There are changes afoot in the implement sector as manufacturers adapt to the ever changing landscape of tractor dealer consolidation.
Maschio Gaspardo, the Italian cultivation specialist, and Gregoire Besson, the French manufacturer best known for its ploughs, are the latest to announce moves to ensure they remain as key suppliers of agricultural machinery.
Consolidation of resources
In a joint statement, the companies declared their intention to cooperate in the areas of innovation, technology, research and development as well as “facilitate the ability to optimise materials and components purchasing processes”, which, they believe will benefit competitiveness for both brands.
The statement issued by the companies mainly comprises the management teams enthusing over synergies, values and so on.
More precise detail is scarce, but it is likely that the two brands will remain distinct as both names are well respected on the continent.
One of the details not mentioned is why they felt it necessary to suddenly form this alliance. Both are large companies with a strong presence in the market, and they actually compete with each other to a large extent.
Tractor makers push change
The answer probably has more to do with the consolidation of dealerships by the large tractor manufacturers which are seeking to present a more uniform shop front to customers, rather than have their machines parked among a jumble of implement brands.
John Deere is widely regarded as leading the way in reducing the size of dealership networks, and New Holland has recently let it be known that it will be taking steps to ensure that its implements are more frequently stocked by its dealers.
Putting these two factors together, the implement manufacturers are waking up to the reality that their colleagues on the tractor side are wanting to disrupt the traditional model of a dealership of one tractor brand and a yard full of implements of his own choosing.
Sky Agriculture shows the way
The Burel Group of France has already taken the step of amalgamating its brands under the Sky banner in response to this development and all of its products will eventually carry the same livery and be available through one point of contact within the company.
Quite how far down this road the Maschio Gaspardo and Gregoire Besson will go is something that they may not have discussed yet.
They are still family-owned companies and have no need to appease shareholders with regular updates of their strategies and performance.
Maschio Gaspardo has already entered into an agreement to supply a small range of cultivation equipment to New Holland and there is obviously the opportunity for this to expand, turning dealers’ yards into seas of blue and yellow over the next few years.
In Ireland there are a large number of independent manufacturers all toiling away doing their own thing, but they need to be aware that the sands are shifting and perhaps they should start clubbing together themselves.