Friday 16 March 2012
An open day being held at a Bucks agricultural engineering firm will give farmers, contractors and other rural businesses a flavour of improvements to the services it provides.
Adrian Ford, trading as A G Ford, will welcome visitors to his renewed premises at Nearton End, Swanbourne near Winslow on Thursday, April 26.
“We’ve taken stock of the business and made some changes that will improve the services we offer farmers and others needing help in keeping their tractors and machinery in good running order,” he says. “It will also be a chance to say ‘thanks’ to our existing customers; and to welcome farmers who may not be customers now but who come to see what we now have to offer.”
Adrian’s 23 years’ experience as an agricultural machinery technician is the foundation on which the business has been built. After training at Rycotewood College, Thame in Oxfordshire, he worked with an agricultural machinery dealer before returning to the family farm nearby to work part time while putting his engineering skills to good use repairing equipment on other farms in the area.
“I like the challenge of working with machinery; getting a machine going that’s had a mechanical breakdown or needs worn parts replacing,” he says. “It’s something I enjoy doing.”
In 1999, Adrian decided to pursue this interest full time by purchasing the farm in Swanbourne where he and his wife Pippa live, letting the land to a neighbouring farmer and setting up shop as a dealership provide servicing, repairs and a growing portfolio of new equipment brands.
Taking on the sales agency for Landini tractors nine years ago was a major step that helped attract additional franchises. They now include Fleming Agri, manufacturer of a wide range of grass farming machinery, NC Engineering, a company that makes manure and slurry equipment, trailers and spreaders, and also the grassland and tillage equipment distributed by Reco.
Through the agency for Yamaha, Adrian also supplies one of the leading ranges of all-terrain quad bikes used on farms, along with Logic and Broadwood Wessex implements to go with them.
While machines from all these product ranges will be on show at the open day in April, it will be the Landini tractor line-up that takes centre stage. With a range that extends from a 22hp compact tractor for yard and paddock work to a high-performance field tractor of 225hp, the line up on the day will illustrate the broad capabilities of Landini tractors and their suitability for any number of tasks in agriculture and horticulture, and for groundcare and equestrian applications.
“Between these two machines at opposite ends of the Landini range are the tractors that are ideal for the mixed farming enterprises we have in this area,” says Adrian. “We typically supply tractors of around 100hp, often with a loader for handling bales and feed, and for clearing out livestock sheds.”
There are three different Landini models in this power and performance category produced by the ARGO Tractors factory in Italy.
The Powerfarm is for users who want an economical, no-frills tractor; the 5-H Series is similar in size but has a more sophisticated transmission and additional features; and the Powermondial has more capable hydraulics, a more comprehensive equipment list and a larger, more comfortable cab.
“As one of the World’s leading tractor manufacturers, ARGO is proud to produce many of the major components and assemblies in its own factories rather than buying them in,” points out Tim Lawrence, area sales manager at Landini distributor AgriArgo UK. “That’s a good way to control quality and ensure components are fully integrated with the overall design; it helps produce a tractor that performs well and reliably in the field.”
Transmissions, hydraulic systems, front axles and cabs are all built in-house at the ARGO factories, where they are combined with systems from leading industry suppliers, such as Bosch-Rexroth, which supplies the three-point linkage electronic controls, and Perkins Engines, the Peterborough-based manufacturer that produces the Landini tractors’ renowned four-cylinder diesels.
As for the dealership, Adrian Ford wants to spend more time on sales but is still very much hands-on, driving a well-equipped service van to farms for on-site servicing and repairs when he is not occupied in the workshop alongside technician Nathan Human, who joined the business three years ago.
In recent weeks, they have refurbished the workshop by installing new benches, upgraded lighting and more effective insulation, while also adding extra tools and equipment.
Next door, the retail shop has been extended to accommodate a bigger range of products, mainly from the Granit catalogue, all easily located on new display racking.
“We’ve more tools among the products we retail now and we’re carrying clothing and farm toys for the first time,” says Adrian. “There’s also a new trade counter to welcome customers – I think it all represents the way we’re approaching things in a more professional manner.”
Visitors to the open day on April 26 will judge for themselves how the revamped premises and the Landini product range stack up.
“I hope farmers and other rural businesses who haven’t considered using our services or buying a Landini tractor will come to take a look,” says Adrian. “I think they’ll be impressed with what they see.”