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October 25, 2017

Forward-facing farm tech

Dealer: Vanderfield
Established: 1963 as Farm Equipment Pty Ltd
Branches: QLD — Biloela, Bundaberg, Chinchilla, Emerald, Gatton, Gympie, Mackay, Toowoomba, Roma, St George; NT — Katherine, Darwin; WA — Kununurra
Specialise in: Full line farm equipment and service with a specialist innovation arm called VNet.

Founded by Gordon Vandersee over 50 years ago, Vanderfield is one of the largest John Deere dealerships in Australia. From its inception as Farm Equipment Pty Ltd, where it produced Gordon Vandersee’s own creation, the Dynathrust, it’s clear that Vanderfield is more than a traditional machinery dealer.

“My Dad moved to Toowoomba with the intention of being a Chamberlain dealer. He created an industrial loader called Dynathrust, fitted it to a Chamberlain industrial tractor and became a Chamberlain dealer soon after that,” says Bruce Vandersee, MD of Vanderfield.

“Seven years later in 1970 John Deere bought into Chamberlain, so we became a joint Chamberlain-John Deere dealer,” he says.

This innovative spirit that Gordon founded the company with has continued through the years. While computerised parts systems are the norm now, they were anything but in the 1980s with Vanderfield leading the charge.

“Over the years innovation has been dear to us. There have been a couple of milestones. We started our computerised parts system in 1980. It was pretty novel back then.

“Another early innovation was the development of a sunflower finger to go into the John Deere planter mechanism. John Deere always had corn fingers and there were a lot of sunflowers being grown in Australia at the time so we developed fingers that helped the accuracy of seeding sunflowers. John Deere put our design into production,” Bruce says.

This innovative flair is seen today in the company’s VNet Precision Farming faction, the technology-focused arm of the company. VNet specialises in precision ag solutions by adapting John Deere’s precision ag suite of hardware and software to particular applications for its customers. It also offers tailor made solutions for accurate crop seeding.

Bruce is quick to note that while being the first to come up with advanced solutions is great, it’s about the customers.

“Our people genuinely want to help our customers. We like the industry, we like the people we deal with. Sure, we want to lead, but we genuinely want to be valuable to our customers. We want to be way more than an alternative supplier of equipment,” he says. “We will go above and beyond.”