Lemken buys specialist Dutch company to combat ‘reduced acceptance of chemicals’

Lemken has acquired Dutch company Machinefabriek Steketee BV in a bid to expand its crop-care product portfolio.

The deal will give Lemken access to implements for mechanical weed control and what it describes as “future-oriented, camera-assisted machine control”. Lemken says that it has also acquired Steketee’s soil cultivation division Rumptstad, but not the company’s crop ventilation technology business.

Lemken managing director Anthony van der Ley sees this step as “an important addition, in view of ongoing change in the crop care segment”.

Image source: Marius Becker

He explained: “The acceptance of chemical crop care agents is decreasing, both among farmers and within broader society.

“At the same time, resistance against currently available active substances is continually increasing, while hardly any new substances are coming onto the market.

“Also, legal requirements are becoming more and more stringent, and we therefore need effective alternatives.

“Lemken is fully aware of this responsibility; we intend to promote mechanical weed control by adding hoeing technology to our product range.”

Machinefabriek Steketee BV is known as a manufacturer of mechanical weed control implements. It’s headquartered in Stad aan’t Haringvliet (Netherlands) and employs about 50 staff.

Image source: Marius Becker

Its proprietary camera technology is designed to “support farmers in controlling their machines precisely”. It apparently facilitates both conventional hoeing (between rows) and hoeing between plants within a row.

Lemken says that it intends to work with Steketee to expand the company’s Dutch facilities and build on its existing manufacturing capacities. Steketee’s existing local staff will reportedly be retained.

The Steketee and Rumptstad brand-names will be retained “for the time being”.

Image source: Marius Becker

Klaas Veerman, Steketee’s former owner and managing director, commented: “When selling the company, it was particularly important to me that my employees would keep their jobs and that we would continue to meet current and future customer needs by focusing on innovative ideas.

“Lemken’s product and corporate philosophy have reassured me that we both pursue the same goals.”

Veerman will continue to have responsibility for Steketee’s operation management, together with Iljan Schouten, head of Lemken’s ‘Crop Care’ business unit.