May 2006

BIG-M On Tour

We recently embarked on a short tour of Taranaki, Manawatu and Hawkes Bay with Andrew Tulloch’s Big M. Operated by Simon (Skinny) the machine was put through its paces to impress customers who were also given the opportunity to drive under his guidance. 

The interesting observation from these demonstrations is that every single owner, operator or client of contractor who came to see the Big M at work was extremely impressed without exception. Having done 3000 engine hours and 1500 cutting hours - some actually thought it was a new machine. Those that were running a triple mower combination very quickly realised that there is absolutely no way that a triple will compare to the concept of a purpose built machine such as the Big M. All who were given the opportunity to drive, commented on the ease of operating and the room and comfort inside the cab. It was noticeable that the Big M is very manoeuvrable in fact more so than tractor combination units - even in the small paddocks of Stratford.
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Skinny with his trusty steed

Seeing is believing 

As expected the typical issues were raised - “With triples we can still do ground work with the tractor when not mowing and to have a huge investment like that parked in the shed when the mowing is over is a hard ask.”. We countered that with - “Would you sell your self propelled chopper for tow behinds?” Seeing is believing - those that had the opportunity to drive, soon realised that the efficiencies to be gained from a purpose built unit will overshadow any perceived advantages of triples. Needless to say we expect the numbers in the field to increase as more people realise that the concept is not a wild dream, but a viable move forward
 
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Another Big M II loaded for delivery
 
Kevin & Cynthia Mills

Kevin & Cynthia Mills, dairy farmers managing two farms milking a total of 600 cows are also hay & silage baling contractors. Based near Kaitaia, they operate a Krone Big Pack 80-80 medium square baler, a Krone CombiPack 1500V, a VarioPack 1500MC round baler and a Krone Swadro 761 swather. 

Kevin began his contracting career 30 years ago working with his father baling conventional bales and making pit silage. After 10 years he branched out on his own account, concentrating on round bales for hay and later when the system became viable, round bale silage. He has owned and/or operated most round balers from the major manufacturers, e.g., Vermeer, John Deere, New Holland, Gehl ( two RB1450’s and one RB1470), but it was not until 1999, when he and Cynthia purchased their first Krone VP1500 round baler from Kaitaia Tractors (1996) Ltd, that their business began to grow. 

Cynthia reckons that the Krone round baler revolutionised the making of baled silage in the North. Kevin elaborated saying compared with belt balers operating in the same conditions, the Krone baler was way ahead of the opposition. More work was booked in because of the quality of the silage bales made with the Krone VP1500. They doubled their output of bales in the second season of operating the Krone because of the consistent quality of the product produced in the first year. Also, the reliability of the Krone VarioPack round baler to effortlessly bale all kinds of crops, and in the variable climate conditions in the North, meant they were more timely getting to jobs and therefore able to take on more work. 

They bought their second VarioPack , a VP1500MC in 2004 with the intention of selling the original VP1500. But to keep up with the work, the original machine had to stay until the middle of the next season, when it was finally replaced with a combination baler/wrapper, a Krone CombiPack1500 V. The latter has now done a season and a half and has proved to be very manoeuvrable on country where, Kevin admits, he didn’t think he would be able to operate the bigger machine. The cost savings of the CombiPack, with all the advantages and reliability of a Krone variable chamber round baler, have confirmed for Kevin that his original purchasing decision was indeed the right one. More than 15,000 round bales per year are now rolled up by Kevin Mills Contracting; most of them Silage bales.

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Left to right - Clarence with Cynthia, Kevin and Evan Bird

Krone BigPack triples the output 

In 2003 a Krone BigPack 80-80 medium square baler was added to the fleet . Mainly used for hay, Kevin’s BP80-80 has gone from baling 5,000 bales in the first season, 18,500 in the second year, to over 15,000 already for the current season. This season a Krone Swadro 761 twin rotor rake was purchased. The 680L they were using “was not hacking it” according to Kevin. It could keep ahead of one baler, but the Swadro 761 can keep two balers busy without a problem. It has a much better rotor suspension which follows the ground better and it is much more user friendly than the their other rake. 

According to Kevin & Cynthia, one of the most important aspects contributing to the success of their operation is the support they receive from their local dealer, Clarence Foster and his team at Kaitaia Tractors (1996) Ltd. As Kevin says, contractors talk to one another. They get together every now and then and exchange views on product and people. Some of the stuff that others tell him about their local dealers/suppliers would have him blowing his top every day. He says his Krone gear does not break down very often, but things go wrong every now and then. Balers don’t like No.1 posts or waratah standards very much, and when he has a problem which needs fixing in a hurry, Kaitaia tractors will have a man on the job within twenty minutes, regardless of the time of day or night. As Cynthia says, “It is difficult to grow good grass in the North, and peoples’ crops are precious to them. They don’t want to see their crop drying out to nothing in the paddock while your gear is sitting in the workshop. It is very important that we have good gear and good service. We have that with Krone and Kaitaia Tractors.”
 
Kaitaia Tractors

The late Jack Ward, founder of Kaitaia Tractors, used to claim he was the top IH dealer in New Zealand. Geographically speaking, that statement was beyond refute.

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There are many in the North however, who think Kaitaia Tractors were tops in every way. Cynthia & Kevin Mills certainly believe that they have a top dealer in Clarence Foster and his team at Kaitaia Tractors. Kaitaia Tractors have been a Tulloch dealer for more than 30 years. Over the years, they sold and serviced to the district, Gehl forage harvesters and round balers, J-F forage harvesters, Krone Mower Conditioners, power harrows and of course the first Krone VP1500 baler in 1999.

Clarence Foster began an apprenticeship with Kaitaia Tractors in 1957. He was one of the first in New Zealand to qualify in the then new category of diesel mechanic. He worked at his trade with the company, eventually moving into the parts department and then into sales. Clarence managed Kaitaia Tractors for Jack Ward for 20 years before he eventually purchased the company in 1996. 


New premises and 3 fold growth

In 1999 he moved into the current, purpose built premises. The change of location and image saw expansion of the service division and product lines. The company has seen 3-fold growth since the change of premises. Today, the company has a total staff of 18, 10 of them in the workshop, and they run 6 service vehicles, including a specialist hydraulic hose service vehicle.The long association between Kaitaia Tractors and Tulloch Farm Machines has much to do with the two sharing the same values of service to their customers and the supply of quality products, suitable for local operators and their conditions.
 
Dealer Conference 2006

On the 23rd and 24th March 2006 we hosted a dealer conference in Masterton with special international guest Martin Seggering from Krone. 

The conference was used to showcase some new products to our dealers and to discuss issues relating to service, sales, parts, warranty and finance - all to ensure we are all thinking along the same lines, to enable us to extend the best possible service to our customers.

Representation from Kaitaia to Invercargill saw a good cross section from our dealer network all eager to be proactive and have their say. 

The opening address on Thursday by John Tulloch was followed by a presentation from our international guest Martin Seggering responsible for the marketing division of Krone. The wives/partners were then taken off on a mystery tour of the Wairarapa. The remainder of the delegates, 37 excluding Tulloch staff were split into groups and then given a presentation on the equipment which included the Krone Big X, Krone Big MII, Krone BigPack MultiBale, Krone KW5.52 Tedder with OctoLink, and the Einbock Pneumaticstar 600. The afternoon saw the delegates given the opportunity to present a selected item of equipment to the conference, followed by an address from FMG with a unique finance offer for our dealers.

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The Dlegates - Tulloch Dealer Conference 2006

Jet Sprints makes an appearance 

Finally that afternoon a promotional DVD for Jet Sprints was shown with our sponsored driver and navigator Richard Murray and Kesty Manning in attendance. That evening allowed all to get together and exchange war stories over a good meal and a few refreshments and then a somewhat different but very humorous entertainment skit was put on from a group from Wellington known as The Improvisers - almost a Who’s Line Is It type act. 

The next day continued with presentations from parts and service which led to an open forum affording delegates an opportunity to speak freely on any issues of concern. Finally a presentation on marketing from Nick Gillot led to the closing address by John Tulloch and a very informative and successful conference was closed.

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Delegates look over machines some not seen in New Zealand before
 
Neil and Jill Sulzberger

Ever wondered where the Bull comes from? 

About 30 years ago, Neil and Jill Sulzberger, dairy farmers at Awatuna, near Kaponga decided to diversify and set up a bull hire service operating from Awatuna. Then 12 years ago, they shifted to a farm near New Plymouth. carrying on their bull hire business. The Sulzbergers buy in 200 calves a year to keep the gene pool diverse to assure their customers are getting top quality services at all times. The business has grown over the years and enabled the Sulzbergers to purchase a 740 acre dairy farm in the South Waikato which now milks 700 cows. 


Otherwise known as Mr Cricket! 

As we all know, farming is not so much a job, but a way of life. To be successful you have to be dedicated and if you want to pursue ventures outside of farming, then a very reliable, understanding partner is essential. For as long as he can remember (over 40 years), Neil has been involved in cricket - playing, coaching and administration. Otherwise known as Mr Cricket, Neil has now been honoured as a life member of Taranaki Cricket Association. Four years ago an indoor cricket practice centre was built at the New Plymouth Boys High School which was named after him. The combined dedication of Neil and Jill has allowed them to succeed in business and at the same time make an immeasurable contribution not only to Taranaki cricket but to New Zealand cricket. 

For Neil’s dedication to cricket, Jill has been responsible for the bulk of the management and the success of the enterprises they run, however one aspect that Jill prefers to leave to Neil to decide on is the machinery.

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Neil Sulzberger with his trusty Krone

New Krone mower ordered 

In June 1998 the Sulzbergers decided that a new mower was in order, but it needed to be robust. The conditions at Waitara were not as demanding as Awatuna, which was notorious for stones, but the bull holes certainly take their toll on equipment. Neil was running a 1.65m drum mower behind his Fergie 375. After some serious scrutinising it was decided the Krone AM 283S 2.8m mower looked the best. He liked the idea it had no inner shoe and looked tough. The Krone worked so well that four years ago he bought another Krone mower for the dairy farm without even looking at the opposition machines.

“ I like the way the mower lays the grass down - it is so easy to row up and bale” says Neil. Admitting that he only cuts 80 acres a year on the bull farm, Neil says that last month (January 2006) he opened up the box of blades supplied with the mower when delivered and replaced 3 blades - the only repair of any sort ever to be carried out on the machine which Neil is meticulous about maintaining. Neil says he likes how easy it is to operate, easy to maintain, how well it floats and the huge saving in time cutting 2.8m as opposed to his previous 1.65m. “The mower has stood up well to the bull holes” concludes Neil.
 
Jet Sprints

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Nick Gillot buckles up with pilot, Richard Murray

It’s sometimes good to think outside the square. 

The unpredictability of the agricultural business makes it exciting and a challenge to be involved, but it can sometimes appear to be somewhat mundane - and from out of the blue you receive a request from two customers to sponsor their venture into the sport of Jet Sprint racing. 

You might ask “What has Jet Sprint racing got in common with grass harvesting?” Well absolutely nothing... but never mind, its fun to watch. It is the sort of sport that no matter weather you are a Petrol Head or not, you will be impressed with the speed and acceleration of these incredibly agile machines. The safety equipment, staff and rulings are all in place, but that does not mean that the sport is accident free. There are very rarely any serious injuries but enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat. 


Hair raising action! 

The hair on the back of your neck stands on end with the thunder of the heavy V8’s pushing almost 500 hp in the NZ Lites category to well over 1000 hp in the Super boats class. Acceleration of 0 - 120 kph in little over 2 sec. is impressive. Cornering is another thing, as if on rails the G forces experienced are around 4G to 5G in the Lites and A class, but in the potent Superboats one can experience up to 8 G’s momentarily in a very tight corner. 

Round 3 at Gisborne saw our team get a 6th place and 6th. again in Auckland on April 2nd. at Meremere. The next race is at Timaru on April 16th. Round 6 is at Featherston on April 22nd. 

The boat in question, number 43 Rickety Rocket is being piloted by Richard Murray (contractor from Wanganui) and navigated by Kesty Manning (contractor profiled in April 2005 news letter) 

On the 26th March the Jet Sprint drivers hosted a sponsors day at Richard’s track just out of Wanganui where sponsors were given the opportunity to go for a ride followed buy a few refreshments and a barbie and needless to say, a good adrenaline rush day was had by all.
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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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