Handling market set for significant changes

The agricultural materials handling market looks likely to be coming under significant change in the next few months, as the ramifications of a number of different manufacturers’ actions make themselves felt.

John Deere Kramer handling market

Kramer has announced a new distribution agreement with John Deere as its preferred dealer channel for agriculture, following the cessation of its deal with Claas, which is launching new Liebherr-based handlers at Agritechnica.


After a partnership of that will have lasted for 12 years, Claas and its telescopic loader maker partner Kramer announced in mid-2015 have agreed to go their separate ways at the end of 2017, although customers will continue to be provided with services and spare parts in the long term following the termination of the partnership, say both parties.

At Agritechnica (Nov 12-18, Hanover, Germany), Claas is expected to reveal the first fruits of a deal with its new partner in the sector, Swiss construction machinery giant Liebherr. Teaser ads and leaked photos suggest the agreement may result in more than a new line of Scorpion telescopic machines, with a range of loading shovels also a possible addition to the Claas product line.

Meanwhile, Kramer has announced it has formed a strategic alliance with John Deere, which has invested in the handler maker, part of the Wacker-Neuson group. The two companies have agreed to provide material handling equipment solutions for distribution through the John Deere dealer network under the Kramer trademark. The product range includes nine models of compact wheel loader, four models of telescopic wheel loader and nine telehandler models, produced and developed by Kramer at Pfullendorf in Germany.

Under the agreement the John Deere dealer channel will be the preferred distribution partner for Kramer across Europe, the CIS, North Africa and the Near & Middle East. John Deere left the handler business over a decade ago, after buying up UK-based Matbro and then transferring production of its rigid and articulated handlers to Germany, before later deciding to exit the handling market.

Meanwhile, other makers are also altering the way they retail machines, but not necessarily at manufacturing level. Italian manufacturer Merlo has recently decided to restructure parts of its UK dealer network, replacing, for example, a number of smaller businesses with one dealer in East Anglia. Thurlow Nunn Standen is now the manufacturer’s agent for much of this area, and dispossessed dealers have started to sign up with alternatives, notably fellow Italian firm Dieci. While major tractor makers including New Holland, Massey Ferguson and Deutz-Fahr all offer their dealers a range of telehandler products within their portfolios, many dealers appear to be allowed – or prefer – to take on another name, usually a specialist in the sector.

The market leader, JCB, Agriculture is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Loadall telescopic handler. First manufactured in 1977, when it was primarily aimed at users on building sites, the potential farm uses for design to were soon recognised, offering as it did improved lift height and reach when compared to rough terrain forklifts or tractor loaders. As a result, input commodities such as seed and fertiliser, and farm outputs such as hay, straw and silage, began to be packaged in larger quantities. Today, JCB’s Loadall range spans models with maximum lift capacity and height figures of 1,600kg/4.05 metres up to 6,000kg/9.5 metres.

Charles Spencer

About Charles Spencer

Community Manager at Agriaffaires! You will find here all the latest agriculture and farm equipment news!