Members of the Northern Ireland Guild of Agricultural Journalists thoroughly enjoyed their recent visit to the John Deere dealership Johnston Gilpin & Co Ltd near Lisburn in County Antrim.Organised by journalist Chris McCullough and Randal McConnell, the dealership’s managing director, the visit is thought to be the first ever machinery themed event arranged for the Guild. It was aimed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland.Randal welcomed the group to the dealership and gave a presentation outlining its history and evolution. The business dates back to 1968 when Randal’s father Donn started it up along with some other investors. Expansion soon followed as John Deere equipment became very popular in Northern Ireland, and two additional outlets were opened.The Lisburn premises were initially situated on Waterloo Road, but a larger site was needed. Randal joined the business in 1992 and two years later a move to the current premises on Lisnoe Road was on the cards after the other two outlets were sold to their managers. Johnston Gilpin & Co Ltd now also operates a nearby turfcare depot on Saintfield Road, where John Deere’s comprehensive range of merchandise is also on display.Guild members were given a tour of the main dealership premises and shown the latest John Deere tractors as well as the huge selection of parts in stock, the workshops and showroom. The highlight of the visit for many of the members present was being able to ‘drive’ a £125,000, 195hp John Deere 6195R tractor.What the members found out was that the tractor really drove itself, as it was GreenStar ready and fitted with John Deere’s AutoTrac automatic steering system.
Visitors to this month’s John Deere 50 Celebration & Heritage Event at Langar near Nottingham will find 50 things to see and do, as John Deere Limited publicly celebrates its 50th anniversary in the UK and Ireland.John Deere customers, fans and families are invited to join the anniversary celebrations over the weekend of September 24 and 25 by registering their attendance on the John Deere website at www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years. By doing so in advance, visitors will be in with a chance of winning special 50th anniversary merchandise in a lucky ticket prize draw, to be held at the end of each day.As well as trade stands, static machinery exhibits and working demonstrations of almost 200 vintage, classic and modern tractors and implements, this special outdoor event will feature activities for all the family. These include a funfair, Big Top and Grand Ring entertainment, tractor bus rides and a tour of the John Deere site, plus a range of local food and produce as well as a licensed bar.Iconic tractors dating from 1916 to the present day will be on display at the event. These include an Overtime Model R and Waterloo Boy from 1916 and 1919 respectively; a 1924 Model D, the oldest tractor in Europe bearing the name John Deere; the 710 and 4020 models that were in the John Deere range when the company started trading from Langar in 1966; several early examples of the revolutionary full-frame 6000 Series tractors from the 1990s; and many others, all the way through the past 100 years up to the present day and John Deere’s new flagship 620hp 9620RX four-track tractor.Further details of the John Deere 50 Celebration & Heritage Event and the history of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland, together with a timeline of key dates, can be found on the event website at www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years. The event runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 24 September and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 25 September, and both car parking and entry to the event are free.Voluntary donations received in lieu of car park charges will be distributed equally between Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and the Nottingham Hospitals Charity. In addition, profits from the sale of ice creams will be shared equally between Harby, Langar and Cropwell Bishop Primary Schools.
Godfreys (Sevenoaks) Ltd has decided to sell its professional turf business to fellow dealers Burden Bros Agri Ltd and Farol Ltd by the end of October 2016. Terms are not being disclosed, but the decision by Godfreys’ directors has the full agreement and approval of John Deere Limited, and is supported by the other dealers involved.The deal will mean that the existing Godfreys business currently based at Hailsham in East Sussex will transfer to Burden Bros, and that located at Wokingham in Berkshire will transfer to Farol.Godfreys will continue to trade as a main homeowner dealer from its premises at Otford Road, Sevenoaks in Kent, along with the Tylers garden equipment trade business that was acquired in June 2015. Godfreys will retain its John Deere homeowner dealer franchise at Sevenoaks.The majority of Godfreys staff from the Wokingham and Hailsham branches and those directly involved in the John Deere professional turf business will transfer to the new dealerships. Farol will retain the existing Wokingham premises, while Burden Bros will relocate the Hailsham business to its existing outlets in East Sussex and Kent.“I am extremely proud of what we, as a team at Godfreys, have achieved over the past few years,” says director Peter Bateman. “We have built a strong turf business throughout the south-east of England. In order to continue building on this success, I and my fellow directors believe that it’s necessary to operate as a combined John Deere agricultural and turf dealership, as both Burden Bros Agri and Farol are able to do.“Equally, the Godfreys homeowner and Tylers trade businesses are very much aligned and have many opportunities to develop and grow together. All our homeowner, commercial and trade customers can be confident that this deal will continue to deliver the best possible sales, service and parts support. We believe this decision is the right one for our people and the company as a whole.”