The latest models and developments from Pottinger were introduced to the press, and the world in general, by the company in Upper Austria this week, as the sun came out after four weeks of rain.

For the Irish market, it was the rakes and latest forage wagon which will generate the most interest, yet the mowers, including the front mounted Opticurve, also underlined the latest approach to the market, although not all the new models were at the event.

The new Jumbo 5000 has already been covered by Agriland, but it was typical of the latest offerings in that it was based on present models, but with certain amount of complexity and cost removed.

Trickle down effect

Pottinger is keen to point out that these more budget orientated versions are a natural development of the premium machines already in service, and so bring the latest machinery formats to more modest sized farms.

Grassland equipment in Austria
No shortage of ideas at the Pottinger launch but real life customers have been scarcer of late

This is a time honoured practice in the machinery industry, but it has been given an extra boost lately due to the reduced sales levels this year and the need to keep business turning over.

Yet, the company is by no means despondent, far from it, for although it admits that sales are 15-20% down this year, sales and marketing director, Gregor Dietachmay, also pointed out that over the last three years, it has enjoyed annual double digit increases in turnover and appreciates that such a situation was not sustainable.

Gregor Dietachmayr of Pottinger
Gregor Dietachmayr presented an honest picture about the current sales situation, but is convinced that it is only a temporary lull

Neither is the lull in sales growth expected to continue to indefinitely. The company considers itself crossing a valley between peaks, but quite how broad that valley is cannot be judged at present.

It will, Gregor explains, depend on economic factors such as interest rates and inflation, especially of energy costs, which have had a significant impact on margins, although some stability is returning.

Dealer stocks

Another major concern is dealer stock levels, which remain stubbornly high, once they start to decline and the general discounting, which is common to all brands, starts to fade from the scene the worst will be over and growth will resume.

In the meantime, Gregor said that the company now has the opportunity to step back and consolidate its business, while taking a good look at farming trends and deciding where to invest its development funds.

Alpin tedder from Pottinger
Pottinger sell into many distinct farming sectors, and all need ainvestment, including alpine machinery such as this six rotor Alpin tedder

Over the past three years, the focus has been mainly on increasing production and coping with component shortages and rising material costs, that frantic period has come to an end and so there is now the space in which to consider the future.

Now that the pressure is off company resources can be switched back to streamlining production and creating new designs and products that it feels will best serve its customer base.

Trending towards mower simplicity

Taking the complexity out of machines in which sophistication had been built in might not appear to be too great a task, but it does involve adopting a philosophy, which has not been to the fore of late.

Switchgear on rake
The controls for the latest rakes amount to three switches rather than rely on an ISOBUS panel

However, the company is not randomly deleting features in a bid to cut prices, each new product retains the core components from the current range which have robustness and reliability as the major design criteria, neither are they applying the ethos to the whole range.

Asked as to whether this move is a consequence of wishing to reduce machinery prices in a bid to promote sales, the company stresses that they are meeting a changing demand, certainly in the dairy sector where there is some room for machinery investment.

The new H Series mowers
Typical of Pottinger’s latest approach are the new Novacat H mowers

Large farms are now looking to to buy large items of equipment, but the staff who are expected to operate it might not have the time to absorb all the tricks and features of the top end models, so are unlikely to make full use of them.

Pottinger has the answer

The Novacat H series of mowers typifies Pottinger’s answer to the issue. The two models are the H9500 with a working width of 9.46m and the wider 11.15m wide H11200.

H series mowers in transport position
The new H series mowers are light enough to be folded in line with the tractor

These are large mowers and are designed to work with tractors of at least 130hp and 160hp respectively, yet they have neither conditioners nor groupers and fold behind the tractor – like a wasps wings, rather than a butterfly.

Not being burdened by these two additions, they are also light in weight, the H11200 tipping the scales at 2,040kg.

Opticurve headstock
The headstock of the Opticurve front mower has a side shift that operates in an arc rather than directly from side to side

The result is a productive and and fuel efficient mowing combination to match the new Novacat F3100 Opticurve front mower, which can be operated with minimal training.

The lack of a conditioner will not help their adoption in Ireland, but although important, Ireland is still only a small part of Pottinger’s business – it is a question of serving a much larger market than the one we experience daily.

Novacat Opticurve
The Novacat Opticurve is still a push type mower which is said to work well and saves weight

The Novacat Opticurve itself does tend towards a little complexity as in its automatic form it relies on the tractor’s ISOBUS system to shift its position when cornering or on steep slopes.

Rather than move from side to side, it moves in an arc to ensure the tractor rear does not run over cut grass nor are there no strips of standing crop left at corners or when working across gradients.