GOLD WINNER FOR CONTRACTOR INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: Fendt
Howseman Agriculture, Lincolnshire
With 30 years’ experience in irrigated potato and vegetable production, Andrew’s business supplies and installs drip/trickle irrigation services for these enterprises.
The contracting business comes after he identified a requirement from growers to initially hire equipment for a season to reduce costs and avoid a capital investment of several thousands of pounds to set up the service, without the specialist knowledge required.
The business, which has seen major growth in the last few years, now supplies equipment and carries out the whole installation and commissioning of the systems and the team works closely with growers throughout the whole season through to harvest, removal and storage for the following year.
Andrew is now responsible for about 283 hectares (700 acres) of potato cropping in Lincolnshire and works closely with his customers to help them understand costings and benefits and offers a comprehensive planning system alongside the practical delivery.
The target market for drip irrigation is primarily potato growers with any other root vegetable crop a close second. Demand for irrigation on potatoes is heavy for both quality and yield in and around Lincolnshire and with a better awareness and understanding of water wastage from growers, the cost of water and fears over irrigation restrictions and new licensing rules – there is a large market area to target.
Andrew keeps a close eye on labour-saving techniques and, with a hands-on knowledge, he and his team are constantly evolving systems of work and updating and manufacturing better equipment to support operations.
This along with experience and attention to details are core to the business growth, says Andrew.
Retaining customers is vital and Andrew will undertake his own quality digs at harvest to prove to customers he is interested and concerned their results are also mutually important. As testament to his service, a good percentage of new work comes from recommendations.
The judges said about Andrew: Andrew as incredibly enthusiastic about the product and the services he provides. He offers the complete package, from growing to harvest and has identified and developed an idea to offer a greater range, with further opportunities ahead. Andrew always strives to excel his service with customers and as a result has a strong, loyal base of farmers who he works collaboratively at every given stage.
On winning, Andrew said: “This is fantastic. Innovation in agriculture is only set to grow and we hope there is more to come from us in the future. It has been a brilliant night.”