NOVAG SHINE AT AGRITECHNICA
For the second time in its history Novag had a stand at Agritechnica and put the spotlight on no-till and the importance of soil health. A visit to the stand at the show allowed you to meet the team and view the 3m drill, their 6m drill and their “fish tank” that lets you view how the drill interacts with the soil. When we arrived on the Novag stand, Alexander Klümper, the agent of Novag for Germany and Austria, was busy entertaining a crowd of German speaking farmers, seeking information about his experience with no-till. The French manufacturer brought 2 drills to the show. The 3m model was equipped with narrow row configuration, auxiliary hoppers, and very wide Michelin tyres. On the other side of the stand, the 6m drill offered a wider solution to bigger acreage farms with higher horsepower tractors. Its opener setup with larger diameter discs and wider press wheels is obviously designed to handle the softer black soils of the eastern markets.
Literally surrounded by ploughs and tillage equipment in Hall 11, the Novag team did not believe that the debate on glyphosate should be the reason to sell more soil cultivation equipment to farmers or to promote a more conservative approach on soil tillage. A continuing theme of no-till being possible without glyphosate is something we are all keen to explore. This was a big contrast to the soil working action videos broadcasted by Lemken on the next stand. Instead the Novag stand design included a tank of soil, promoting the importance of the different living organisms in any soil. The “fish tank” – included a Novag opener in action into a straw mulch and a specially planted cover crop, with real soil and plants. A cut of the T slot is represented at the back and visible through a window.
Long term Novag Users
We also spoke with Novag users on the stand, notably Jean Paul Rault, who purchased a machine back in 2012. Looking at the new machines he commented on the evolution that the range had gone through since he first bought a machine. A more practical layout, new options, a stronger sense of robustness, and plain press wheel rims overcoming trouble in grain corn residues. The control system including the monitor hasn’t changed much apart from the German language less to Jean Paul’s liking… Jean Paul has the privilege of being Novag’s first customer, farming near the Atlantic coast in very high clay content soils. He described Novag as “a determined and passionate team willing to change tomorrow’s farming, for the benefit of a living soil, less demanding in inputs”, as he told us.
Novag in the Southern Hemisphere
Novag’s recently concluded alliance with the Carrfields group, a dealership company originating from New Zealand, opens up the Australian and New Zealand markets to them. “Our exclusive distribution agreement with Carrfields will generate traction for our brand. Working with a different hemisphere – with opposed drilling seasons and delivery months – offers new opportunities for smarter manufacturing and stock management at the factory”, says Ramzi Frikha, one of the founders of Novag. Guy Fordham, heading the development of Novag in both countries will be assisted by Bill Ritchie. Bill joins the team with a lifetime of experience in no-tillage technologies. This dedication will enhance the value of the Novag brand in this significant part of the world.
“In these countries, especially Australia, where we think that farmers practice no-tillage in general more than in Europe, partnering with a renowned and well-established distributor could provide the backbone for our company development, while we continue to grow in our home markets : France, Germany, and eastern Europe.”
According to Novag, the next innovations to be made in Europe will come from supporting leading farmers and helping them implement new practices such as relay cropping or permanent cover crops establishment. All of it potentially requiring new features and R&D on the drills. The UK market is another hot topic for Novag. The demo tour which was scheduled for October got cancelled due to our awful autumn weather, but the team had at least one opportunity to prove itself at TWB farms, in quite wet conditions. The 4m demo unit that was viewed at the event in the midlands has already been sold and will be delivered for spring drilling. Novag is in process of building a service network around the UK, is working on a new demo program for the spring with a replacement drill on the way and of course has already booked its stand and plot at Groundswell.