The new owners of a British-built range of field equipment for potato and root crops promise to raise engineering standards and shorten production lead times by applying the skills developed in their successful automotive engineering business.
Richard Pratt says the engineering resources of his existing automotive components business will be used to improve the quality, specification and availability of George Moate field equipment for potato and vegetable crops.
Lesley and Richard Pratt have acquired George Moate Ltd and the company’s range of innovative cultivation and harvest equipment to build on the success achieved by its founder, a Yorkshire arable farmer.
“George brought some innovative ideas to potato and vegetable farming, including big capacity folding bed tillers, flail-and-spray haulm toppers and stone buriers,” says Richard Pratt, managing director. “But after several successful years, he realised the farm-based business needed serious engineering resources and professional management to progress to the next level.”
George Moate Ltd is now an associate of PSS Steering & Hydraulics, an ISO 9001 registered engineering business that supplies automotive components to leading manufacturers of road and off-highway vehicles. As such, the agricultural equipment business will have access to state of the art computer-aided design and manufacturing facilities for component production and dedicated assembly facilities.
“Soil-engaging parts are sourced mainly from UK manufacturers and we’ve already started making shafts, hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic motors for the George Moate machines,” notes Richard Pratt. “We also plan to use our precision engineering resources to progressively make more of the structural components in-house.”
Parts and field engineering services are also being enhanced, with a larger quantity of replacement and soil-engaging parts being manufactured and stocked at the company’s new base near North Walsham in Norfolk.
“Parts and service back-up is crucial for our automotive clients, so we have the culture and systems to meet their demands,” says commercial director, Lesley Pratt. “We also understand how important it is for farmers to keep machines working in a busy season, so we’re setting out to meet their expectations too.”
The George Moate range provides potato and vegetable crop cultivation implements like this four-bed Rotorstone.The complete range of George Moate equipment has been acquired with the business and is being put into production in Norfolk, creating up to 10 manufacturing and field service jobs.
The company’s reputation for building robust field equipment was established by the heavy-duty multi-bed Ridger Tillers, which have since been joined by the Rotorstone tiller for creating finely cultivated vegetable beds and the Motivator tiller and applicator for incorporating granular nematicides as potatoes are planted.
Front- and rear-mounted flail haulm toppers working independently or in front of a harvester are also available; built in sizes up to 5.6m wide, they clear haulm from up to three beds and can apply a spray treatment to combat tuber blight.
A new addition – the Tillerstar, which combines bed tilling with stone separation in one machine – is being demonstrated in final production form to growers this spring.
“We’re continuing to sell direct to farmers and George is working with us during a transitional period so that growers can continue to benefit from his experience and insight into potato and vegetable crop cultivation systems,” says Richard Pratt. “We also hope he’ll come up with other innovative ideas to develop and expand the George Moate equipment range in future.”
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