At Carrfields, we are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve processes, enhance our customer service and develop and deliver a better experience for all our clients. Whether it is on-farm, providing high quality advice or in one of our machinery showrooms, it is always at the forefront of our thinking.
We are very fortunate – New Zealand ticks all the boxes for its potential to produce world-leading agricultural products. Our economy has been built on primary industries and a long history of expertise in agriculture, as well as a culture of innovation. With the latest estimates valuing the New Zealand agri-tech sector at over $1.2 billion, there is huge potential for our own agri-based businesses to grow both locally and internationally.
In early January, I was invited to speak at the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The OFC has been held in Oxford for over 70 years and is regarded by the global agri sector as ’The way to kick-start the New Year’. A key focus this year was on agri-entrepreneurialism and innovation – the belief that it can be learned and drives farmers to increase profitability.
A report produced by OFC found that many farmers are successful business managers, but this doesn’t mean that they are entrepreneurial. Executing innovative ideas - for instance developing a market opportunity for a beef enterprise to supply medical grade collagen for plastic surgery clinics – is thinking outside the square and creating change, which, in turn creates opportunity.
As farmers and a multi-faceted agri-business, we ourselves are always looking for new opportunities and ways in which we can innovate and diversify and pass these initiatives onto our clients.
Over the past few months I have been spending considerable time with our team around the country looking at what we can be doing to innovate our offering to our clients. It goes further than looking within our business – I have also had the great pleasure of being on-farm with clients, talking about their needs and what we could be doing to better service and add value to their businesses. With the opening of the new CP Wool Hastings facility in early March, we have a state of the art, custom built wool store – we have set a precedence that we intend to replicate across all our wool stores over time.
Across the wider Carrfields businesses, there has been some outstanding work and achievements. In early April, Carrfields Irrigation won the 2016 IrrigationNZ Innovation Award in association with Aqualinc for its HydroFix Irrigator Stability System – a series of inflatable water bags connected to a pulley and counterweight systems across along the length of an irrigator.
Congratulations to Carrfields Machinery and our Husqvarna team who have been awarded the New Zealand 2015 Gold Dealer Award. The award recognised outstanding sales, performance and dedication.
The Smallbone Dealership is reaping the rewards for an outstanding 2015 and has been awarded both the Holden and Isuzu Grand Masters. Judged by Holden New Zealand, the award measures dealership performance across key operational areas that drive success – sales achievement, after-sales performance, staff development, customer care, financial analysis and disciplined processes.
Carrfields Grain & Seed have had great success with their Oakley variety. Leeston arable farmer David Birkett harvested 16.7 tonnes per hectare from his feed-wheat crop – a personal best for David and an unofficial new world record having topped the existing record of 16.519t/ha held in the United Kingdom.
It has been encouraging to see a great start to our agri business for this year and I look forward to working with you to grow your business during 2016.
Craig Carr, Managing Director.