December 2007

K. G. Moratti Contracting

Sitting in the Inglewood house where he has lived for the last 48 years, Ken Moratti recalls that before he went contracting he milked cows for four years and during the process had a chance to use a hedge trimmer on the boxthorn hedges. He got such a good grip of it that the neighbours began asking him to trim their hedges... eventually equipped with Massey Ferguson 135 and 165 tractors, a drill and a hedge cutter, Ken started his contracting business from the house.
 
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Pictured: Billy Moratti with Alan Humphries from A.M.T. New Plymouth

“Think Big” gave him his first big break. One morning while he was having a cup of tea in the lounge an old fellow arrived at the doorway and shouted out “Does anyone want a bloody job?” An astounded Ken learned that this job was the re-grassing contract for the Kapuni gas pipeline. The contract involved a 160-kilometre stretch from Hawera to Pio Pio at a width of 40 metres. With a 48” hoe and a drill, the job took two years.

Later on Ken managed to secure a hay contract for farms belonging to the Departments of Maori Affairs and Lands & Survey at Western Bays, Taupo, that lasted 14 years. This involved making an average 100,000 bales annually. The trip on a Fergy 165 multipower took six and a half hours through the back via Whangamomona. One of Ken’s sons, Billy, was milking until 1983 when he tried driving for Ken; he liked it so much he decided to stay on. Ken retired in 2000 and now Billy runs the business with his wife Fiona.

Billy says the key to contracting success is not just having the gear, but being able to get it there on time. That’s why he owns so much of it! However, he has also built a number of good relationships with subcontractors so he can call them in to ensure his customers get the best possible service when needed. Co-ordinating all the staff is challenging and would be even more so without a cell phone, he says - the company does over 6,000 acres of pit silage, up to 50,000 round and square wrapped bales, and 30,000 hay bales each season. K.G. Moratti Contracting offers its extensive client base a full range of services from hedge cutting, effluent removal, cultivation including seeding and pasture renovation, maize silage, hay and balage. 

Billy runs 11 round balers, two big square balers, four loader wagons, two choppers, and various mowers, rakes, tedders and wrappers - not to mention the miscellaneous hedge trimmers, pumps, ploughs, subsoilers, power harrows drills, rotary hoes and maize planters. To pull this equipment Billy owns 13 tractors and leases four more; he employs 12 fulltime staff and an additional 11 during the season to operate all this gear.

The Morattis’ first association with Tulloch Farm Machines was in the early ’70s when Ken decided that the Taupo contract would benefit from round bales and he purchased a Gehl 1500 round baler. After a succession of Gehl balers, the first Krone 10-16s was purchased in 1995 and then came the VarioPack models in 2000.   Billy has slowly purchased more Krone equipment over the years: an EC280CV mower conditioner, two Krone Swadro 761 rakes, three Krone VP1500 balers, one VP1500MC baler and two Krone CP1500V CombiPack baler wrappers.

He says he gets good service from Alan Humphries at Agricultural Machinery Taranaki in New Plymouth and the Krone gear is good, particularly the balers. “They are built strong and they can bale when the belt balers have to pack up and go home.” In 2006 he bought the first of two CombiPack baler wrappers. “What I like about these machines is that at the beginning of the season when we start with the small bitty jobs and are not up to the full complement of staff, it is easy to send one man and the job is done.”
 
Christmas message

As we all know too well, agriculture is full of surprises. The weather, politics and trends in both the developed and developing worlds can have a signifi cant impact on our trade. By the time you read this, crude oil will probably be over US$100/ barrel. There are however some things we can control - sourcing the right products for our customers and maximising the quality of service we offer being paramount among these. 

All of us at TFM thank our dealers for their commitment to supporting our range of equipment. As acknowledged elsewhere in this newsletter, that commitment has enabled better-than-expected sales to farmers and contractors alike. We wish you all the best for the coming season’s festivities and hope you all enjoy a prosperous 2008. Thank you for your business. We assure you of our continuing efforts to improve our service delivery to you, irrespective of whether you are an end-user or a dealer.
 
2007 in review

The TFM budget for 2007 was set in December 2006 when the future of agriculture was not looking particularly bright. However, even before the announcement of the increase in the milk payout our sales were higher than 2006 — yet another record. Sales up to September 2007 were up 12% compared to the same time in 2006. We attribute this to the dedication of our trusted dealers who fly the flag for us from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

Significant innovations in 2007:
 
  • A photo competition is introduced with an overseas trip valued at over $7000 as first prize.
  • Operator training courses run at nine different locations around the country with over 100 farmer and contractor operators attending.
Significant sales achievements in 2007:
 
  • Two Krone Big MII units sold into Bay of Plenty and Wairarapa.
  • Second Krone Big X, at 650hp the most powerful forage harvester in New Zealand, sold into South Canterbury.
  • Krone is the top selling round baler in New Zealand for the second consecutive year.
  • Three Krone MultiBale square balers sold.
 
The value of maintenance

After a life of milking cows on his family’s farm near Stratford with his brother, Albert Steiner not unreasonably decided in 2002 that he had done his share of milking. He sold the cows and leased the farm out to his neighbour. The 70-year-old is still quite active though; he still cultivates the paddocks, and bales the balage and hay.
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Albert Steiner, left, being congratulated on his maintenance by John Tulloch.

The farm is close to the southeast foot of Mt. Taranaki and features pastures in great condition. 

Albert attributes the health of the grasses to his hedges which afford good protection and not using urea. We visited Albert because we heard that something else on the farm was in great nick as well: the Krone KR150 fixed chamber baler he bought new in 1986. 

The baler has averaged about a thousand bales a year and is still as good as the day it was purchased. Albert prides himself on the condition of this baler, which he says is the result of his strict servicing and because "... it has never been out in the rain." Albert’s testimonial is evidence that a strict servicing regime will prolong the life of a machine and reduce down-time. 

Although the baler may not have done a large number of bales overall, it is in near showroom condition with little of no signs of rust or paint deterioration.
 
Krone sales record - 1.2b Euro

Krone turned over 1.21 billion euros in the fiscal year 2006/2007, a 23.8% increase over the previous year, benefiting from a healthy German economy and a buoyant commercial trailer market. 

It enjoyed exceptionally high growth in all three of its operations: trailers, agricultural machinery and agricultural machinery trading. Group sales inside Germany increased 8.7% to 443.3 million euros (408 million euros in the previous year) while export sales grew by 34.5% to 766.9 million euros (570 million). 

Krone agricultural machinery sales increased 15.3% to 305 million euros, of which 68% was generated outside Germany.The group invested 30 million euros in upgrading and expanding both the Werlte and Spelle plants during the year; the highest single item was a new 15 million euro dip-painting facility at Spelle.Krone’s workforce is growing accordingly: 2,013 in the reported period, up from 1,825 in the previous year. 

Krone recruits its senior staff from its own ranks and currently trains 88 young people in technical and commercial disciplines while 24 young graduates undergo a trainee programme to prepare for leadership in the company.
 
News from Einbock

Einböck completed its best year ever in terms of turnover at the end of July 2007 - a 34 % increase, the highest in its 73-year history. Niche products like mechanical maintenance machines for grassland and tillage, spring-tine cultivators, pneumatic universal seeders and machines for minimum tillage contributed to this result.

Einböck’s 65 employees steered the company to continued growth in Austria and wider Europe, Eastern Europe particularly. There were downsides to this substantial growth - delivery times were sometimes longer, but promised time frames were met. 

To speed up production, the company ordered three additional welding robots that were due to start work about now. In January, a covered production area was enlarged by 1800 square metres but this hasn’t proved to be enough so a further expansion is planned for summer 2008.With this investment Einböck says it is setting a course for even further growth and a successful future.
 
Big-X update

Our trials with the Krone Big X V8 generated a huge amount of interest and we have sold one more machine, so now there are two Big X V8s in New Zealand.
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The most powerful forage harvester in New Zealand - Meyer Contracting Waimate

This second machine is a slightly updated model fitted with the latest tier 3 engine meeting the most stringent emission controls. This new engine is now rated at 650hp. The machine was sold to Meyer Contracting in Waimate, a previous purchaser of a Big M II.
 
Dave Tulloch

Dave has a passion for machines. At 16 he built his first car out of bits he acquired, including a 1914 Dodge engine. The following year he started his automotive apprenticeship. In 1958 he built a tractor using a Bedford KMO engine and a high-speed diff. The tractor was fully sprung and had a WOF for 55mph but apparently was easily capable of 100mph.
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Dave completed his apprenticeship in 1954 with K J Percy in Roberts Road, Masterton. They were the service agents for Massey Harris tractors, but their reputation was such that they also worked on Vanguard cars, Commer milk trucks, International crawlers and wheel tractors, and Standard and Pacer tractors. Later the company was awarded theagency for Oliver tractors and balers. 

Dave recalls there was no electricity at Tinui at the time and they used to service the lighting plants in the area. In 1955 his father asked him to come in and help with the contracting business. Shortly afterwards, they were offered the New Holland agency which they ran as DW Tulloch and Company Ltd from their family dairy farm in Manaia Road. With a smile, Dave recalls the early highlight of his life on July 4th 1959 “... the day I married Dorothy.” They have two children, Julie and Andrew. Tulloch Farm Machines was formed in 1963.

It acquired dealerships for Claas, Freeman, and Bisley rakes and silos. Dave ran the workshop while his brother Graeme ran the sales side. As sales increased and the company grew, Dave handed over the service department to Jim Tulloch and set up an R&D department. There is hardly a machine sold by Tulloch Farm Machines that is without some sort of “slight alteration” developed by Dave to suit New Zealand conditions. 

From 1988 when the company went through a brief ownership change, Dave was retained as a consultant. In that capacity, Dave still comes in five days a week and it’s not unusual to see his car parked outside the workshop on a Saturday or Sunday. Outside work, Dave was chairman of St John’s for 11 years and has been a member of Lions Club since 1962.
 
Supreme Feed Processor

The revitalised dairy industry has prompted numerous enquiries for feed processors. The Supreme feed processor from Canada has many exclusive features and one that we decided to investigate was its reputed durability.
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Alistair Jordan and manager Brendon Chesswas

Supreme boasts a higher build quality/specification compared to its opposition which, as we know, comes at a cost. So we decided to find out if the extra cost could be justifi ed. We travelled to New Plymouth to catch up with Alistair Jordan who runs a Supreme 500S feed processor. This was the fi rst unit imported to New Zealand, in 1997, and was sent for demos around the country. It was finally bought by Graeme Tulloch, who owned it until 2000 when he upgraded to a Supreme 700T. 

Alistair bought the three-year-old 500S. Seven years down the track, he was pretty pleased with his investment; it has never let him down. In the time he has owned the Supreme he has always used it to feed out in the paddock. With the farm being at the base of Mt. Taranaki, the terrain is rather tough yet it carries not a single dent.
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Buying the new Krone machinery has paid off, with much lower running costs than before.

IAN MILLER

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