Eleven years on from the company’s inception, the trusty team at GRIMME Ireland – who provide farmers across the island with the world’s most iconic machinery for the planting and harvesting of root crops and an aftersales service to match – are busier than ever. We popped into their Balbriggan HQ and briefly interrupted commercial manager Pat Kavanagh’s daily routine to get an update.
The name GRIMME is synonymous with the development, production and sale of a vast range of innovative machines that deliver cutting-edge technology to potato, beet and vegetable growers worldwide.
Here in Ireland, these iconic, industry-leading red machines have been a prominent feature of Irish farms for decades and the genesis of GRIMME Ireland in 2012, followed by the opening of a state-of-the-art new 2.2m sales and service facility in Stephenstown, Balbriggan five years later, means there has never been a better time to own and operate one (or more) of GRIMME’s many magnificent machines.
Under the watchful eye of managing director Cecil Morgan, who has vast experience working extensively with agri machinery, GRIMME Ireland not only provides Irish farmers with the full range of excellent GRIMME potato, beet and vegetable cultivation machinery but also offers priceless advice, support, expertise and a comprehensive back-up service that is simply second to none, including machinery servicing, repairs and reconditioning.
In an effort to make sure that every need of the end user is met, they even organise operator training days at their HQ, where customers or prospective customers can avail of detailed courses in how to get the most out of GRIMME machinery – all of which is packed with the latest technology and capabilities to ensure that productivity is increased and downtime kept to an absolute minimum.
One of the many strengths of GRIMME Ireland is that they are fully focussed on selling and servicing GRIMME products and don’t do anything else. “We have all our eggs in one basket so we have to give a quality service to go with the high-quality product that GRIMME are renowned for,” confirms general manager Pat Kavanagh.
“GRIMME products are used all over the world, from China to Europe and from America to Russia. They have been in business for over 160 years, having started out in Germany as a family business and they are still a family business today, with all the benefits that brings.”
The seeds of GRIMME were sown in 1861 when Franz Carl Heinrich Grimme, great-grandfather of the current owner Franz Grimme (who is in the process of handing the business on to his two sons Philipp and Christoph), founded a small blacksmith’s shop in Damme, Germany, 1861. In 1930, the grandson of the founder, Franz Grimme Senior, took over the forge and began making machines that simplified the heavy work of harvesting potatoes.
For many decades, GRIMME developed machines exclusively for potato harvesting. More machines for planting, cultivating and storing of potatoes have been added over the last two decades while another milestone in the internationally-renowned manufacturer’s history arrived in 2003 with its entry into beet technology through the acquisition of Danish manufacturer ASA-LIFT.
Today, more than 3,100 employees work worldwide for the group of companies which consists of SPUDNIK (USA), ASA-LIFT (Denmark), INTERNORM (Damme, Germany), RICON (Rieste, Germany), Schmiede.One (Düsseldorf, Germany) and GRIMME Landmaschinenfabrik (Germany). The full focus of the portfolio is on offering innovative and economical solutions in potato, beet and vegetable technology.
Both GRIMME and its subsidiary ASA-LIFT build a variety of innovative machines that are in use all over the world. With over 150 machine types, they offer the most comprehensive and widest product range in the potato, beet and vegetable cultivating sectors.
“The machines keep getting bigger and this is to the advantage of farmers who can’t find staff in the current labour market, as bigger machines allow then to cut down on manpower and labour bills,” Pat continues. “Of course, at the same time, Ireland is a small country with a lot of small roads, so there is only so big you can go with machines.”
All the larger growers of potatoes and vegetables in Ireland use GRIMME machinery and generally Cecil, Pat and the rest of the team at GRIMME Ireland are dealing with the same core of repeat customers (about 90 per cent of whom are potato growers) on an ongoing basis, looking after their every need throughout the lifetime of their machines.
“Our goal is to make sure we give them a machine and service that will increase their productivity and profitability whilst at the same time cutting down on downtime and expenses,” says Pat. “We cover the 32 counties and have men going to everywhere from Donegal to Cork and into the North. We’ve increased our service team from six to eight recently, with five fully-equipped service vans on the road now, and these technicians are on hand on site or here in our workshop around the clock to look after our customers and their machines.”
Pat himself, who joined GRIMME Ireland in 2014, has been working in the agricultural machinery industry since 1979. Between them, Cecil and Pat have up to eight decades of experience and expertise in agri machinery – and they have both arrived at the conclusion that GRIMME is the best of the best!
The skill, dedication and loyalty of the team at GRIMME Ireland are central to the success of the business thus far and Cecil and Pat are fulsome in his praise of every one of his colleagues: “We have unbelievably good people here and are extremely lucky in that respect.
“Steven Rogers, who was in engineering the last time you were here, has moved into sales along with Cecil, who is also the MD, while Jamie Doyle and Michael Hutchenson manage the service department, ably assisted by Mervyn Hunter, James Madden, Karl Hackett, Thi Fanning and Niall Kennedy and Andrei Scripcaru.” Eamon O’Neill looks after the spare parts department, while Pat and Gwen O’Connor are responsible for the accounts department and the day-to-day running of the business.
GRIMME Ireland can supply both brand-new and high-quality pre-owned equipment. “There’s a great selection of new and reconditioned machines. We accept trade-ins and we can spec them to a customer’s exact specification. GRIMME machinery is designed and built to such a high standard that you will always sell the reconditioned models. The market is difficult to predict when it comes to new machines, but 2023 got off to a great start and we had a very good Spring,” Pat concludes.
“With the way the market has gone, there is unfortunately a lengthy waiting time for new machinery at the moment, so farmers have to get their order in well in advance when they want a new machine. The waiting time is at around eight or nine months at the moment, which isn’t ideal for either ourselves or the farmer, but everybody is aware of this and thankfully the orders keep coming in.”
And, as millions of potato and vegetable growers around the globe will readily testify, a GRIMME machine is always worth the wait!
Units 6 & 7,
Stephenstown Industrial Park,
Tel: 01 8433440
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 4, August/September 2023