Hay Day Makes Bad Bales and Boosts Equipment Sales
What does parking lot maintenance have to do with selling hay tools? We’ll let David Murat explain. “I approached one of our customers about hosting a hay clinic on their farm,” recounts Murat, salesman and hay specialist with Lindsey Equipment, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. “They weren’t that excited about hosting an event. But they mentioned that they cut and bale all of the hay from 140 acres of grass-covered parking lots at the nearby fairgrounds. Maybe the fairgrounds would be a better place to host a hay clinic?”
That was four years ago. The fairgrounds location has been working great since then.
“That first year we had about 20 customers,” says Murat. “This year we had about 65. We bring out about 30 pieces of hay equipment to the parking lots, from disk mowers to bale wrappers. This year we made about 150 round bales.”
The event is part sales talk, part demonstration, part customer education, and some fun.
“We do an equipment walk-around in the morning,” says Murat. “And after lunch we let prospects operate equipment. It’s a great way to do a hundred demos in a single day. We also invite people to compete in our Best Bale Contest, and we show them some ‘worst’ round bales as well. We purposely make four typical round-bale mistakes—barrel shaped, lopsided, soft centered, and tall shouldered. This brings home the importance of proper windrow formation and operator technique.”
New at this year’s event was a B-Wrap bale.
“Late last summer,” recalls Murat, “I had a customer in looking at a bale wrapper to make silage bales. He had an old New Holland baler and stored all his round bales outdoors. So I told him about John Deere Silage Special balers, and about how this new product, B-Wrap, could help preserve hay quality in the dry hay he stores outdoors.
“He liked the concept, and he traded in his New Holland baler for a new 459 Baler, complete with a B-Wrap kit. B-Wrap was in short supply last year, but we got him a roll, and he made a number of B-Wrap bales. For the hay clinic, I took one of his netwrap bales and one of his B-Wrap bales to the hay event. Both were third-crop hay stored outdoors for 10 months.
“The difference was amazing,” continues Murat, “especially at the bottom of the bale. The netwrap bale had 6 inches of moldy waste on the bottom. On the B-Wrap bale there was maybe a half inch of waste. And when you pulled hay out of the B-Wrap bale, it was green and smelled like the day it was baled. In fact, a bunch of people at the event didn’t want to believe the B-Wrap bale had been stored outside for 10 months.”
Murat has been focusing his B-Wrap sales efforts on farmers who store round bales outdoors.
“Some farmers around here use an in-line wrapper to help preserve hay quality,” notes Murat, “but B-Wrap is a simpler, more-cost-effective solution.
I hope to drive that home by having the B-Wrap and netwrap bales at the actual county fair. Last year, I sold three B-Wrap kits at the fair. This year, with the two bales showing the storage benefits of B-Wrap, I’m hoping to do even better.”
And the sales results of the big hay clinic? “I typically make about a dozen sales from our big hay event,” notes Murat. “In the first week after this year’s event I sold four pieces—a rake, a tedder, a round baler, and a utility tractor.”
Published in Oct. 2014 edition of "The Leader", a quarterly by John Deere–AMC to help dealers network their ideas and successes.