How have Vogelsang’s machines changed and developed in recent years?

We brought out the latest Blackbird tanker mounted trailing shoe in 2021. It is one of the largest on the market with working widths of 12m, 15m, 18m and 21m. There is also a 30m in development. The wider widths are popular because they enable operators to cover more ground with less weight and fewer passes. The use of trailing shoes is also becoming more attractive as operators look to place natural fertilisers on the soil with greater precision.

Our SyreN acidification system was launched a couple of years ago and offers the opportunity to reduce ammonia emissions using an on-tractor acid dosing device rather than dosing at the slurry source.

The new X-Split separator is an important product for us in the UK and globally. Separation offers benefits and this cost-effective machine can help improve slurry utilisation.

The Scottish Farmer: Blackbird Vogelsang slurry tankerBlackbird Vogelsang slurry tanker

How are customer demands changing and how does the company meet them?

In recent years smaller farm orders have been reducing whilst demand from the larger end of the market has increased. That has led us to focus on providing wider systems that can cover more ground, more efficiently. The recent grants should be working to help the smaller farms improve slurry equipment, so we foresee an increase if and when the grants are made available to applicants.

Slurry management is carefully regulated across the globe, does Vogelsang produce very different machines for different countries?

We produce variations of the UniSpread for areas of Europe that need a narrower working width. However, on the whole our products are standardised globally.

Globally where does Vogelsang feel there is big growth opportunities?

Slurry management is a big growth sector, helping to reduce emissions is a target for all countries using slurry as a fertiliser. As everyone is waking up to the full benefits of slurry and looking to save money on inputs it is clear that having equipment like separators and precision application technology is paramount to making the most of an important natural resource.

Input costs have been rising across different industries, where does Vogelsang get all the components for their machines, and how does the company mitigate volatility?

60-70% of Vogelsang’s components are made in our own factories. This extends to the lobes in our pumps which saw us buy another business in order to take on their manufacturing capabilities. Electronics are bought in, but the hardening of components and manufacture of products is in our control. As a family owned and run business, we also have the advantage of being agile enough to make important decisions quickly.

What support and services does Vogelsang offer to customers?

We carry 70-75% of our parts at our UK office in Crewe. We can also have parts sent to us from Germany quickly. We have a team of technicians on the phone and on the road. We had a customer ring on Easter Saturday who didn’t think he could get parts until the middle of the following week, but we had them to him same day. We understand that when farmers need a part they can’t wait.

The Scottish Farmer: Slurry separatorSlurry separator

What are some top tips to increase the longevity of a new machine and keep it running smoothly?

Regular checks and servicing are essential. It sounds cliched but follow the service manual. There are recommendations for a reason, and it pays to follow them. If machinery is cleaned and looked after, greased, and parts replaced in a timely way as not to damage others, then all of our machines can last for very long periods.

How does Vogelsang address sustainability and environmental impact concerns in its manufacturing processes and product usage?

The factory is solar powered, and we also utilise biogas from a local AD plant. The hardening oven is only used at weekends because the power demand is so high that it can’t be run on solar power alone when other parts of the factory is in operation.

We have been offering sustainability advice for years, by giving examples of how parts can be reused or recycled.

What technological innovations is coming down the line for the sector?

We are looking at both larger and smaller sizes for our products to provide greater efficiencies in different parts of the world. Wider applicators will reduce the impact of machinery on our soils helping to minimise compaction and improve soil health. As row crops and controlled traffic systems become more common so we are also going to be offering a wider variety of widths to suit different farm systems.

We already offer variable rate application systems. More operators may well go down the NIR sensor route to know what to put on and in what volume. This should help move everyone on to applying natural fertilisers with the same care and consideration as bought in inputs.