Rough roads, high-speed haulage and short weather windows for getting crop off the field mean trailers here in the UK need to be robustly designed to cope with such circumstances. Those built strong enough to withstand our conditions are now increasingly finding favour in the arguably tougher environment of Australia.
Based south of Melbourne, in Warragul, Victoria, McLaren Agricultural Machinery was founded six years ago by Stuart McLaren, son of an Essex contractor, who moved to Australia 13 years ago for a three-month working holiday and subsequently decided to stay in the country. Today, the business he formed is importer or regional agent for a number of key manufacturers from the UK and Europe, and since 2020 that has included Richard Western, the Suffolk-based trailer and muck spreader maker.
“Manufacturing costs here are extremely high, so there isn’t a strong domestically-built trailer market, and farmers are willing to pay for well-built, well-designed trailers from countries with a stronger trailer-making industry, in particular the UK,” explains Stuart.
“When I began in business here, I built up a customer base and reputation importing direct drills and other British agricultural equipment I’d had experience of back home. Customers started asking me about trailers, particularly for silage, and having been based not far from Richard Western back home, I knew their products well. That led me to enquire about an import arrangement the company, and in 2020 I brought in the first batch of trailers here.”
Those soon sold, and through marketing, advertising and word-of-mouth, the company now sells Richard Western trailers and muck spreaders across the country.
“Silage trailers are our main seller, but we’ve also now sold a significant number of high-capacity FBS18 spinning disc muck spreaders, largely for applying poultry litter,” says Stuart.
“To best serve a country this size, I’m now talking to potential dealers in other states, particularly Queensland and Western Australia. The build strength of the products is rated by the customer base we’ve built so far, and that’s the best advert to develop further sales.”
By Martin Rickatson
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