Partied out
by Service Dealer Editor, Steve Gibbs
Steve Gibbs

Throughout the changing rules imposed due to Covid, dealers have fundamentally altered their businesses to comply - so this week's Westminster revelations are especially galling. 


There is one story dominating the national news cycle this week, that feels unavoidable to mention. Unavoidable because the consequences of the Covid lockdown rules have effected all our lives, both personal and business related, for the past two years.


I think everyone would agree that it's the bereaved who have the greatest claim of anger at the revelations coming out of Westminster in recent days. So taking that as absolutely read, as a business-to-business journal, commenting on how restrictions impacted our dealer readers seems within our remit.


We all know of the stringent rules imposed across retail beginning March 2020. These are rules that we know you, our dealer readers, strove diligently to confirm to, despite making the running of your businesses extremely difficult. However, comply all did - and it wasn't merely out of a fear of prosecution if caught contravening laws. From feedback and conversations we've had over the past two years, the sense is very much of an acceptance that this was the right thing to do at the time. That the rules were there for the greater good.


I mentioned it briefly last week, but cast your mind back to those early days of the first lockdown. Dealers were studying the wording on official government websites carefully, in order to work out what they could or couldn't do. Whether they were an 'essential retailer' or not? Help interpreting the, oftentimes confusing, messaging came from trade associations such as the AEA and BAGMA and I recall our publication devoting much time to relating the latest advice and thinking.


More to the point, dealers themselves had to fundamentally alter the manner in which they conducted their businesses. Working practices had to adapt pretty much overnight. Showrooms were closed to the public, colleagues were furloughed, outdoor serving areas built, remote collections and drop-offs instigated and getting to grips with the digital business world, all had to be rapidly embraced. It's no exaggeration to say that the way dealers worked, was turned on its head.


Sadly of course, there were some business casualties for whom the new way of working, simply wasn't achievable. There were cases of the shutters being pulled up for good within the network.


Where we are now


I've been speaking to a dealership this week for an article in the upcoming issue of Service Dealer magazine, who have quite a story to tell regarding how they have coped over the past two years. Hertfordshire Garden Machinery's showroom has remained closed for the past 16 months, with Covid and its restrictions the primary driving force behind their decision. There was a period where they thought their future would see them dropping the sales side forever, becoming solely a service provider.


They have however now undertaken a refurbishment of their showroom, re-jigged the brands they offer, and finally reopened the doors to their customers just this past week. Their's is a fascinating story and one that I think readers will relate to when they hear of the tough decisions they had to make over the period.


Hertfordshire's tale is another example of an independent dealer in our sector using their resourcefulness, entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen in the face of extenuating circumstances. As they stand today, it sounds like they've come through a gruelling period stronger than ever before thanks to their hard work.


At all times though, the same as dealers across the country, they have played by the rules. They didn't pick and choose what applied to them and what only applied to other, less important, people.


Our sector can be proud of how it has journeyed through Covid. As we heard through our recent Service Dealer Awards, there are companies across the UK who changed things up dramatically and went above and beyond to do their absolute best for their customers - at a time when they needed them the most. They can hold their heads up high.


It is a crying shame that the same cannot be said for those setting the rules.

According to reports in local media
Briggs & Stratton

In today's WEB ONLY story, reports in U.S media say Briggs & Stratton will be closing a facility and exiting product markets.


And what power ranges proved popular?
Tractor registration trends for 2021 have been revealed

The AEA has released analysis detailing trends in registrations of agricultural tractors in 2021 by power and region.


Last week the AEA told us that agricultural tractor registrations in 2021 recovered the ground lost in 2020 and were at a similar level to that seen in 2019.


Now the Association has provided details of trends in registrations by power and region.


According to Stephen Howarth, agricultural economist at the AEA, there was solid year-on-year growth across the power range, except among the most powerful machines, although there were some fluctuations in narrow power bands, which may have been due to changes in the range of models available.


Stephen said, "High-powered tractors performed better than the rest of the market in 2020, with registrations up on 2019, so they were still above their pre-2020 level. In other power bands, the trend since 2019 was more mixed, although there was also solid growth at the lower end of the range.


"With slower year-on-year growth among higher-powered machines and strong growth at the lower end of the power range, the average power of agricultural tractors dropped back to a similar level to 2019. The 2021 average was 166.3hp, well below the 171hp recorded in 2020 but similar to the 166.0hp in 2019. Barring 2020, the average has been fairly stable over the last four years, although it is probably too early to say whether the decades-long trend of steadily rising average power has come to an end."




At regional level, there were year-on-year increases in every part of the UK apart from Yorkshire, where registrations of agricultural tractors in 2021 were a handful lower than in 2020.


Stephen added, "Strongest growth was in the East Midlands and Northern Ireland, both of which registered over a third more machines last year. Most other regions saw increases of between 10% and 25%, compared with 2020."



Currently studying for BEng
A prestigious ag-eng scholarship has been won by a female student for the first time

£3,000 and a 3-month placement with a dealer, before 12 month placement at manufacturer's headquarters for Harper Adams University student has been announced.


The 2022 Claas UK Scholarship for a Harper Adams University student has been awarded to Molly Robson, who is studying for a BEng in Agricultural Engineering and is the first female student to win this prestigious award.


Molly Robson


Now in its 16th year, the scholarship was instigated in 2005 at the personal request of Helmut Claas and is awarded annually to a Year 2 Engineering Student at Harper Adams University.


As this year’s Claas Scholar, Molly will receive £3,000 towards her education costs each academic year. In addition, she will do an initial three months placement with a Claas UK owned dealership, prior to a 12 month paid placement at the company's headquarters at Harsewinkel in Germany. Here she will be working within the Advanced Functional Testing Department, focussing on harvesting machinery.


Prior to attending Harper Adams University, Molly studied at Askham Bryan College for a Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land Based Engineering. Molly is from a farming background and lives with her family on an arable farm in Darlington. 


Summing up on how she felt to be awarded this year’s scholarship, Molly said, "To be a Claas scholar and have my placement with the company, is something I have wanted to achieve since I started my journey in the world of agricultural engineering. I am beyond excited for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to start this experience!”


The manufacturer has enjoyed close ties with Harper Adams for many years, both through the Claas Foundation, but has also sponsored PhD thesis and research work at the University and also provides work placement opportunities for a number of students each year. The company says many of these have gone on after graduation to be awarded training and career opportunities with themselves.

AEA organised show

Event intends to showcase machinery manufacturers with demonstrations of crop establishment technology.


The Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) have announced that Tillage-Live, the national crop establishment demonstration, will return to Scotland this autumn.



Organised by the Association on behalf of the industry, the event will take place in Dunbar, East Lothian by permission of Eweford Farm.

Held on Wednesday 28th September, the day intends to showcase machinery manufacturers with demonstrations of crop establishment technology including ploughs, cultivators, sprayers, conventional, strip tillage and direct drills. The event also includes a static exhibition area which provides an opportunity to discuss new ideas with experts. This year’s knowledge trail includes a look at soils and cover crops as well as tyres and soil protection.

Kayleigh Holden, event organiser, said, "The AEA are extremely pleased that Tillage-Live will be taking place in Scotland in 2022. The site at Dunbar offers excellent facilities for manufacturers to showcase their machinery to potential customers and visitors and we would like to thank Eweford Farm for hosting the event once again. Visitors and exhibitors can be confident that every step is being taken to ensure that the event is run to the highest stand and is COVID secure."

To help fight rural crime
The dealership has continued its relationship with local police

The relationship was established three years ago and is still going strong.


Cotswold Farm Machinery has supplied its fourth Suzuki ATV to the Gloucestershire Police Rural Crime unit, which now has a fleet of three KingQuad 500s and one KingQuad 750.


Gloucestershire Police has fully trained many of its officers to safely operate the ATVs

The relationship with the Gloucestershire Police Force began over three years ago when Suzuki and Cotswold Farm Machinery teamed up to give the Police a long-term loan of an ATV so that it could be assessed against a UTV.

The test was deemed a success and Gloucestershire Police say they are seeing the benefit of using ATVs because they are quicker off the mark, quieter and more manoeuvrable, which they say not only helps on a day-to-day basis but also when called upon to undertake pursuits across rough terrain.

Gloucestershire Police has fully trained many of its officers to safely operate the ATVs. The vehicles are seen as a useful tool in not only combating crime but also as a tool for crime prevention by enabling officers to cover large areas quickly and safely, which means that they are giving a much more effective and highly visible presence throughout rural areas.

PC Ashley Weller from Gloucestershire Police’s Rural Crime Team said, “It has become very clear the use of ATVs definitely has a place in the modern policing of rural communities.


"Our experience of using the Suzuki KingQuads has been excellent and we are appreciative of the support from Cotswold Farm Machinery, who are at the centre of the community in which we operate.”

Two main targets revealed
Low carbon trajectory

Machinery maker outlines by how much it intends to both reduce its own emissions and those of the machines it produces.


Manitou Group has revealed the two main targets of its 2030 low carbon trajectory.


They say these are to reduce its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 46%, while reducing the CO2 emissions of machines by 34% for every hour of use.



The company says this approach is based on scientific data through the 'Science Based Targets' initiative, a program supported by the United Nations, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


Manitou say this trajectory relies on the single international reference defined according to the reports of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).


Using 2019 as the benchmark year, the first target applicable in scopes 1 and 2 involves reducing direct and indirect CO2 emissions by 46% by 2030 throughout all of its worldwide locations. The second target concerns the emissions in scope 3 (value chain), with a 34% reduction in the CO2 emissions generated for every hour of use of the machines produced by the Group.


Michel Denis, President and CEO, explained, "It is an extremely important and transformative stage for the Group. Climate issues are a genuine concern, but also an opportunity to reinforce our competitive edge by transitioning to a low carbon intensity economy. We are doing everything to steer the ecological transition towards a more sustainable economic model. We have set ambitious yet realistic targets that we can achieve by innovating with our customers, suppliers and employees. 89% of our indirect emissions (scope 3) come from the use of products. It is therefore a collective approach for the whole value chain.” 


To accomplish these targets, Manitou Group say they will rely on a number of tactics:

  • Develop new electric ranges and innovate with hydrogen
  • Continue the work undertaken in the last 10 years on the energy efficiency of equipment
  • Reinforce eco-design with a global life cycle approach
  • Increase the use of recycled materials in purchases of components and parts
  • Use low-carbon solutions for upstream and downstream freight
  • Develop the activity of spare parts from the circular economy
  • Reduce the energy consumption of its sites and roll out a green energy procurement program

Registered on the SBTi website, the Manitou Group’s low carbon pathway will be studied by experts in the Science Based Targets initiative with a view to confirming it, hopefully by the end of the half-year.

Presented with ASABE's AE50
The winning cab

The AE50 awards program emphasises the role of new products and systems in bringing advanced technology to the marketplace.


The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has named New Holland Agriculture’s Horizon Ultra tractor cab a 2022 AE50 award winner.



The AE50 awards program emphasises the role of new products and systems in bringing advanced technology to the marketplace. These engineering developments help farmers increase efficiency, enhance quality, improve safety, and increase profits.


Each year, 50 winners are selected by ASABE, and New Holland Agriculture say they are pleased to be among the 2022 recipients.

Carlo Lambro, brand president New Holland Agriculture, said, “It is always an honour to be included in ASABE’s AE50 annual award winners. These awards are a testament to the strength of the New Holland teams around the world: from the engineers who design our latest innovations to our field teams who work in the field side by side with our farmers to identify our next opportunities, and every step of the journey in between.”


New Holland say the winning Horizon Ultra cab is the quietest in the industry - registering no more than 66 decibels. In addition to the noise reduction, the cab has been expanded overall by 8% compared to prior models. They say the enlarged frame creates more comfortable and functional room for the operator and extra storage space.


Intuitive operation is via ergonomically located controls on the new SideWinder Ultra armrest and IntelliView 12-inch display.

At major trade show
Dennis & Sisis

The brands say they will show equipment and have experts on hand to provide more details and advice.


Dennis and SISIS have confirmed that they will be exhibiting at the 33rd Sports Turf Managers Association Conference & Exhibition (STMA), which is taking place on 19 and 20 January 2022 at the Savannah Convention Center in Georgia.



Since 2015 the annual STMA has been a fixed date in the diary for Dennis and SISIS, who say their products are becoming increasingly popular with sports turf managers throughout the USA. 


Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see three products on the stand in the form of the Dennis G860 cylinder mower, the Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower and the SISIS SSS1000 sweeper.


A number of experienced turf experts from Dennis, SISIS and Eckert Golf Sales Inc will also be on hand at the exhibition to speak in more detail about the products and will also be able to provide advice on how to improve a wide range of sports surfaces.

Prize presented
The winner has been united with their prize

At November's SALTEX show lawn care professionals, landscapers and gardeners were in with the chance of winning a premium chipper.


At November’s SALTEX show lawn care professionals, landscapers and gardeners were in with the chance of winning a Hansa chipper as part of a giveaway arranged by Lawn Care Legends.


James Wyeth with his prize

The winner was revealed at the show as Surrey based gardener, James Wyeth, who has now taken receipt of his C7 Chipper, worth £2,600. To enter, James had to submit three photos of his best work, which was then judged by a panel with the results announced at the show.

Discussing his win, James said “I was thrilled to win the Lawn Care Legends competition and I am already so impressed with the Hansa C7 Chipper. I've been using garden machinery for 40 years and I must say Hansa's build quality is second to none - great piece of kit.”
Lawn Care Legends is an online group started in 2017, that has grown to have nearly 6,000 members with an international following. The group aims to unite all landscapers and gardeners, giving them a supportive place to showcase their work, share tips and advice, and ask questions for help from other members.

Hansa products are available in the UK exclusively through Henton & Chattell dealerships.

Application & Service Engineer – European Engine Centre UK

Honda Engines are looking to recruit an Application & Service Engineer for the UK to join their small but successful European Engine Centre team.


Job Title: Application & Service  Engineer – European Engine Centre UK


Honda Engines are one of the world’s leading suppliers of small general-purpose engines used in a diverse range of Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) products such as generators, construction, lawn and garden equipment.

We are looking to recruit an Application & Service Engineer for the UK to join our small but successful European Engine Centre team.  A field-based role with some time spent in the satellite office in Swindon, you will have responsibility for day-to-day engineering issues together with long term projects. You will support our customers in providing appropriate service solutions, supporting the Area Sales Managers enabling them to underpin and generate new sales to UK OEM’s.

With experience in developing effective customer relationships (OEM’s, Dealers, and end-users), you will possess a consultative approach in working alongside OEM and R&D and engineers, providing advice and support in correct engine selection by building a solid understanding of the OEM’s application of its products which will be ‘’Powered by Honda’’.   In a similar way, build relationships with OEM service divisions to analyse occasional quality or service issues and work alongside the Honda service division to provide appropriate solutions.

Key Responsibilities

  • Work alongside the UK Area Sales Managers in building a solution for OEM requirements.
  • Conduct and complete Matching of engines to all new critical applications.  
  • Organise after sales service for OEM, Dealers, and other end users.
  • Detect, analyse, define solutions and report on technical problems in the market.
  • Check and authorise warranties for OEM’s and Honda Engine Distributors.
  • Provide technical support and training to OEM’s and Honda Engine Distributors.
  • Providing any necessary support to OEM’s during pre and post sales phase.
  • Support organisation and execution of service campaigns in co-ordination with Gent office.  

Required Skills, Experience and Attributes

  • Good quality mechanical engineering experience and awareness of modern electronic engine control systems is essential.
  • As the industry moves toward selling battery powered electric motors, base knowledge of electronics (diagnostics, wiring diagrams, controls units etc) is highly desirable.
  • Full UK driving licence.
  • Experience in the ground care machinery and/or construction equipment industry would be preferred.
  • Good organisational skills with a high degree of computer literacy.
  • The ability to analyse and solve problems effectively.
  • Excellent communication skills across different levels and disciplines in an international organisation, both written and oral.
  • Persuasive, self-motivated and flexible with a confident, positive “can do” attitude.
  • Team-player.
  • Willing to undertake extensive travel within the UK and occasional overseas travel.
  • Willingness to learn and progress with the introduction of new technologies.

Excellent benefits including a competitive salary, Company car and Pension Scheme with generous employer contributions.

If you are interested in applying for this exciting opportunity, please forward your CV and covering letter to tracey.middleton@honda-eu.com.  


Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 28th January 2022.

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