September 2013

Contractor Profile   Download the PDF of our newsletter here

Andrew and Catherine Mabey are agricultural contractors based in Pahiatua. They live in Ballance with their three children, Sam, 8, William, 6 and Naomi, 3, while their yard is on the site of the original Tararua dairy factory. 

They offer a range of services mainly around grass silage and balage, both cereal and maize, using a square baler, two round balers and a conventional baler, as well as an individual wrapper and a tube wrapper. 

Helping keep the grass up to the chopper and balers is a Big M mower. A bagger for cereal and maize silage, and two silage trucks and trailers make up the main plant inventory, which is supplemented by a number of sub-contractors through the season. 

This business is very different from when it started. 

After training in joinery and a stint making coffins in Pahiatua, Andrew worked for his parents Ron and Jennifer Mabey on the family farm. Ron did some contracting — baling for himself and neighbouring farmers around Pahiatua. As Andrew spent more time on the baler, he could see the opportunity to grow the machinery side of the farm into a business. 

In 1999 with a few savings and the proceeds from selling his car, Andrew expanded the contracting business. At the time it consisted of a large square baler, a conventional baler, a single satellite wrapper and three tractors. Andrew’s hunch paid off, and with some concentrated effort the business began to grow and he ended up employing staff. 

One of the staff introduced Andrew to Catherine, a young lady from North Otago, who was studying at Massey. Catherine spent a year milking cows locally before they came up with a plan to grow the contracting a bit more. 

As the client base grew, customers started suggesting that Andrew buy a chopper to add to the service, which now also included a round baler. There was an opening in the area for a forage harvester, so with a very basic business plan and approval from the bank, he and Catherine headed off to the Waikato in search of a reasonably priced chopper. 

Andrew ended up spending somewhat more than he originally intended and came home with a one-year-old Jaguar 880. The purchase of the harvester changed the focus of the business somewhat, with the size of the jobs getting bigger, and an increase in trading grass and maize. The leap from measuring grass in bales to the acre to kilos of dry matter was helped by the purchase of a set of portable scales, which are kept busy for the grass and maize season. 

Andrew was able to expand the base in Ballance, Pahiatua, by building a 700m2 shed on the site of the dairy factory’s old cool store, near his parents’ house. In 2005, Ron and Jennifer decided to sell the dairy farm, so Andrew and Catherine purchased the house and buildings, which were subdivided off. 

The business was going from strength to strength, so the couple decided to buy some land, starting with a 90-ha block in North Otago, which is leased back to Catherine’s family. This purchase was followed by that of a silage block in Ballance, which is now 90 hectares. 

In June 2012, Andrew and Catherine were able to buy back Andrew’s family farm. It is now milking 210 cows under a manager, with Catherine working on it part-time between doing administration for the contracting business. 

This year, Andrew and Catherine have an au pair from Germany, who is helping with the couple’s three children during the week. 

By 2010 the business was going well, but Andrew realised he had a bottleneck: while he was upgrading equipment in all directions his staff were struggling to keep up with a chopper and the square and round balers with only a couple of bar mowers. Andrew looked at the option of tractor and triples, but wasn’t quite sure about another tractor. 

After much discussion, and a few short trips back and forth to Masterton, the leap was made from running two 3.2m bar mowers to a brand new Krone Big MII. 

“Once we tried it, there was no going back, especially with the grouping in summer,” says Andrew. This started the trend. A good relationship developed and Andrew purchased a Krone Comprima from Transag Centre in Palmerston North. 

“I like the quality of Krone and the service from Transag and Tullochs,” says Andrew. The Mabeys now run two Krone EasyCut 320 mowers, a Krone Swadro 800 and 900 rake, a Comprima V 150XC, Fortima V 1500MC and a brand new Big M 420CV, the first in New Zealand, which was traded up to from the Big MII. 

The great service from Transag has encouraged Andrew to convert his fleet to Case tractors together with an LBX square baler. Andrew says he and Catherine enjoy a good relationship with Tulloch Farm Machines and enjoy dealing direct with John Tulloch. Andrew was able to visit the Krone factory in 2011, and enjoyed meeting with Dr. Bernard Krone when he visited New Zealand in 2012. 

Andrew and Catherine say their success has been driven by the support they have, both from their team of staff, family — and of course the great service from Tullochs!
Andrew and Catherine Mabey with their flagship Big M 420CV, the first in New Zealand.
Young Sam Mabey is exhibiting the same enthusiasm for Krone gear as his Mum & Dad!

Big X 1100 coming with EasyCollect 903

Due to touch down for the coming maize season is the world’s most powerful forage harvester, the Krone Big X 1100 fitted with the row-independent EasyCollect 903 9m maize front. It is powered by a 24.2-litre V12 MAN engine producing 1078hp.  It was not long ago — 2007 in fact — that the first Krone Big X V8 (605hp) arrived in New Zealand and people could not imagine why we wanted so much power!

Dealer training big success

We recently conducted training for dealers from Kaitaia to Invercargill to bring the sales force up to speed on new products, provide current product refreshers and of course take the opportunity for a good old catch-up. 

We ran three courses of two days each, at Ellerslie Events Centre in Auckland for the top of the North Island dealers, Feilding’s Manfeild Events Centre for the Lower North Island and Oamaru for the South Island dealers. A very pleasing attendance at all venues was no doubt helped by the slow time of the year which allowed dealers to release staff. 

We are especially grateful that Henrik Feldman from Krone and Emmanuel Portier from Monosem came to New Zealand specifically for this event with no other business engagements elsewhere in the region before or after. 

Making room for the bits for the big guys

We are about to embark on a major expansion exercise in our parts holding facility. 

We need a lot more space for Krone parts, particularly those for Big X and Big M, and we are also expanding our retail profile in the Wairarapa. The latter project involves adding a franchise for the Tool Shed range of equipment. 

This development will see 650m² added to our current 500m² parts storage which is in the main office block. We have a further 120m² of bulk parts in the new shed built in 2006; this will also be moved into the new facility, keeping all parts under one roof and freeing up space for storage of whole goods. 

To maximise utilisation of space we will equip ourselves with a special walk-behind electric fork lift. 

Free Smart TV with 2013 balers sold

We are offering a FREE new Panasonic 42” Smart TV with every new 2013 Fortima or Comprima round baler purchased (does not apply to combination baler/wrapper). So if your TV needs an upgrade — and remember we will all be on digital TV soon —  buy a new Krone round baler and get a digital Smart TV for FREE.

Get snapping for the Photo Competition

The FREE trip to Grasslands 2014 is still up for grabs. The competition closes Friday 13th December. Please note this date has been brought forward due to airline booking deadlines. Please visit our website for terms and conditions.


Krone has been the first agricultural equipment manufacturer to gain AEF (Agricultural Industries Electronics Foundation) ISOBUS certification for some of their equipment. 

The full range of loader wagons and the B series triple mowers were submitted and passed with flying colours. Scrutinised were: user interface (VT); steering/control using an external joystick (AUX); machine data collection and management (TC-bas, TC-geo) plus compatibility with the Tractor ECU (TECU); AEF conformance.
Krone (Pic filename: Big X Halle 1) is busy building a new hall to house the Big X assembly. Measuring 265m by 27m this should keep up with demand for some time. Someone in the office with too much time on their hands worked out that Usain Bolt could run the length of it in 24 seconds!

Supreme International, which recently launched the triple screw 2000HDT with a capacity of 53m³, is now celebrating 60 years in business.

Sustainability rocks

Everyone is talking about sustainability. Sometimes in business and life in general we bumble around and can’t see the wood for the trees (could it be that maybe there are no trees left?). So what are we doing about ensuring the farms are still there for our grandchildren? 

From Monosem we offer a comprehensive range of top quality inter-row cultivators for row crops and vegetable crops, saving on chemical control and the potential residue contamination that entails.


From Orthman we offer the 1tRIPr strip tiller which utilizes a sustainable cultivation method – vertical tillage, albeit best suited for row crops. Tilling only the planting row reduces soil erosion from wind and water. The fracturing of the soil is far more sustainable than any conventional method that uses plough, disc or rotary-type tillage. 

Due for evaluation this season is the OekoSem IV strip till machine out of Switzerland, designed specifically to deal with turf. While the manner in which it cultivates is not as kind to the soil as the 1tRIPr from Orthman, it has a shank that penetrates to 250mm straddled by a rotary tiller down to 150mm, but it has the design feature that it was built to mount a planter directly behind, thus requiring only one pass to cultivate and plant.  


The Einbock Pneumaticstar used for its intended purpose as an undersower is a brilliant tool for economic and environmentally sustainable pasture renovation. 

Due for further testing this season is the Kiwi Bagger. The bagger concept is from Appiese in Italy but is sufficiently modified to be renamed the Kiwi Bagger. 

The bagger utilizes two 600mm augers to feed the 12-foot bag. Our goal is to be able to bag grass silage at the same pace as the chopper. If we achieve this then we believe we have an economically viable alternative for ensiling crops in that the cost difference relative to stacked silage is minimal. 

Bagging means no tyres on stacks and has far less spoilage, particularly on the face. Feed from a bag is most likely to be of superior quality to that from a stack so you achieve a greater cost benefit, little to no waste from a bag, the ease of handling from a small face — and you only have to deal with the bag when extracting feed (not tyres as well). So now add in the cost savings and there’s an improved bottom line as well!

Staff profile:

Mark Davies  

Mark joined the team in July 2012 as accountant, looking after all aspects of accounts and stock control. His varied experience is a great asset for our team.

Hailing originally from the Wairarapa, Mark went to Wairarapa College and then to Massey University to undertake Business Studies with a major in Accounting.  

After working for three years with Mowtown in Wanganui, he headed away for his big OE, during which he worked for Lloyds TSB in Bristol, England. In 2000 he set off on an African adventure with an old schoolfriend, Tina Weatherstone. To the roar of the lions under an African sky, the friendship developed into something more meaningful and in 2003 they married. After a stint working in Wellington, Mark and Tina both worked in Ireland. Then they headed back home to Masterton, where the family has grown to include Bethany aged 7, Abigail, 5, and Adam who has just turned 2. 

Mark is a keen road and mountain cyclist who does his best to give motorists enough room when they’re passing and he enjoys running. Tina enjoys family bikes rides and also indulges in running. 
Buying the new Krone machinery has paid off, with much lower running costs than before.



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