A must-visit event for orchard and vineyard growers - Fruit & Vine

Dealer show has become a must-visit event for orchard and vineyard growers

The annual Doe Show at the Ernest Doe & Sons, Ulting headquarters is attracting increasing numbers of orchard and vineyard owners from across the dealer’s large trading area. David Williams was there on behalf of Fruit & Vine.

Ernest Doe Show 2024
The dedicated fruit and vineyard display area featured the latest Case IH Quantum and New Holland T4 specialist tractors as well as machinery from brands including KRM, Teagle, Ideal and Dondi.

The 2024 event was the 64th Doe Show, and it took place over three days during the first full week of February, as usual. One of Europe’s largest agricultural dealers, the main franchises are Case IH and New Holland sold through 19 Ernest Doe Power and Ernest Doe depots across East and South-East England. At the show, each supplier had its own stand with sizeable displays of machines, and there were working demonstrations of construction and ground care machinery as well as the latest tractors with cultivators and drills in fields adjacent to the static displays.

Dedicated line-up complements Case IH and New Holland

The trading area includes large numbers of orchards and vineyards, so the dealer has always catered for the needs of the industry. However, rapidly increasing demand from customers for modern specialist machinery sold and backed-up by specialist teams encouraged the dealer to set up its dedicated fruit and viticulture division in 2022, including carefully selected brands of imported European machinery meeting the needs of UK growers. The fruit and viticulture display area featured the latest Case IH and New Holland specialist narrow tractors as well as a wide range of complementary attachments.

Positive mood

Sales director, Graham Parker said that the dealer team was very pleased with the attendance. “The weather was certainly on our side and those attending included existing fruit farm and vineyard owners as well as others considering diversifying into the industry and considering their machinery options. The mood was positive, and our sales team will be working through the many customer enquiries received, during the next few days, weeks and months. Special offers were available during the event for those ordering new Case IH and New Holland tractors, including an extended four-year warranty and four-year finance on Case IH, and three years warranty, three years finance plus three years servicing on New Holland.

“We took orders for well over 50 new tractors, including agricultural and specialist narrow models during the show, and our sales teams remain busy concluding deals.”

Selected specialist brands

Along with Case IH and New Holland specialist tractors and the New Holland Braud grape harvesters, brands represented include Dondi, Ideal, Provitis and FrostFans. In addition, there is significant cross-over between the agricultural, and fruit and viticulture industries in terms of demand for long-established franchises including Berthoud, Fleming, Berti, Tow & Blow, Marshall, Stihl, Husqvarna, Teagle, KRM and Maschio, which are available through all the dealer’s 19 depots.

Trimmers and pruners

The Provitis franchise was taken on last year, and the product range includes trimmers, defoliators and pre-pruners. Capable of high work rates and operating with extreme accuracy while avoiding the high labour requirement of manual operations, sales of machines since the brand was taken on last year include a trimming attachment sold for use with a brand-new New Holland Braud grape harvester tractor unit, to maintain trees grown for instant hedging on a large Suffolk estate.

Back-up is a key factor

Ernest Doe Power general sales manager, Ed Perry commented that many stand visitors pointed out that the scale of the dealer’s operation with back-up through all 19 depots is regarded a significant advantage. “We are extremely pleased with the range of brands and products we selected which allow us to offer customers a full line-up of equipment. High quality, specialist orchard and vineyard machinery represents a significant investment, and customers want the reassurance that the supplying dealer will not only have the knowledge and experience to help set it up to obtain best results initially, but also be there when servicing and repairs are needed in future,” he confirmed.

“David Bush and Morgan Williams, who are both based at our Ringmer, Sussex depot looked after the stand, and took orders during the event for an Ideal sprayer as well as New Holland and Case IH fruit tractors plus a KRM shredder and Teagle flail mower.

“There were also customers who attended the event specifically to meet our New Holland brand manager Ian Roberts and discuss the Braud grape harvester.”

Beneficial mulch

Morgan Williams told Fruit & Vine that the new KRM Spit Green side discharge flail mower is proving popular for its ability to discharge chopped mulch where it provides maximum benefit. Available in 1.2, 1.35 and 1.65m working widths, it has hydraulic adjustable chutes which allow the user to direct chopped material to the base of trees or vine rows on one or both sides. The mulch layer helps control grass and weed growth directly below the crop, reducing the need for chemical treatments or inter-plant trimming. The chopped vegetation also provides beneficial organic nutrients for the crop.

Specialist sprayers

Ideal sprayers

Ideal sprayers come in mounted or trailed versions, with tank capacities from 200–3,000 litres. There are models for orchards and vineyards, including recirculation sprayers which recover spray droplets that haven’t attached to the plants, reducing chemical use and benefitting the environment; and cannon sprayers which can accurately apply treatments to fruit and other crops at ground level in wide beds. This avoids wheelings through the crop which are a necessity using conventional boom-type sprayers. “The build quality of Ideal sprayers is excellent, and the design makes them practical and easy to set up and use,” explained David Bush. “The Alsazia Perfect-P 500 PB is our best-selling model to date. It’s linkage-mounted and PTO-driven, with a smaller fan and counter-rotating propellors. The compact and light layout allows use with smaller tractors and it’s a cost-effective option for smaller growers.”

T4-series narrow tractors

New Holland narrow tractor
Iain is pictured with the new T4.100F tractor, explaining features and benefits of the new tractor to Fruit & Vine machinery editor David Williams.

New Holland product specialist for narrow tractors, Iain Faulds commented that the latest T4-series tractors displayed for the first time last year are now in full production and readily available. He attended this year’s event with a T4.100F model, and said that sales are going well in the UK. “Upgrades over previous versions included an enhanced specification and additional features that owners and users were asking for, and we know from the number of enquiries we are receiving that there is good potential for additional sales to replace competitor brands.

“The range will expand further with the addition of F (fruit) models with cab suspension as well as the T4 FS which features a simplified cost-effective specification likely to be popular with smaller businesses. It’s only available with a ROPs frame at first, but a cab version will also be available in time. We are also expecting an LP (low profile) model, only with a ROPS frame and in two different axle widths. The expanding line-up will allow us to meet the requirements of many more customers.”

Dondi cultivation products

Dondi is a family-owned manufacturer based in Italy, and offers a range of inter-vine mechanical weeders, tine and disc cultivators, and low-disturbance subsoilers. The company started manufacturing in 1850, although orchard and vineyard machinery is a more recent addition.

Dondi cultivators

Products displayed included a low-disturbance subsoiler, and several vineyard weeders – including the Olea 2 model. This is designed for wide-gauge vineyard and orchard use with hydraulic working width adjustment up to 4.5m, and automatic retraction of the two hoe bodies controlled by mechanical feelers. “The Dondi weeders are proving particularly popular. People are aware of the product line-up as well as the brand’s reputation,” explained David Bush. “One of the attractions of the Dondi design includes hydraulic systems utilising oil flow from the tractor – with built-in oil coolers on the implement preventing oil from overheating. This allows the latest implements to work reliably in hot weather, even with older tractors and avoids the need to buy modern tractors just for higher flow rates.

Variant narrow tractors

New specialist narrow Quantum tractors from Case IH were displayed for the first time at the Doe Show last year, and an early user test-drive featured in the Fruit & Vine May/June 2023 edition. A cab with a totally flat floor sets the new model apart from many competitor-brand narrow tractors, and large windows and doors allow superb all-around visibility as well as easy cab access. Cat 4 cab filtration is an option. The tractors come in V – Vineyard and F – Fruit variants. Vineyard models have an overall width from only 1,063mm and a turning radius of 4.18m, while Fruit versions are 1,382mm wide with a 5.18m turning radius. There are five models in the line-up with rated power outputs from 75–120hp.

Case IH Quantum narrow tractor

Transmission options include 32×16 ActiveDrive 2 with a Powerclutch and selectable forward/reverse shuttle as well as a creeper version giving 44×16 gears and travel down to 0.17kph. Hydraulic performance is impressive. A dedicated 36 litres/min pump supplies the brakes and steering, and there are two main pump options – 64 litres/min standard and a larger 80 litres/min version.

“Previous Case IH specialist tractors were known for their reliability and efficiency while also being extremely popular with operators,” said Ed Perry. “The new flat-floor cabs are even more comfortable, and the large glass area gives them a spacious feel while allowing a much-improved view of what is happening outside. For owners and managers, the new engines are more efficient and economical reducing costs of ownership, and with back-up through all our Ernest Doe Power depots across East and South-East England, the package we offer is extremely hard to beat.”

Read the full article in our May/June 2024 issue of Fruit & Vine

Read more machinery news

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