Founder Franz Pöttinger with his wife Juliane.

2021 heralds a big anniversary for Pöttinger, the family-owned Austrian agricultural technology company, and “Honour the past – be the future” is the headline for celebrating its 150-year success story. What started as a small workshop in Grieskirchen has developed into an internationally successful business.

It all started at a festival: Franz Pöttinger was a resourceful master clockmaker who in the 19th century was already highly innovative and looking towards the future. From his point of view, the precision of a timepiece could also be applied to machines for making farmers’ hard work easier. This meant that the forage chopping machine’s time had come. And for it, he was awarded the Silver Prize Medal at the Linz Festival in Austria in 1871. That was 150 years ago, the same year the company was founded. Pöttinger has been serving the agricultural technology industry ever since.

An early Pöttinger horse-drawn hay swather.

In addition to the forage chopping machine, the company also produced fruit mills and presses, harvesters for silage and forage, brushwood chippers and potato harvesters. In the 1950s, one of the best-selling machines was a loader for hay, straw, grass and beet leaves. A few years later, the conveyor rake revolutionised mountain farming. This paved the way for the business’ “Green product range”. Following continuous ongoing development, the hay loader soon became the forerunner for the loader wagon.

Pöttinger has been the world market leader in this segment ever since. Acquiring the Bavarian Plough Factory in Germany opened the door for the grassland specialist to enter the tillage market in 1975. Power harrows, stubble cultivators and ploughs were then added to the product range. The third key area of competence was seed drill technology. The company successfully entered this market in 2001 by taking over the Rabe plant in Bernburg, Germany.

Pöttinger’s hay loader made callecting forage child’s play.

Following the first exhibitions at trade fairs in Austria and neighbouring countries, international success started in 1999 with the foundation of the first sales subsidiary in France. Another 14 subsidiaries in Europe, the USA and Asia followed, the most recent achievement being the opening of the subsidiary in Poland in 2020.

Pöttinger has always felt a strong connection to farmers. Recent events in particular have shown how important it is for everybody to have a sufficient supply of high-quality food.

“At Pöttinger, we’ve been working for the success of our customers for more than 150 years,” management team spokesman Gregor Dietachmayr said. “As a family-owned company, Pöttinger takes its responsibility for future generations and the environment very seriously. It’s our duty to develop agricultural technology that allows and promotes all aspects of farming also in the future.”