Why cheap is not cheerful when it comes to crop baling.
In conversation with Adrian keith (R.A) In farming every cent counts, and the often-small margin between profit and loss can… Read more
In conversation with Adrian keith (R.A)
In farming every cent counts, and the often-small margin between profit and loss can make it tempting to cut costs on crop packaging. However, when there are hundreds of tonnes of fodder to safely store, the stakes are high. A small saving up front can end up costing you lost time, money, and reputation. We don’t think it’s a risk worth taking, and that’s why we only make premium crop packaging products proven to stand up to tough Australian agricultural conditions. That sounds like a marketing slogan, right? It’s not, but rather than try and convince you ourselves we talked to an experienced agronomist and hay contractor — Adrian Keith — to let him tell you the truth.
Before we talk shop, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up on my family’s sheep and cattle farm in Taralga, New South Wales. I completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University before working at our local rural store for two years. In 2006, I moved to Forbes in NSW to work as a sales agronomist for a seed, pasture and fodder company called AusWest Seeds. After nine years with these guys, I then decided to move back to my parent’s property in 2014 to work full-time with my dad and brothers. I also run an agronomy business called Richlands Agriculture that offers pasture and fodder seed advisory services to farmers.
How long have you been hay contracting?
Dad’s been hay contracting for over 50 years and I’ve been involved in the business since I could reach the tractor pedals. We service an area with a radius of 100-120 km from the farm. Most of what we harvest is grown on the farm and stays on farm. We have good, long-term relationships with all our farmers because we’re organised, focused on turning out a quality product every year, and bring a range of agronomy and pasture skills and experience to the table. Every season is different and we take the learnings from each year and work closely with farmers to fine tune things in subsequent seasons for better results.
What does a quality mean to you when it comes to crop baling?
Quality means it will stand up to the job. We use our farm as a testing ground for crop baling products, and if it cuts the mustard in our baler then we’re happy using it for our customers. We use products that reflect our values and ethos of quality and care — that’s why we use Tama. If you use a cheaper product there’s always the risk that bales will fall apart down the track because you used poor wrap or silage will get wrecked because the plastic isn’t up to scratch. It’s these kinds of issues you want to avoid because they’ll get you remembered for all the wrong reasons. In my experience, when you’re flat out, baling 24-7 it pays to use something you can trust because there isn’t time to mess about with something that’s going to let you down.
How long have you been using Tapex Agri products?
I started using Tama Australia’s products seven years ago after being very impressed by their sales representative Darrell Butler at a field day. We both shared a common interest in hay and silage and got on like a house on fire so I started using their products and haven’t looked back since. I use the Tamanet for round bales, Trojan twine for large square bales, and the Trioplus™ silage wrap. They’ve never let us down.
Have you used other crop baling products?
Yes. I’ve tried nets from several different companies and while some of them have performed okay at the time (and some haven’t!), they’ve given me that niggling feeling that they might not stand the test of time. When I’ve used these products, I’ve called Darrell to get his honest opinion on them, and nine times out of ten he’s been right about the problems I’ve run into with them. These issues end up costing me time and money so I don’t bother using other products these days because they’re just not worth it. When I’m contracting and farmers are supplying the crop baling I always encourage them to buy Tama Australia products. For me, it’s worth paying a little more for the peace of mind that comes with knowing my fodder will be stored securely.
What sets Tama Australia apart?
In my mind, there’s three things: quality, service, and community.
I know that Tama Australia invests heavily in R&D and has been testing their packaging in the field for over ten years to make sure it withstands tough Aussie conditions. They also work closely with baler manufacturers to ensure their products interact well with the machinery we use. And the service I get from them is second to none. Darrell genuinely cares about my business, is true to his word, and keeps me in the loop with news and new products that might affect me. He also knows the crop packaging business and the agricultural sector like the back of his, so I know when I call him I’m going to get information I can trust. There have been times when I’ve called him with a problem and he’s been able to trouble shoot it on the spot — you just don’t get this level of service when you buy a cheaper product.
Tama Australia’s charity partnerships with the McGrath Foundation, Australian Prostate Cancer Research, and the Children’s Cancer Foundation is one of the best things to happen in the agricultural industry for a long time. I love the fact that you can buy a quality product and know your money is going toward a very worthy cause. We currently use the pink netwrap, but we’ll also be using the blue and yellow silage wrap this season to show our support for all the men, women and children affected by cancer. My dad had prostate cancer 12 years ago and pulled through. Many others aren’t as lucky, so this is an issue very close to my heart. I remember baling a paddock in pink that was close to a road and people pulled up to take photos. It was a stunning sight and powerful visual symbol that shows Tama Australia and all us farmers care for our rural community.
And finally, through Darrell, Tama Australia have also agreed to sponsor a local pasture competition that I’m organising with our local show. All of this sets them apart and makes me respect them as a company and one I’d happily recommend to a mate.