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New Holland Helps Industry Newcomer Confidence in Lucerne

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article image With help from New Holland Finance, James Chapman is confident about his future in Lucerne

With Hunter Valley horse operations already buying up hay as they worry about falling water allocations, James Chapman is confident enough about the future of the lucerne industry that he has recently purchased a property in the valley and financed more than half a million dollars worth of new equipment through New Holland Finance .

James and his wife Jocelyn run Bunyarra Pastoral Co. They’ve recently planted 70 acres with three different varieties of lucerne and 15 acres of oats on their new property at Louth Park, near Maitland, and are finalising the purchase of another property at Aberdeen. They recently took delivery of more than a dozen pieces of equipment and machinery, all financed by New Holland Finance.

The selection includes three New Holland TSA Tractors, a New Holland 570 baler, a New Holland 740A round baler and two New Holland 1411 mower conditioners. New Holland Finance also provided funds for a mulcher, two hay rakes, a seeder and various other smaller products. Hay tools continue to sell strongly, with sales up eight per cent this year, despite falls in other machinery sales.

James says his new property has dual creek frontage so water is not a problem for him. He says the venture is not a great risk and he expects to capitalise on the current strong lucerne market.

“I’ve been around rural property all my life and intended to go into cattle, but with the climate the way it has been, there’s so much demand that everyone said I should be getting into crops. The price of lucerne has really gone up and I am very comfortable that we’ve made the right decision. When I first did the cash flows I was thinking I’d get around $8 per bale but at the moment it’s getting around $16.50 a bale. It might come back a bit from that but to have such good prices is a real asset in the first year of operation,” James says.

“People aren’t selling stock these days like they used to do in dry times; everyone is hand feeding. Even if the cropping side does fall away, this is excellent fattening country so we know we’ve made the right choice in buying here.”

James says his move into cropping has been smoothed by expert support from his New Holland dealer Ken Pettit, of KP and DC Machinery at Rutherford, as well as from New Holland Finance. He says a series of lucky incidents led him to buy the Louth Park property and that he hadn’t even really thought about the area before that, so the advice he has received has been vital to his success so far.

“I visited another dealership before going to New Holland but they didn’t even want to give me ballpark prices till I was ready to buy. Ken Pettit at KP and DC was the opposite. He just immediately went out of his way to look into all the options and really think about what my business needs were. He spent many hours researching the right implements and gave me advice that has saved me thousands of dollars. He gave me a lot of guidance about which equipment to buy and explained how each piece would benefit my business.

“The finance side was made very easy and by going through the dealer the whole thing was pretty seamless. New Holland Finance’s advisers were always ready to help. I kept going back to Ruben (Biurra, State Finance Manager) and adding more and more things and each time he was able to meet our needs. When we sought finance for our irrigator, it was something he hadn’t financed before, but he didn’t screw his nose up, he just made the thing happen. Ruben has ensured my finances are structured in the best possible way for a start-up business like mine and I really feel like he’s taken the time to understand what I am trying to achieve. He even came on site to see the property. I have been very impressed by the real interest New Holland Finance has shown in my business.”

James expects to cut the first lucerne crop in about two weeks. The market is so hot that he already has four or five potential customers despite having done no advertising. He says the quality of the professional support he has received has played a big part in his early success.

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