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Buhler tackles tillage
For nearly 80 years, Canadian-based Buhler Industries has been providing an alternative when it comes time to invest in farm equipment. Through the years, a variety of acquisitions has enabled the company to grow its iron portfolio so its dealers have a full line of equipment to offer customers.
“From a corporate perspective, it all comes back to being able to offer our Farm King dealers a line that's attractive to them and our Versatile dealers a line that matches up with what they're trying to accomplish,” says Buhler's Adam Reid.
From the customer viewpoint, the plan is to offer the pieces that a large-acre grower needs.
“We've done that with our high-horsepower tractors, self-propelled sprayers, air drills, and carts,” he says.
Buhler's most recent acquisition – that of Alberta-based precision seeding and tillage manufacturer EZEE-ON – expands its line even further.
Reid points out that these implements link directly into what the Buhler brands – Farm King and Versatile – are all about.
“This acquisition ties into the Farm King and Versatile brands in terms of being rugged and reliable and the longevity that goes with the brands we've built,” he points out.
Reid outlines what sets these tools, like the discs, apart.
“A big part of it is the build quality. The bearings used are one of the highest torqued bearings in the industry, which makes them more reliable,” he says. “High-quality disc blades are used, which means they last longer. Longevity of the disc is certainly a selling feature, since EZEE-ON discs built 20 years ago are still in use today.”
Another feature that sets its brands apart is the full floating hitch system on the tandem discs. Because the hitch floats, the disc stays level regardless of the terrain.
The lineup includes offset discs (pictured above), tandem discs, a chisel plow, and a cultivator.
In the not-so-distant future, Buhler has its sights set on the combine market. It will be drawing from the expertise of Russian combine manufacturer Rostselmash Ltd., who purchased 80% of Buhler common shares in 2007.
“Rostselmash has been building combines since 1929,” notes Reid. “And in terms of production, globally it is responsible for about 17% of the combine market in the world.”
The combine, which will be branded under the Versatile name, is based on the Torum, which is in its fifth year of production in Russia.
“It's a birotor combine, roughly a Class 8, at about 485 hp.,” says Reid. “It will be equipped with a Cummins Tier IV Interim engine when it's introduced. The plan right now is to introduce it to western Canada in 2012 and to expand to North America in 2013.”
Initially, the combines will come from Russia fully assembled. Down the road, as volume increases, Buhler will look at possibly investing in a reassembly facility in North America.
“The combine is coming to complement the Versatile side. But what it really comes back to is being able to offer one more piece of the puzzle to dealers and customers,” says Reid. “We feel there is room for another combine in the industry. We understand it will be a challenge, but it's one we've accepted.”