In the final part in our two week editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – we profile two venerable agricultural Australian manufacturing brands – Horwood Bagshaw and K-Line Ag. By Nicholas Way..
They might now be part of an international conglomerate, but agricultural machinery manufacturers, Horwood Bagshaw and K-line Ag, remain integral ingredients of the Australian farming sector.
Horwood Bagshaw, which sits at Mannum the Murray River about 80 kilometres east of Adelaide, and K-line Ag, based in the central NSW town of Cowra, were acquired by the giant US group CNH Industrial in 2018 and 2109, respectively.
Horwood Bagshaw was founded by John Stokes Bagshaw, who established the Pioneer Works in Elizabeth St Adelaide, South Australia in 1838, making it perhaps the oldest agricultural machinery company in the country. John Henry Horwood also established his own company, JH Horwood & Co, in 1882.
But while ownership of these two well-established family companies has changed hands, their manufacturing ethos of having farmers and producers intimately involved in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of their products remains central to their business philosophies.
Sara Sanlorenzo, Marketing Manager – Seeding & Tillage, at CNH Industrial Australia, said both companies have always valued strong input from farmers about their machinery.
Sanlorenzo said: “It starts at the research stage and works its way right up the line.
“We appreciate the local knowledge that farmers have, and we want to utilise that to ensure the machinery always suits their purposes.
“The bonus is now being part of the global CNH Industrial group, which gives both companies access to its extensive resources, expertise, and technology.”
Sanlorenzo said Australia’s unique farming conditions have always demanded a local solution, and a need for continuous product development and improvement.
“Today, much of the focus is on precision faming and how it can assist farmers combat challenges such as erratic weather, soil degradation, and escalating input costs.
“By doing so, they can optimise their operations, maximise crop yields, reduce input waste, and enhance environmental outcomes.”
K-line Ag specialises in agricultural tillage equipment, while Horwood Bagshaw focuses on a range of agricultural machinery and equipment that includes cultivators, drills, air seeders, and spreaders. Combined, they produce about 800 pieces of agricultural equipment annually.
Sanlorenzo said the longstanding reputations of both companies meant they have nurtured deep relationships with farmers that span the generations.
“It gives them dominant market positions, allowing them to withstand the challenge from imports.
“Although the local market will always remain our priority, what we are now finding is that there is growing overseas demand for these robust and durable products that can meet demanding Australian conditions.
“For example, K-line Ag is finding a market for its Speedtiller, a dual-purpose disc-tillage machine used for soil conditioning, in parts of the US where conditions are like Australia, with 20 percent of its sales now in the export market.
“And it’s not just the US. We also export to the South Africa and New Zealand and there is growing interest in Eastern Europe for our machinery.”
Picture: Horwood Bagshaw, Australia’s oldest agricultural machinery manufacturer