When he went looking for a new dry-product spreader for his farm in Western Australia, John Warr says he found a lot he liked in the Agri-Spread models manufactured in Ireland.
“We used to run an Australian brand of spreader but it wasn’t meeting our expectations,” he explains. “We wanted something that would go down controlled traffic (lanes), so we wanted the three metre wheel standards. We wanted something that would give us the spread widths we needed for 12 metre controlled traffic trams. We also wanted something that was variable (VRT) ready.”
“We’d done a lot of research and looked all over the world. We found a company that was new that was manufacturing in Ireland. We finished our harvest in 2013 and flew over there.”
After spending a few days in Irish fields with Agri-Spread machines, Warr says he decided to purchase three for his farm. His brother and neighbours decided they wanted to buy spreaders too. So Warr arranged to import several machines to his native Australia.
“We changed a few specs for Australia,” he adds. But the spreaders were already VRT ready and have a spread pattern that offers “99 per cent accuracy,” which made them ideal for farming conditions in his part of the world.
“Spreaders are a pretty important tool on our farm,” he says, “especially for in-crop applications of nitrogen. We’re spreading our risk. We do a lot of spreading. Our soils are quite acidic. So we spread a lot of lime and we spread a lot of fertilizer as well.”
After he arranged such a large purchase of machines, the manufacturer offered Warr the opportunity to take on the role of distributor in Australia. And although Australia and Canada aren’t exactly next door to each other, Warr says he only wanted to act as a distributor for Agri-Spread if he could have both of those markets. So he was given distribution for Australia as well as North America.
“It was a crack product, and I could see it being a good opportunity for Australian farmers,” he says. “I thought if I was going to have a go at being a distributor, why not North America as well.”
Warr already has a few Canadian dealers handling the line. But he’s still looking for more.
“We’re just over a year and a half now (as distributor).” he adds. “I guess one thing I’ve learned, being a farmer myself, is building that relationship and looking after the customer and the product is the most important thing. So, trying to find dealers with that attribute is what we’re focusing on.”
The five-model line of spreaders offers capacities from five to 11.6 tonnes. The largest model uses hydraulic drive, making it VRT ready, while the smaller models use a standard ground drive system. All come with hydraulic brakes and lighting packages.
Even though Canadian farmers may not currently use spreaders as much as Australian farmers do, Warr thinks using them offers an opportunity to limit investment risk by topping up inputs during the growing season based on weather conditions.
“I think some of the farming systems we’ve implemented, especially in Western Australia, we could bring (to Canada),” he says. “At the end of the day, we’re all faced with the same issues.”
For more information on Agri-Spread spreaders go online to agrispread.com.au.