Last year, DT Dijkstra delivered a grading and inspection line with box fillers to K & M Farming Ltd. in New Zealand. Co-owner Malcolm Cairns explains how this project brought about a big change in his company.
‘My existing screen grader was 30 years old, so I decided to invest to have something brand new to see me through the next 30 years’, Malcolm says. Asked about the reasons for choosing DT Dijkstra for this project, Malcolm explains: ‘A UK agronomist told me he was particularly impressed with the sizing accuracy produced by the RT screen grader relative to other sizing systems. I talked to a couple of Dutch farmers in New Zealand as well, and they confirmed that DT Dijkstra produced high quality equipment that would stand the test of time. Searching the internet and consulting other seed potato growers it just appeared that Dijkstra were the best, and so it made sense to work with them.’
Malcolm is very satisfied with the design and implementation process. ‘The expertise and experience that DT Dijkstra has in seed potato sorting lines was obvious, and this was incredibly useful when talking through things like product flow, box movement and overall efficiency. The effort the team put into the design phase was great. The space in my existing shed was quite a challenge, but they produced a number of design options to resolve that issue. The way they communicated throughout this process was impressive. They were very adaptable and flexible. Build quality was another key advantage.’
Malcolm explains: ‘The installation of the product was undertaken by myself and an Ashburton based firm. They positively commented on the quality of the products we were installing, and the way things fitted together. Any small installation issues or initial operation teething problems were quickly sorted via phone or an overnight email, and I would have an answer on my phone the next morning, which was also helpful. The biggest challenge in the whole project was probably the impact of Covid on shipping times, but all went well.’
Asked about the greatest advantage of the new installation, Malcolm says: ‘That is undoubtedly the increased productivity. We can comfortably sort and inspect 70 tonnes in an 8-hour day where the product is relatively clean and has no major defects. This would be 30 tonnes ahead of where we were with our old line. The productivity improvement has allowed me to take on some contract grading work, the income from which will cover the annual loan payments associated with the new line.’
Malcolm’s advice to companies that have a new construction project: ‘Don’t be afraid of distance – utilise the skills that are available globally. Also, if you partner with a quality firm like DT Dijkstra, the outcome is likely to exceed your expectations.’