Amazone recently opened its brand new UK headquarters at Orchard Farm, Auckley, Yorkshire, welcoming more than 500 dealers and customers.
Jane Carley was there to find out more...
Gearing up for the future, Amazone’s new UK headquarters represents more than just an administrative centre, offering training and a comprehensive stock of parts. In addition, its 20 acre site also features trial plots and the ability to test drive new machines.
Amazone’s managing director Justus Dreyer (pictured below left) recalled how the German manufacturer had opened its UK subsidiary in 1982. “Today there are higher specifications and levels of technology in our products and training, support and service have become increasingly important, hence the development of Orchard Farm.”
Commenting on the timing of the launch, which came as Brexit negotiations rumbled on in Parliament: “All of the shareholders in Amazone are members of the Dreyer family, so we can invest in the long term and do not see Brexit as an issue. We believe that British farmers will remain successful and competitive, so we need a good UK team with a strong reputation to enable us to increase our market share.”
Commercial director Christian Dreyer (pictured below, second from left) explains that the large outdoor spaces would be used to demonstrate machines, educate customers and develop dialogue on industry developments with customers and other parties.
Plans for the site include a test track for sprayers, machine simulator areas where terminals and apps can be operated and trial plots. “We intend to offer more training, as we believe it is essential for the success of farmers and Amazone as a supplier,” he says.
Amazone UK managing director Simon Brown (pictured above, second from the right) explains that Orchard Farm will increase parts capacity by 50 per cent compared to the company’s previous facility at Harworth, which has been leased back from its new owner during the transition period. “This gives us the opportunity have more parts in stock, offering some safety against the effects of Brexit. Once the UK has left the EU, we will need to pay VAT on parts, and then claim it back.”
On the face of it at least, it certainly seems this is a thriving company, from the imposing new headquarters, which would not look out of place in Germany’s industrial heartland, to soaring turnover figures - up 25 per cent in 2018 and already up 40 per cent on that this year.
At the recent opening, visitors had the opportunity to see a wide range of Amazone equipment in action on the large demonstration area, which includes growing crops, with a number of new products highlighted (see panels).
Various options for the Cirrus large area combination grain/fertiliser drill were presented, including a new straight disc cultivation section for min-till conditions as an alternative to the serrated discs used in conventional seedbed preparation.
The high specification drill has a 4,000 litre pressurised tank and can now also be equipped to place fertiliser alongside the seed, designated the Cirrus 03-2CC Double-Shoot. A second distribution head and coulter system can be used for either sowing a second seed type or applying fertiliser directly into the seedbed adjacent to the seed, avoiding direct seed contact from ‘single shooting’ which can cause scorch.
The hopper is split 60:40 into two compartments enabling the operator to calibrate two different materials at two different application rates, using the remote TwinTerminal 3.0 and without climbing in and out of the cab. Seeding and fertilisation can be controlled by using a twin rate prescription map for part-area, site specific seeding via GPS; both materials being delivered to the TwinTec Plus or RoTec Pro coulters at the rear or one material at the rear coulters and the second to the FerTec coulters that are arranged in front of the tyre roller. This enables products to be placed at differing depths depending on moisture requirement and seed size.
A conventional single shoot system where the two materials are both placed in the same seed row, such as when using a starter fertiliser for cereals or a combination of the two can also be selected. In addition to variable rate seeding, the Cirrus can also vary coulter pressure to alter seeding depth according to soil type and texture.
Other options include the Green Drill applicator for Avadex, slug pellets or to undersow grass. Currently this is controlled via its own box but will soon be integrated with the drill’s IsoBus terminal. Working widths are 4 and 6m.
Offering an alternative to power harrow mounting, the 3m Centaya pneumatic drill can now be paired with the firm’s Combi-Disc 3000 non-powered cultivator for a low horsepower, low fuel consumption combi-drilling operation, says the manufacturer.
Using Amazone’s quick link attachment system, the Combi-Disc can also be demounted to use alone for preparing stale seedbeds.
“It is a low cost, flexible cultivator for farms that wish to use a non-powered system for drilling and cannot justify the cost of a Catros as a separate cultivator,” points out Simon Brown.
Choice of rollers includes a toothed rubber roller, steel toothed packer or light land roller. The Combi-Disc can also be used with the Cataya box drill, and is some £7,000 cheaper than a power harrow, explained Mr Brown.
Introduced at Cereals last year, the first Centayas are now on farm, featuring a distinctive lightweight plastic hopper. For easy calibration, the drill comes with a handy kit incorporating a collapsible bucket and weighing scale to measure from the slide out hopper, all contained within a locker on the side of the frame.
Visitors also got the chance to view Amazone’s front and rear fertiliser spreader outfit, which comprises two standard TA-TS Profis Hydro spreaders used together to apply two products or put on especially high volumes.
In-house software in the IsoBus controller mirrors all the rear spreaders’ functions including border and section control, and displays both units on one terminal screen. Due to the spread patterns, shut off points are also taken into account, with the front spreader shut down or turned back on way ahead of the rear spreader.
The unit was used to display the new Flow Check function which monitors the shutter output for bridging and subsequent blockages. Flow pressure within the spreading disc motors is measured via sensors in the hydraulic system and if this changes, due to a blockage in the aperture and thus a reduction in the application rate, the system detects it and sends an alarm to the driver via the terminal, monitored for both the right and left hand sides individually.
Amazone celebrates 50 years as a manufacturer of sprayers in 2019, and some of the early machines sold in the UK lined up alongside their modern, high tech contemporaries.
This 1990 UF features the H Boom, the industry’s first rear fold boom, which used a piston and cable system to place the boom behind the tank, avoiding risks from dripping nozzles close to the tractor cab and making for the compact unit needed by the farming businesses using mounted sprayers. It is still in use and had come off the owner’s farm the night before.