Kelly Engi­neer­ing’s ex­port suc­cess

The first Aus­tralian tillage sys­tem built in Ger­many for the Euro­pean mar­ket has been de­liv­ered to a farmer in Es­to­nia

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

South Aus­tralia’s Kelly Engi­neer­ing has be­gun con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing its Di­a­mond Har­row tillage ma­chines in Stolpen, Ger­many to meet grow­ing Euro­pean de­mand.

The com­pany has been sell­ing its Aus­tralian-made tillage ma­chines in Europe for sev­eral years but man­ag­ing direc­tor Shane Kelly says build­ing the sys­tems in Aus­tralia and ship­ping them half way around the world re­sulted in long lead times and other in­ef­fi­cien­cies as vol­umes grew.

“So we re­vised the busi­ness model to source a sup­ply chain lo­cally while still run­ning our IP and man­age­ment out of Booleroo,” he says. “For in­stance, the ma­jor­ity of what we sell in the US is now made there and we man­age the sup­ply chain from Aus­tralia.

“That model then is repli­ca­ble for Europe be­cause it’s a much lighter load on work­ing cap­i­tal and lead times. It works well over there be­cause the ma­chines have to be Euro­pean-spe­cific mod­els – the road trans­port width has to be un­der three me­tres and they have to have brakes and other things that aren’t re­quired in other mar­kets.”

An ini­tial six Ger­man-built ma­chines were com­pleted last month with the first de­liv­ered to Es­to­nia on May 19. The man­u­fac­ture of a fur­ther four ma­chines is un­der way.

Kelly Engi­neer­ing, which still man­u­fac­tures in Booleroo for the Aus­tralian mar­ket, has its prod­ucts man­u­fac­tured un­der con­tract in the US, where it has sold al­most 2,000 sys­tems since 2010. In Europe, the com­pany has sold the Di­a­mond Har­row in Es­to­nia, Ger­many, Aus­tria and the UK and is prepar­ing for tri­als in Ukraine, Rus­sia and Bul­garia later in the year.

The Di­a­mond Har­row’s unique de­sign of­fers a wide ar­ray of ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing residue man­age­ment, weed con­trol, soil im­prove­ments and mois­ture man­age­ment, all en­gi­neered in a cost-ef­fec­tive, sin­gle-pass sys­tem.

The patented de­sign uses four chains lined up in a di­a­mond for­ma­tion to al­low the ma­chine to pre­pare the seedbed in rough fields. Each chain is fit­ted with a crop-spe­cific row of metal discs that ro­tate and pen­e­trate the soil. The de­sign also al­lows the ma­chine to work the soil, at­tack crop residue, man­age weeds and ini­ti­ate bet­ter mi­cro­bial ac­tion in the soil by de­com­pos­ing residue in the top layer, al­low­ing ac­cess to more sun­light.

Kelly says the sys­tems can be con­fig­ured for a va­ri­ety of soil and crop types. He says they’ve proven to re­duce black­grass in­fes­ta­tions in the UK and corn borer num­bers in Ger­many.

Kelly Engi­neer­ing has sold its tillage sys­tems in more than 25 coun­tries, with the US ac­count­ing for about 60 per cent of its or­ders. Kelly says hav­ing more ma­chines on the ground in Europe will likely have a snow­ball ef­fect on sales.

“Farm­ing is still a very con­ser­va­tive in­dus­try in a lot of places so peo­ple want to be con­fi­dent, es­pe­cially with a new prod­uct or a new con­cept like our Di­a­mond Har­row,” he says.

Kelly Engi­neer­ing’s (from left) Jo and Shane Kelly with CEO Calvin Stead and Kelly’s Es­to­nian agent Argo Kukk of Agri Part­ner

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