RECENT BLOGS

10Jan 2020
  • Lamma 2020

Let’s do a little Lamma blog then….

Whilst we can’t as Cher once famously sang ‘..turn back time…’ many Lamma exhibitors agree that the move to the NEC (or other indoor exhibition centres) should have taken place 10 years ago or more. Regardless of cost (fairly eye-watering in some cases and requiring strong decision-making with marketing and exhibition budgets) the event is now at a higher standard of professionalism, seems to attract a more even representation of visitors from all parts of the UK, is more attractive to overseas visitors and gives exhibitors more time to talk to potential customers as no-one is rushing to stay warm. All in all, new-style (Version 4?) Lamma works; whether the big tractor and harvesting brands and some notable implement manufacturers decide to give it a go in future remains to be seen…..

From a JP Trett perspective, it’s always a pleasure to see placed candidates in action on their exhibition stand working for the various clients we have successfully recruited for – a quick count-up of around 40 who I have personally placed, a figure which would be considerably higher if some of the non-exhibiting companies were to attend, and there were a good number of dealer staff whose careers we have assisted in attendance too. More pleasing again is that a number of these candidates have progressed within their employer’s managerial hierarchy, continuing to make a difference and adding further value to their business.

With a mix of new client meetings, sit-downs with existing clients to outline their structural and recruitment growth for the year ahead as well as catch-ups with various clients we have previously worked with, all in all, a very successful event for JP Trett – roll-on Lamma 2021!

07Jan 2020
Jim Garrod - JP Trett

Happy New Year! Never one for retrospectives, I’ve always preferred looking ahead and in recent years having an educated guess at how the industry will behave in the forthcoming 12 months.

The hot topic of the moment continues to be franchise and distribution arrangements, currently at their most active for several years, either dealer-led or manufacturer-driven. On the dealer-led front, it’s interesting to see that some businesses are refocusing on a tractor-free future, with Barlows in Cheshire ceding the Case IH franchise and Bigwoods in Somerset relinquishing Valtra. There is no doubt that for a small family business (the cornerstone of ag engineering and a business profile much-needed by all farming customers in a given locality) the requirements of the main brand are exacting (they have to be, in order for professional representation to be upheld) and whilst these decisions will not have come easily, they may well give these businesses a big sigh of relief. Equally, for a large multi-branch dealership the pressures are probably no less, just with an extra zero or two on the bottom line to give FDs a few sleepless nights.

On new franchise news, Czech brand Bednar has partnered with Ernest Doe across its entire trading area in the South-East, in many ways filling a Great Plains-sized hole in the Ernest Doe portfolio following the demise of the Sleaford-based manufacturer a few years back. SIP too seems to be making some inroads with a few notable dealer appointments. With all recent entrants to the UK market, distribution and dealer partnerships are the absolute key to success; regardless of Brexit the market will reach saturation point (maybe it has already?), but with the aforementioned Great Plains, Lely, Kongskilde and one or two other familiar names absorbed into a global longliner portfolio of late, there are gaps to be exploited. Elbow room for implement manufacturers is certainly plausible, with the obvious caveats of product support, dealer training, ease of spare parts supply and healthy brand marketing all playing their part, but for tractors and telehandlers to be taken seriously, the stakes are much higher and it remains to be seen whether, in a gradually declining tractor market, brands from Turkey, India and China will make any real impact. The 2018 AEA figures will be out in the public domain soon; the brand breakdown and market shares will prove interesting reading as always.

John Deere’s strategy has been clear since Agritechnica, and it is expected that their UK dealers will reduce to around half their current number (same or similar numbers of outlets, just fewer, bigger dealership groups). I am unconvinced that AGCO or CNH will follow suit, given their multi-brand, multi-product portfolios which inevitably make the picture more complex. Both companies have existing super-dealer groups (whose sales activities would incidentally exceed Deere’s new turnover number) on one hand but with many other smaller (and high performing) dealerships at the other end of the spectrum. Not forgetting Claas, whose dealership groups look to have settled into a stable and future-proofed network, with notable implement brand partnerships going forwards including Horsch, Lemken and Stewart Trailers. Kubota’s intentions remain to be seen; they await high horsepower tractors for sure but have some smaller proactive dealers punching above their weight, often with Kverneland or Vicon franchises in support. Manufacturer pressure on dealers to support their full and no doubt growing portfolios will stimulate further changes this year……

With Lamma doing its now calendar fixture job of catching everyone by surprise straight after New Year (spare a thought for those whose whole weekend was spent on stand assembly, machine polishing and dining on Deliveroo / Just Eat / Uber Eats) there will, unsurprisingly, be plenty of talk and speculation at the NEC about the next seismic move or small tremor.

As always, it generally boils down to getting land ready to put seed in, planting and looking after the seed and ensuing crop, and then getting the crop off the field in a timely and efficient a manner as possible. For the immediate future, this will be relatively robot and autonomous vehicle-free, but these will come, tractors-for-horses style as it did from the 1930s onwards.

06Dec 2019
  • Minette Batters
  • Agritech

One can only start a review of 2019 with the pending back-end result of the year in mind, given that we are about to enter a General Election brought about by the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Entering 2019 was again another year of uncertainty, with NFU President Minette Batters using her New Year message to outline farming priorities for the forthcoming 12 months and urging everyone with an interest in UK Agriculture to join forces and push for clarity on future domestic agricultural policy. As it happened, we had an extension which has again kicked the can a little further down the road! A survey done by the NFU stated that 21% of farmers said they would be cutting investment over the next 12 months.

So without dragging the Brexit excuse all the way through the year, at JP Trett we adapted our business to ensure we were going to end the year with a positive message to the industry and look to make a positive change to the businesses that we represent and assist in progressing their fortunes. We changed our strapline to ‘Shaping Strategy and Organising Talent’ – a great explanation of where we are going. Throughout the year we assembled what can only be described as a high-level business strategy team of consultants that will work under the JP Trett banner as business consultants to the sector we represent and support – Agriculture. No longer will we be seen purely as a niche recruiter to the industry; moreover as a business which can provide intelligence and insight to companies as well as shaping and organising their talent, potentially leading to recruitment as part of the whole package on offer.

Heading into and hopefully out of uncertainty will bring with it the needs of professionals with a defined skill set and experience which will capitalise on the needs of the industry and how to adapt and transform to make sure business is future proof and progressive. More can be found on our website and in the attached e-brochure, and we are now a stronger network of professionals than ever before, able to offer a diverse array of strategy advice and recruitment to so many more.

Another adaptation of our business plan was to gear our investment into the Agritech sector. With a strong connection to this rapidly growing sector and The Department for International Trade, we attended a number of key DIT events and spoke with many delegates and members of the Agritech team. This strengthened our presence in the sector with our current client base of technology companies as well as opening doors to the new start-up industries and other sectors that have entered the agricultural arena. From attending other high profile events including LAMMA, SIMA and Agritechnica, it was clear to see that new technology is powering through the R&D sections of many large and small businesses and it is to be admired. We can safely say that the foresight and dream of many of these businesses and pioneers are to be the change specialists first. From unmanned tractors to electric or methane-powered tractors, robots in the field called Tom, Dick and Harry to drone and satellite data usage and insight, fed from underground or overground sensors all offering real-time data. We have seen protein sources from the sea, from the city and from waste. Protein could soon be entering the food chain (if not already) from insects, algae, new plant strains and aquaculture as well as ‘In vitro meat’… the mind boggles.

Wanting to continue to be seen as pioneers in the sector, we have also spent a considerable amount of time and resource looking at the clients of the future and also how our current clients are going to need to adapt too. It was an important shift in effort and one that paid off with 30% of all our business this year being direct with Agri-Tech companies, specialising in services into the technology side of agriculture. We also had an upward shift towards more senior roles and the average salary for our campaigns was 40% up on previous years’ averages. Coming into our 10th year of trading, this shift was expected as you track placed candidates and move into the higher echelons of management within your client and candidate sector.

With a team of 10, and increasing all the time, JP Trett is positive about the future. We have skills, experience, reputation, strategy and morals which will enable us to become even stronger, more present and more forward-thinking than ever. If I could wish for one thing this Christmas it would be to see forward 10 years into agriculture as I think we are in for one crazy ride – I would like us to be ready for the challenges ahead!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2020

19Nov 2019
  • CNH Agritechnica
  • Teagle Agritechnica
  • Rexroth Agritechnica

I’m eternally grateful that Agritechnica for me is ‘just’ a visit – fair play to all those exhibitor staff manning stands for the full duration – arriving in the dark, leaving in the dark and breathing in recirculated air all day. Hats off too to the setup and breakdown teams, many of whom remain on-site for early morning tidy ups, polishing and removal of grubby finger marks from the shiny toys on display.
That said, 2 full days at the Greatest Show on Earth had their usual effect of around 40,000 steps worth of shoe leather erosion, meaning some positive health and fitness benefits at least.
Anyway, the bigger picture: an outstandingly impressive event, this year perhaps more so than in recent previous years with an above-average number of big-ticket launches. This was very evident in harvesting equipment, whether cereal, forage or root crop, with a mix of brand-new designs and some impressive facelifts. Materials handling too saw plenty to talk about, and this is a product group where electric power is not far from appearing in price lists.
Okay, let’s name some names: New Holland’s award-winning methane-powered T6 model should start to make an appearance on dealer forecourts next year, and the joint Massey Ferguson / Trelleborg ‘Next’ project has some interesting initiatives which will no doubt permeate down to market level pretty soon too. Steyr is very likely being positioned as a premium product in the CNH Industrial portfolio, while the light green and dark green big beasts in Hall 13 had wow factor, innovation and sexy new concepts by the bucketload.
Quite telling with all the key longliners is the mainstreaming of what was previously only seen in the tech startups and niche precision technology suppliers. With impressive looking autonomous tractor concepts from John Deere and Case IH for example, plus all sorts of non-chemical weed control systems, soil sampling and data collection and presentation systems up in the cloud, we should be under no illusion that our future field operations will have a much different look about them. No surprise that some of the most interesting stuff lacks the physical presence of a big half-million-pound hunk of machinery – it’s the data systems (365FarmNet for example) which impress with some far-sighted intelligent solutions. Beyond this, autonomy projects notably from Naïo and Agrointelli look to be close to commercial availability and we are seeing some clever technology in the immediate pipeline from the likes of Trimble too.
UK manufacturers keen to further develop export business also merit a mention – Teagle, Garford and Martin Lishman stand out through the innovation in their own niche sectors, and the Department for International Trade were on hand to facilitate contact in new markets.
So, something of a busman’s holiday for JP Trett in one respect? No doubt it’s an environment we know well and have plenty of contacts in already, but we certainly came away having expanded our network further, gaining ‘behind the velvet rope’ access to some very senior business leaders keen to know more about our services, plenty of collaborative meetings resulting in mutual spin-offs with our International Agricultural Recruitment partners at IARA as well as an afterparty invitation which was gratefully accepted resulting in further high level networking and socialising. We returned further educated, and with an expanded network of friends in high places.
Fast-forward a year and we will be playing ‘international trade fair eeny meeny miny moe’ – November 2020 crams in SIMA from the 8th to the 12th, EIMA from the 11th to the 15th, and then a small breather before EuroTier between the 17th and 20th. Roadtrip anyone?

23Oct 2019
Ag Careers Live 2019

Ag Careers Live provides industry inspiration on what direction to take within agriculture and the opportunities to begin or develop your future.

JP Trett will be on hand on stand 5 to answer any questions you have regarding a career in the agricultural industry from CV writing to interview skills.

We hope to see you on 20th November at Villa Park, Birmingham

06Sep 2019
Farmers Weekly Awards VIP Drinks Sponsor

We are delighted to be part of the Farmers Weekly Awards and proud to be the sponsor of the VIP Drinks.

Farmers Weekly Awards celebrate the very best of British farming by recognising and rewarding innovation, hard work and passion for agriculture.

The awards, now in its fifteenth year, provide an opportunity to showcase the best farmers in the country by telling their stories.

The Farmers Weekly Awards night has become a highlight in the farming social calendar. The 2019 awards will take place on Thursday 3rd October at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Farmers Weekly Awards are the most established awards in the agriculture industry and includes fourteen categories covering a range of enterprise types looking for the best in farming across the country.

30Aug 2019
County Showing - Lee Oakes

Congratulations to Lee Oakes on winning the JP Trett Facebook ‘Farm Animal’ photo competition. We think this is the epitome of the ‘County Show’ and everything great about British Farming.

07Jun 2019
The 2019 British Farming Awards

JP Trett Managing Director James Trett is delighted to be part of the Agricultural Student of the Year judging panel – sponsored by Kubota at this years British Farming Awards.

The awards are will recognise and reward the extraordinary breed of farmers who have made their business a success through innovation, determination, grit and foresight.

02May 2019
JP Trett Student Ambassador Josh Joachim

The end

I cannot believe where firstly the last 7 months of my final year have gone, but more alarmingly the last 5 years, since I gained the title of Harper Adams fresher! I can distinctly remember driving through the pouring rain to a campus open day in October 2013 after being hounded by a Harper Adams placement student at home to go and have a look – my word was it worth the M6 gridlock and the early morning start!

Anyone reading this with friends or family considering applying for Harper Adams in the future, I can honestly not recommend it higher. The facilities, the level of teaching and the all-round student experience are unrivalled, and for anyone coming from a farming background, it is like a home-from-home being situated away in the countryside. Personal highlights in my time at Harper have been of course the incredible end of term balls that the SU put on but also representing the university football team. The real USP of Harper Adams University is the compulsory work placement year, which is invaluable in giving us students a year of work experience in the industry field that we hope to enter upon graduation, and I have seen that having that placement year on your CV opens many doors that may not have opened quite so readily if your CV reads school-college-university.

Although the title of this final blog is ‘The End’, it’s not quite the end as I have just finished printing my dissertation; apart from overheating slightly, the printer coped fine and both copies of the project are safely stashed away in the infamous brown envelope ready for submission next week! An advantage of having some friends who graduated from Harper Adams in recent years is that I have some handy inside knowledge on the mania that descends on the Harper Adams library in dissertation hand-in week, with harrowing stories of printer meltdowns and gridlock queues across campus! Thus, I stockpiled the paper and ink cartridges and set in for the long haul. When you start out with the dissertation and the word limit is 10,000 words you begin with plenty of waffle to try and make sure you are somewhere near the word count but as you get further in, 10,000 words is quite craftily a very tough target to keep to! Who would have thought that you could write 10,000 words on stripper headers, eh? Additionally, here’s a fun fact for any upcoming pub quiz, how many words have I written across all assignments and the dissertation to complete my degree? Incorrect – in a bid to ward off re-reading my dissertation I decided to count how many and it came to just over 90,000, and I would imagine I have used enough ink in exams to get a whole body tattoo of my dissertation!

I guess I will sign off this ‘Who do you think you are?’ style blog with thanking everyone at the university for all their help and support; I think it’s fair to say there have been plenty of ups and downs since September 2014 but the service given has been exceptional. Thanks to Julie (who I’m sure doesn’t remember me or have any idea that she’s getting a shout-out in this blog) for cleaning Darby LHS bottom floor flat in my first year and thanks to our adopted cat in second year Edmund (who was feral and who I imagine is no longer with us) for keeping the mice down in our jungle of a back garden.

Go well all!

 

28Mar 2019
JP Trett Student Ambassador Josh Joachim

March Blog – by JP Trett Student Ambassador Josh Joachim

We’ve just about had enough of all this B*****! 

Well, well, well, in February I wrote that the last day of spring term was going to coincide with the day we left the EU… how wrong I was! B***** not only is the bane of everyone’s general life but also for us business students, who try to offer strategic recommendations in our assignments but creativity is becoming increasingly restricted by whatever (if any) B***** outcome if forthcoming!

Anyway, enough of that, it is quite surreal thinking that I am now entering my final term at Harper Adams University. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I first experienced the M6 gridlock and then proceeded to experience the anxiety of whether the M6 Toll barrier would allow me through. I must say, this year has flown by and now we really are entering the business end of the season. A busy Easter “holidays” beckons for many, with dissertations and the final few assignments handed in within the first fortnight back, then on to doing all that wider reading meant for earlier reading weeks…

This term has been an epic one for many reasons. One of the highlights was certainly the lecture given by Mark Hemming, Regional Director of Amazon UK, who has the incredible job of overseeing 10 Amazon fulfilment centres – it was a fantastic insight into their business model and the level of planning that goes into their operations.

Along with the 6 Nations rugby, the Cheltenham Festival also attracts a sizeable Harper contingent and this year was no different, with the luck of the Irish staying with us for Paddy’s Ball. Hats off to Harper Ireland again for smashing it with the organisation and it was once again a memorable (partially) night in the SU!

The Careers Fair 2019 was also held a couple of weeks ago, an ideal opportunity for students to meet with experts in the recruitment industry including Phoebe and Anna from JP Trett. “Highly insightful” and “very useful” were the verdicts from students who attended, and the event also acted as an opportune reminder for final years to get a handle on what career opportunities are currently out there, ready for finishing in a matter of just a few weeks now!

Looking ahead, I’m sure there will be the need for some re-upholstering on the 24hr room computer chairs as several deadlines approach. Many final and 2nd years will still be travelling the length and breadth of the British Isles in the coming weeks searching for graduate and placement positions, for which specialist interview advice from JP Trett can be found below!

All that’s left to say is have a smashing Easter and Go well!