From humbling beginnings, SAMCO Agricultural Manufacturing Ltd has grown into an international brand which exports biodegradable plastic film and a range of machinery to sow different crops around the world.
These are exciting times for the highly-innovative and multi-awarding winning family business which has invested €2 million in a major expansion at its Adare, Co. Limerick facility. Located on the Shine family farm, the facility has almost doubled in size to cater for a new production degradable film line that has increased the staff to over 50.
The new jobs are in all areas, including production staff, engineers, clerical administration and international sales. The expansion coincided with the signing of a €1.5 million contract with a Chilean dairy co-op to supply products over a three-year period.
Having made their name with their unique SAMCO System, the Shine family commenced manufacturing their own biodegradable plastic film last January which now accounts for the majority of their business.
“89% of our sales is plastic film with machinery sales accounting for the other 11%,” SAMCO Agricultural Manufacturing Ltd founder Sam Shine explains.
“We design and manufacture the biodegradable plastic sheeting and conduct many trials each year, increasing our wealth of knowledge to help farmers achieve higher crop yields. Our mission is to provide farmers with a cost-effective way of growing crops. We supply black and clear biodegradable film for our machines as well as for other machines.
“We’re exporting to over 20 countries. In fact, up to 90% of our products are now exported. France is our biggest market, but we also have many customers throughout the rest of Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Mongolia, Chile and New Zealand. There is a high demand for our products in countries which have both cold and warm climates. And our presence in the southern hemisphere means that the demand is there all year around. We are no longer a seasonal business.”
The UK is also a large market for SAMCO, though that could change depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
“We have established strong customer relations in the UK and we work hard on customer support. The UK market still has a lot of potential for us in terms of forage maize and also the vegetable market. However, Brexit has created much uncertainty and we can only prepare for the worst and adapt to change,” Sam comments.
SAMCO continues to develop new machines to sow different crops and to hold trials around the world which demonstrate how the SAMCO System works. The company has won numerous awards, including the Innovation Award at last year’s National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore for its Punch Machine and Film Layer. It also won an Innovation Award in 2014 at the Fieldays event in Hamilton, New Zealand, which is the largest agribusiness exhibition in the southern hemisphere, and was a finalist in Ireland’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards, sponsored by Ernst and Young. Furthermore, SAMCO was also honoured in China where it is helping farmers to grow large crops in the north of the country.
SAMCO was established in 1997 by Sam Shine to design and manufacture the SAMCO System, which integrates three machines into one by sowing the seed, spraying the ground with a pre-emergence herbicide and covers the embedded seed with a degradable film. This film is proven to increase temperature which promotes rapid plant growth throughout the season and also protects the young plant from early frost.
Many crops are grown using the SAMCO system such as forage maize, corn maize, maize grain, sunflowers, sweetcorn, soya and organic rice. SAMCO offers advice through their well-educated and experienced agronomy staff on the most suitable types of biodegradable film to be used for each crop, leading to higher and better quality crop yield per acre for growers.
“The support and expert advice our teams offer before, during and after sowing has proven of invaluable assistance to our customers needing higher crop yield per acre,” says Sam, who has also designed and developed the award-winning Bag Press (with Crimper) and Punch Machines.
“What makes us different from other farm machinery manufacturers is that we stay connected with the customer long after the initial sale is made, especially with the film-laying product as we sell film to them once a year. We pride ourselves on our high level of customer service. Our back-up service is second to none.”
He continues: “Around 95% of maize grown in Ireland is grown using the SAMCO System. It’s a proven product that yields up to 3.5 tonnes extra per acre in grain. We have plastic films to suit all markets and climates.”
Welcoming SAMCO’s deal with the Chilean dairy co-op, Cooprinsem, Sam’s son and sales director Matthew Shine says: “We have invested a lot of time, money and resources in conducting R&D (research and development) trials in Chile. The country has a wide range of climates that complement the SAMCO System.
“We have been working in Chile for the past two years and, with our research completed, we are now ready to push the sales into high gear. Our dedicated staff will spend 45 days per year training customers, servicing and maintaining machines, conducting field trials and also showcasing at trade shows and open days throughout Chile.”
The sowing of crops under degradable mulch film begins in the middle of July in the north of Chile, works down through the country to the south and finishes in mid-November. This allows SAMCO to have a wider window of sales throughout the year.
The successful Co. Limerick company will sell its full range of machinery, from maize sowing drills, subsoilers and bag presses. In praising the SAMCO System, Helmut Muller of Cooprinsem said: “With many different climates in Chile, we can use SAMCO products five months of the year and not one month like Ireland.”
SAMCO Agricultural Manufacturing Ltd
Adare, Co. Limerick.
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 6 No 8, December 2018/January 2019