This is our first blog for WM Agri, and it is something which if you aren’t (like I am ) used to writing this type of thing it doesn’t flow naturally on to the screen, rather coughs splutters and gradually makes it’s way on to it!

In May of this year myself and another treasured member of the WM Agri team and my fiancé Lou Lou travelled to visit the premises of one of WM Agri’s biggest suppliers; the Hoopman Machines or Holaras factory in Holland.

Founded over 100 years ago by Willem Hoopman, the company started life making finger bar mowers, and then went into specialist manufacturing of potato equipment concentrating mainly on the markets of Holland and Germany.

Today, Hoopman employs over 50 members of staff with an annual turnover of 30 million Euros, specialising mainly in the Bio-Gas sectors, but also a big part of their business still lies with root vegetables but now onion harvesting (windrowers) toppers, and static bulb cutters.

One of the very fascinating facts we learned whilst looking around the factory is that 90% of the machines which they make are all designed on a modular basis so that they can be used on more types of machines, for example the headstocks for the Tiger Silage Scraper is the same as the headstock on the Stego-Pro and the Maize Leveller, mainly to save time when manufacturing, but also to save costs.

Whilst we were there we were able to visit several contractors who are running different types of Holaras equipment, including the infamous “Viking” grass spreader; avid followers of our pages and various postings on Facebook will recall our various attempts to get this machine working with contractors in the U.K. and subsequently failed to make it work, but as we say at WM Agri, “where there’s a will there’s a way”… one day!

The majority of the contractors are favouring using forage wagons to make their grass silage with some still preferring self-propelled forage harvesters but still using walking floor or forage wagons as trailers to unload on the clamp and drive over the clamp itself, this system will eventually catch on in the U.K. in  our opinion, but the problem is just that, the opinions of the sceptics need to change!

Whilst we were there, we also came across another exciting product which all we can say is watch this space…

The final part of the visit was a very welcome trip to the Grolsch brewery, which was as it happens conveniently positioned in the right direction for us to head home towards the airport, so it did seem rude not to visit….

Because photography was strictly forbidden in the brewery, although the Chinese visitors lived up to their reputation as mad tourists pinging off flashes everywhere and photographing everything, watch out in the supermarket aisles for a Chinese equivalent Grolsch coming to a store near you; we can’t really explain without pictures but just to give you a flavour of the vastness and scale of the place, so if you can imagine 36,000 bottles an hour on seven different lines that gives you some idea of the scale of the operation.

Of course you need refreshment after exerting your brain for so long to try to comprehend the vastness of the place, so afterwards you have free tasting of a varied choice of the beers on offer in their very quaint visitor’s bar, needless to say Lou did her best to get me on my merry way with the most alcoholic beer aptly named “Canon” fortunately they didn’t serve it as a draft beer, Goodness knows what the outcome of that misadventure would have been..

June is always a busy social and business calendar month for the business, with Cereals, The Lincolnshire Show where in the past we have shown our own Lincoln Red Cattle and our local agricultural show The Royal Norfolk Show.

Interestingly ,for the second year we didn’t have a stand at the Show; instead myself and Lou had a couple of days walking around the Norfolk Show meeting and networking, and of course drinking, funny how most of it took place outside of the Woodforde’s Brewery Tent….

We have had a good month of sales and interest in mostly the Trak-Jak and also the Holaras Bio-Gas equipment, mainly the Stego-Pro compactors, with two going off to new WM Agri customers, one to Northern Ireland and the other to Bonnie Scotland, we await their feedback and comments, hopefully all will be good and positive!

July has been a very prosperous month, for the weather has finally sorted itself out, rain came at the right time, the winter barley has been particularly good on the farm, the rape is all safely in the barn thanks to our neighbour’s “ Bumble-Bee” ( New Holland Combine)!

We have a customer who has recently bought another four Trak-Jaks from us, so he is clearly seeing the benefit of changing wheels in a much safer fashion, which reminds me I must book the rooms for the Midland Machinery Show as we will be there once again with our friends Harry West with the Trak-Jak and a live demonstration and hopefully some other new products and surprises…

The Hustler range of products was recently added to our portfolio; I was extremely impressed from what I saw on their website, and consequently they had a local dealer wanting to give up the franchise so I saw the potential of adding this to our range of products and I really can honestly say I am confident that we will make some in-roads with their machines, seriously tough made and designed for the job!

With the drier and dustier weather approaching, it is vital to keep your combine and baler blown down to avoid fires; the Applied Concept Varimount Compressor is just the tool for the job, and currently has a small lead-time of two weeks compared to two months, whilst stocks last!

So I think that is all for now, when I next write it will be after the “bumble-bee” has long left the fields, the colours of the autumn will be look of the countryside and the talk of the town will be drilling, potato harvest, sugar-beet harvest and of course… MAIZE!

Mind how you go!