 harvesters built.

There are plans to increase production to 850 a year by 2010 and, five years later, to 1200 units to give the company a 10% share of a 12,000 strong global market.

Heading up the new combine division is Aldo Carozzo who says he expects the biggest growth to be in areas such as China, Middle East and North Africa with volumes in Western Europe remaining reasonably static.

More importantly, he believes the demand will be for straw walker-type combines rather than rotary.

“Rotary combines are expensive and I’m not sure that this is the way to achieve higher output,” he says.

“Straw walker harvesters are, in our experience, cheaper to operate and easier to maintain.”

As a result SDF Combines is to major in the development of larger straw walker machines.

The coming year will see development of a 400hp, seven straw walker combine along with a new 360hp model for the six straw walker 56 Series – a range currently topped by the 313hp 5690.

Mr Carozzo also points out that, to achieve his company’s 10% market share, close attention will need to be made to the marketing of combines.

“It is important to note that selling a combine is not the same selling a tractor – it needs much more after sales service and product expertise,” he says.

As a result, he says that combines will not be available from all SDF dealers – far from it.

He estimates that Western Europe will require just 100 dealers and there will be no more than six in the UK.

Meanwhile, at Zupanja, where labour costs are reported to be five times less than in most other parts of Western Europe, a series of plant updates are being implemented to enable the expected demands on production to be achieved.

SDF says it is investing over €10m of which €3m is being earmarked for the paint department.

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