From their base at Harworth, just south of Bawtry, Amazone Ltd has, since 1990, distributed whole goods and spare parts across Great Britain. These premises were purchased originally as one of a brace of satellite depots in Scotland and Yorkshire designed to support the main business based at Lambourn Woodlands in Berkshire but, in the noughties, Harworth became the sole headquarters for Amazone. Now employing 30 staff, both field and office-based, and spanning both the Groundcare and agricultural product ranges, the business has grown exponentially in recent years with its range of turf care, spreaders, sprayers, drills and cultivation equipment enjoying considerable success.
For more than a decade Amazone Ltd has run its own series of field trials work look-ing at how differing methods of cultivation and crop establishment are sustainable across a wide variety of soil types and farm sizes as well as working together with specialist agronomy companies and research organisations in national trials pro-grammes. This gives a comprehensive understanding of how various machinery combinations can work together to maximise profitability for the professional grower. These trials, up to now, have been hosted by local farmers and one such trial is now into its 7th year of establishment at Tickhill, west of the head office in Harworth. There is also an increasing use of technology in the machinery world, as well as an influx of new products, and this has resulted in a need to keep the end-user, and dealer service staff, better trained as well as wanting to evaluate the performance of new, innovative kit before launching it into the British market.
This changing demand has resulted in the purchase of a new Training, Education and Research Centre at Finningley, north east of Bawtry and just 8 miles from their main base. The 12 ha site currently comprises of a range of buildings that are cen-tral to the parcel of land and which have been subsequently converted into a Visitor Centre with training room alongside two indoor halls for practical machine operation. With the first courses held at the facility in early March, the training and education function began with in excess of 100 dealer staff getting up to speed with ISOBUS tractor/machine communication.
Outside, and after its initial landscaping process, some of the land has been drilled with a crop of spring barley whereas a further portion will form the backbone of trial plots, a field proving ground and practical training area. This will be used to school farm operators in the use of seed and precision drills as well as self-propelled sprayers. An ISO sprayer bump track is planned for sprayer boom performance test-ing and demonstration.
The facility also offers the chance to demonstrate the full range of kit across 12 months of the year giving farmers and growers the chance to come and use the ma-chines for themselves at a time of year when they have time to think about upcom-ing purchases.
An area of grass is also being improved by utilising the grass maintenance and seeding technology found in the Groundcare range and will again be used as a demonstration and proving area for turf care kit. This then offers the opportunity to carry out local authority operator and contractor training as well as being used as an educational facility for greenkeepers and green area maintenance specialists look-ing at managing golf course green approaches, rough and semi-rough, sports are-nas, cricket pitches or specialist topics such as wild flower establishment tech-niques, etc.
The premises were unveiled by Steve Clark (head of training) and Simon Brown (research and development) alongside Adrian Winnett, managing director of Ama-zone Ltd. At the opening, Adrian Winnett explained the rationale behind this sub-stantial investment, ‘The British market is one of the most technically advanced in the world and our farmers look to utilise these new technologies to keep ahead of the game. It is our duty as machinery manufacturers to make sure we understand our customer’s needs, that those growers then subsequently get the best out of that technology and that our dealers are fully trained in supporting the kit. Orchard Farm provides the facilities for all those aspects.’
Christian Dreyer, managing partner Amazonen-Werke, speaking about the invest-ment underlined his family’s worldwide commitment to training and education, ‘Or-chard Farm is just one of many factory-owned regional centres which focus on sup-porting the local farming community that have already been commissioned or that we are in the process of developing across the world. With similar set-ups already now in Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Chi-na, we are slowly putting in place the infrastructure needed to keep our customers up to speed with the use and support of this ever-increasingly technical machinery range and, above-all, more and more electronics.’