13 Feb 2020

CLIMMAR Report 2019

‘Farmers and dealers face a lot of challenges’

Highlights from the 66th CLIMMAR Congress in Switzerland

At the 66th annual CLIMMAR Congress, held in Thun, Switzerland, BAGMA and nine other national dealer associations discussed the future of agricultural and garden machinery dealer organisations.

This is a heavyweight meeting as CLIMMAR member nations sell 130,000 new tractors annually, of which 99,000 units have over 50hp. It’s interesting to see that Germany is the biggest market by far (about 40,000 new tractors) whereas France is the biggest market for tractors >50hp (about 24,000 units). When looking to the number of tractor sales per dealer company, then Swedish and Hungarian dealers on average sell the most tractors (about 13 units), followed by Slovakia.

The congress was organised by Swiss CLIMMAR member Agrotec Suisse and opened by its president Werner Berger and CLIMMAR president Erik Hogervorst, whose second term in office ends this year at the October CLIMMAR Congress in Budapest, Hungary.

Highlights of the speeches

Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research and a master winegrower by trade, stressed to the delegates that farmers and dealers face a lot of challenges including fast technological changes. Switzerland itself is investing CHF 24bn in its centre of excellence for agricultural research called Agroscope ( Mr Parmelin also feels that digitisation offers ways to increase profitability, become more sustainable and to help dealers (with data) to do a better job and to improve/extend better usage of tractors and equipment by the farmers.

Meanwhile, 15% of Swiss farmers have turned to organic farming. CLIMMAR co-signing the Code of Conduct (CoC) on data sharing is a good thing, according to Mr Parmelin, but he feels the discussions on data exchange and ownership are difficult and form a challenge for politicians.

Per Hedetoft explained that after being an outcast at first, CLIMMAR is becoming recognised on a European level and respected for its voice by means of the Working Group Agricultural Tractors (WGAT) as well as in the ISO Working Group on Repair and Maintenance Information (RMI).

In the RMI discussions, CLIMMAR made Independent Operator (IO) equal to Independent Repairer (IR) and Redistributor. This means that apart from IO, also the IR and Redistributor should have access to repair and maintenance information by the manufacturers. Another achievement was parallel between Vehicle Manufacturer (VM) and Manufacturer and that the VM is required to provide for the purposes of repair and maintenance the same information that it provides to its authorised repairers in a non-discriminatory manner.

As most of the documents have their origin in the car/truck industry, Per proposed and managed to enforce changes to the original descriptions such as the accessibility to wiring and hydraulic diagrams and workshop procedures for body, engine, transmission and hydraulic repair.

Part two of the RMI standardisation focusses on vehicle on-board diagnostics (OBD). The question was raised about smaller manufacturers that do not need to have OBD. What to do with these? Another topic that was raised is the application of RMI for existing and older machines.

CLIMMAR report 2019

Jérôme Roche, secretary-general of CEETTAR, the organisation representing agricultural, rural and forestry contractors, said its members – like CLIMMAR’s members – are struggling to find skilled labour, especially in Finland, France, Germany, and Portugal. CEETTAR also recognises an image problem with contractors: consumers do not know what contractors do. They just see big machines causing possible security issues on public roads because of their size and leaving the roads dirty with mud. CEETTAR has issued a position paper on road use and the affiliated EU type approvals.

According to Roche, contractors and dealers can work together on: product safety; alerting contractors to recalls so that repairs are made on time and with less costly downtime; parts; exchanging knowledge; and the adoption of precision farming technologies and new business model development around data management and data sharing.

Jerome Bandry, secretary-general of CEMA, said although the first half of 2019 showed a positive trend in tractor sales in the EU, the CEMA barometer showed that the business climate index went down for the third time in a row.

As far as long-term global structural challenges are concerned – more and more people to feed and less and less farmers to do so – CEMA feels that smart technology is part of any solution and that precision agriculture could be used as a promoter of sustainable productivity growth in agriculture.