Case IH growth in Central Otago tracks local surge

Case IH's new branch in Cromwell reflects the brand's commitment to Central Otago

The Agricentre South Cromwell Team: Sam Frame (service manager), Gypsy Bisschops (parts), Jack Elder (sales), Matt Gordon (service tech), and Daniel Rouxel (service tech). Absent from the photo is Olly Fotheringham-Hill (apprentice tech)

Until eight years ago, Case IH’s Central Otago customers were serviced from Milton in South Otago.

"We had branches through Otago and Southland, but we decided it was time to really commit ourselves to this area. Central Otago’s a really diverse area and our range reflects that," Agricentre South sales manager Richard Clapperton says.

Last September, Agricentre South moved into a new branch facility in Cromwell – on Old Saleyard Road in the town’s industrial area. The Cromwell branch caters to everything from viticulture and cherries to dairying, sheep, beef, and dedicated cropping, including carrot seed production. Among upcoming events, the branch is waiting on a late-2021 delivery of the feature-packed Case IH Quantum.

Agricentre South’s Cromwell branch activity spreads far and wide, right into Ranfurly and the wider Maniototo, and it’s only growing as irrigation comes on stream throughout the region.

"With the growth in horticulture and viticulture, there’s been strong demand for the Farmall Bs, and you’ve got Maxxums for the dairy, sheep, and beef and Pumas for the bigger cultivation guys. It’s a one-stop-shop really," Richard says.

The Quantum F speciality tractor is the branch’s biggest-selling vineyard tractor because of its versatility and narrow width. Quantum V, with a minimum width of 1069mm, was suited to operation in the narrowest spaced vineyards while the Quantum F provided more operator space and a wider vehicle (1398mm) for orchard use. The Quantum N gave more stability when width was less critical. All three models were available in either cab or rops form. A low cab height and optional folding safety frame version enables operation to continue under polytunnels and protection nets. Cromwell also stocks vineyard and orchard sprayers, among other gear.

Salesman Jack Elder said while there was a tendency to view vineyard and horticulture machines as a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle, they were just a mini version of the 150-plus horsepower tractor that a pastoral farmer would use. In response to demand for those Case IH units, the dealership has picked up franchise rights for Clemens vineyard and horticulture equipment.

Jack started his ag career as a farmer in northern Southland before selling a property some years ago. After a stint away from farming in Dunedin, he headed to Cromwell with the idea of semi-retirement or some other work.

Soon after Jack moved to the area eight years ago, Richard asked him to join his team. For the first few months of 2014, Jack worked from home and parked up the Case IH range in a paddock across the road, near his home. He soon increased the client base, and the dealership opened a small branch and established a workshop with a service technician.

As the customer base grew, a larger building was required for the four mechanics and an office administrator/parts coordinator.

"The dealership is on the main road, so we get a good frontage, free advertising, and we’re getting positive feedback and support from new and existing customers. And obviously, being based in Cromwell, viticulture and horticulture are going gangbusters around here," Jack says.    

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