technical sales manager jonathan hardy

In The Field November 2023

It’s been a season of mixed fortunes for farmers and growers in my patch. As I write this it’s the end of November 23, our potato customers were enjoying a reasonable year until extreme wet weather put paid to harvest in October, they are still trying to get crops out and put new in. Farmers in the far North have managed to get the drill in for Autumn crops, however, in Lincolnshire they’ve been struggling to get anything drilled at all.

It’s at times like these that you appreciate the hours that our farmers and growers put in so that they can make the most of what, in some cases, are the tiniest of windows, but as they say ‘every second counts’.

Staying with the theme of time, during this year’s demonstration programme, it’s been heartening to hear so many customers praise our machines and the back-up we provide, which allows them to make the most of those precious opportunities to press on.

Business has been pressing on in Scotland that’s for sure. Along with our Bateman approved partners CT Scott and Agrovista we’ve completed a host of demonstrations, received many repeat orders and also welcomed new customers to Bateman. One new customer in particular moved away from a trailed sprayer and into the cab of our 5,600 litre RB55! In order to in his own words: “Keep on top of the job.”

I had to laugh when just after unloading our RB35 demonstrator one farmer when looking around it turned to me and said: “Jonathan, it’s a Bateman, nothing’s changed!” To which I replied that it may look familiar on first glance, but so much has changed and continues to change year on year.

For example, the very demonstrator that particular farmer was looking at was fitted with our new lower back frame designed to accommodate taller tyres. We’re fitting these tyres to an increasing number of new machines; they are now standard on the RB55. Our machines across the range are not as heavy as other makes, when you combine our lighter machine weights with larger tyres it allows growers to reduce soil compaction. Taller tyres also improve roading speeds.

rb35 crop sprayer in the field

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) has almost reached ‘must have’ status on new machine orders. Previously, for some farmers it was perhaps hard to justify the cost, but for those spraying liquid fertilizer the savings are pretty much instantaneous. I think in 5 years’ time PWM will be the same as GPS was 20 years ago, it will be fitted to most if not all machines. It’s good to see more availability of air-inclusive jets that are suitable for PWM from manufacturers who are obviously investing in technology for PWM.

We introduced our new Slow Fill system at Cereals and have received very favorable feedback during demonstrations. Slow Fill allows you to pause the filling in order to rinse any chemical cans with clean water via the chemical inductor, it also simplifies the process of tank and line washing out.

I’ve been in this game long enough to know that the salesperson sells the first machine but it’s the backup that sells the second. I think it’s fair to say that our backup sells the third, fourth and so on. However, it’s not just about technical advice, parts and service support, important as this is, our warranty on new engines is 5,000 hours or five-years. John Deere stopped providing this warranty as standard a few years ago, we pay extra in order to maintain the same level of support to our customers. It’s important to them and important to us.

It always makes me smile just how many legacy Bateman machines are still going strong, especially when I meet a customer for the first time who is running a machine purchased from another famer many years ago. Mind you, if you look at a 16 year old Bateman that’s been looked after they can often look nearly new, the boom is as straight as the day it left the factory.

I think a lot of people don’t realise that our Variable Geometry Boom, which was launched Cereals in 2000, was the first 36 meter steel boom of its kind manufactured in the UK. It’s such a flexible and forgiving boom as to what you can do with it. Often copied, but never bettered, we’ve fine-tuned it a bit over the years, but it’s principally the same structure.  Whereas other manufacturers have gone through so many different incarnations of booms trying to emulate our design.

Thank you to all that have placed business with us this year. I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you during on-farm demonstrations and at the various shows we’ve been at throughout 2023. I look forward to meeting you next year when we start again at LAMMA. Let’s hope next spring is a dry one!

in the field with jonathan hardy column graphic

Jonathan Hardy is Technical Sales Manager North.
Tel: 01673 838147
Mob: 07971 966734

View all stories from this issue of Driving Sprayers

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