Farmscan Ag scans expansion horizon

Farmscan Ag directors, Ian Giles (L) and John Chalmers working on the company’s international expansion at the recent EIMA 2016 trade fair in Italy.
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Australian precision agriculture solutions provider, Farmscan Ag’s expansion strategy is paying dividends with the business growing in Europe and other international markets.

Speaking at the recent EIMA agricultural trade fair in Bologna, Italy, director and sales manager Ian Giles said it was the fourth consecutive EIMA fair they had attended or exhibited at.

Exhibiting for the past few events was reaping results, he said.

“We’ve had tremendous success to the extent that in February we have now opened an office in the UK.

“People were interested in what we did and what we could offer because Australia does lead the world in precision farming and the technology related to that, but they used to say we were too far away,” Mr Giles said.

“So we have taken the bull by horns and opened an office in Cambridge and one of our staff members has moved across.”

Farmscan Ag’s focus is control systems for ag machinery but its sales target is original equipment manufacturers rather than dealing directly with farmers.

“We want the people who make the machine to fit our equipment from the start,” Mr Giles said.

“We are currently doing a series of trials with a large seeding company and also a spreading company in the UK and the follow up from EIMA has been to Switzerland, Hungary, Germany and even strong inquiries from South Africa here in these first few days,” he said.

Regularly appearing at EIMA and the alternate annual German based fair, Agritechnica, had built trust.

“It s a case of having been here a few times and trust is then built up,” Mr Giles said.

“We are finding people are coming to find us now, whereas we used to have to hunt them before.

“The first few years of visiting these trade shows John (Chalmers – co-director and business development manager) and I diligently walked the rows and tried to see everybody we could and a lot of them thought ‘oh well, they’re Australian and they won’t be back’, but we keep coming back.

“So a lot of guys now see we are here for the long haul and are saying ‘we like what you do, let’s talk business’,” Mr Giles said.

“From previous trade shows we’ve been able to form partnerships with companies from South America and China, so now it is almost a case of the new business being a bonus,” Mr Giles said.

The UK office evolved from exhibiting at EIMA two years ago when a UK trade and Investment representative visited.

“They said we were exactly the sort of company with the technology and vision that they wanted to promote in the UK and they have been a great assistance to us setting up,” Mr Giles said.

Mr Chalmers said it was “difficult to know what we would face years ago when we came over – it has been a learning experience but not in a negative sense.”

He said the trade show circuit had also focussed their attention on applications they hadn’t anticipated.

“It has directed some of our product development.

“We are getting enquires out of Belgium and Italy and Bulgaria and others for applications we wouldn’t normally see,” Mr Chalmers said.

“And that means our product is stronger and is ultimately more flexible.”

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