An iconic Wairarapa business with 60 years of providing agricultural machinery to the region under its belt is about to undergo a significant gear shift.
From March 1, 2024, the wholesale New Zealand distribution rights for Krone agricultural machinery, which Masterton-based Tulloch Farm Machines [TFM] has held for 54 years, will move to Kubota New Zealand. And TFM managing director John Tulloch will be going with them.
“My role with Kubota will be New Zealand’s sales manager for Krone machinery,” Tulloch told the Times-Age – although he’ll also remain a director of the retail side of TFM, which will be managed by James Hannon and continue to operate from its existing site.
The company’s doors were originally opened by William, Graeme, and David Tulloch in 1963, and the dealership for Krone machines was secured in 1970, so this is a big step for TFM. But Tulloch said the transfer of Krone distribution rights has not been influenced by the headwinds being experienced in the primary industries sector at the moment; headwinds such as inflation, supply chain issues, labour shortages, regulatory pressures, and unpredictable exports.
“I’ve been working for about five years to ensure the ongoing distribution of Krone machines in the New Zealand market,” he said. “This change is about succession management and sustainability. But I can also see it’s going to get harder for small importing companies in the years to come, so the change is also sensible from a business perspective.”
Tulloch has been running the TFM business since 1998 when his father Graeme retired. Turning 62 in January next year, he’s ready for the change.
It’s a positive move, he said, not only for him but for the agriculture sector in general.
“Kubota has been distributing Krone products in Australia for about 45 years. Synergies across the two countries will mean we can be more responsive in meeting demand. And Krone parts will also be more available in New Zealand.”
Kubota Corporation is big business. It employs more than 35,000 people worldwide and its products are distributed across 31 countries.
Krone in New Zealand will continue to work with the existing 25 dealership outlets, and “the wholegoods will still land in Masterton, and be de-vanned and assembled for the market here”, Tulloch said.
Krone parts, however, will move to Palmerston North from March next year, which may result in “one or two roles being dis-established here” in Masterton. On the other hand, “James Hammon has ideas for growing the retail side of TFM. With that growth will come new opportunities and new jobs.”
TFM has always seen its customers as its highest priority, Tulloch said. “We go above and beyond to ensure our customers are satisfied, and that won’t change.”
This may be the end of an era, but it’s also the start of another, more sustainable and energetic one for a sector that relies on agricultural machinery.