Big toys roll into Morawa

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AFGRI marketing manager Jacques Coetzee.
Camera IconAFGRI marketing manager Jacques Coetzee. Credit: Countryman, Cally Dupe

The monumental task of shifting thousands of tonnes of agricultural machinery from several branches to a more central location, 370km north of Perth, was never one to be taken lightly, but Jacques Coetzee and his team did not shy away from the challenge.

As the marketing manager of AFGRI Equipment, Mr Coetzee was instrumental in organising the AFGRI Ride & Drive event at WA College of Agriculture — Morawa earlier this month.

Mr Coetzee said the idea for the event came after discussions with customers at WA’s three major field days, where the organisation showcases its wares.

“At these shows, people would make the comment that it would be good to see and test drive the equipment, rather than just having a static display,” he said.

Timing, location and logistics were major challenges to overcome.

At any one time, there were 20 to 30 staff from AFGRI’s northern branches, including managers and sales representatives, at the event.

“It was a large challenge and a large investment for us, dollar-wise and time-wise,” Mr Coetzee said.

“It is tricky because all of the units come from different branches, and we have used trucks to bring in all the equipment.

“The biggest challenge with WA, is travelling from Esperance to Geraldton is about 1500km.”

Another challenge for the company was finding a paddock available to be ripped up, sprayed and driven across at multiple angles.

“Finding someone to put up a 100ha paddock, that’s not seeded and allowing us to drive all over it, that is a big ask,” Mr Coetzee said.

“The paddock at the school pretty much fell in our laps. The branch manager from Carnamah phoned to see if they knew anyone, and they offered it.

“The first day on Monday we had 60 kids come by, so it was a real experience for them too.”

The main aim was to show farmers what machinery was available for different applications.

“Farmers started in the tent, which included data management and operations, before moving through the whole crop cycle,” he said.

A lot of the equipment will be shown at Mingenew Midwest Expo, Dowerin Machinery Field Days, and Newdegate Machinery Field Days.

“Our aim next year is to do it bigger and better, to double the amount of customers through in the hope people will talk to their neighbour and tell them about the event.

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