The Steketee camera system at work guiding a weeding harrow.

Dutch company Steketee, which has been part of the Lemken group since 2018, continued to grow in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with the company recording 30 per cent sales growth. A lot of work was also done throughout the year to keep up with the rising demand for alternative weed control solutions.

“The trend towards integrated crop care is unstoppable,” Steketee’s managing director, Iljan Schouten, said. “There’s strong demand for hoeing machines, ridgers and band spraying implements for reducing the use of pesticides. And the company’s order book is well filled for the 2021 spring season.”

To meet this high demand, Steketee and Lemken have worked together to optimise processes and production at the company’s productio site in The Netherlands. A new assembly line for small implements is being set up, which will boost production capacities and most likely shorten delivery times.

The introduction of the distinct Professional and Individual product lines has made it easier to both create and process orders. The Professional line comprises of easily configurable hoeing machines for traditional row crops and row widths.

“With the Individual line, we retain our ability to meet individual customer requests thanks to a wide range of available options,” Mr Schouten said. “There’s a clear trend towards customers demanding greater efficacy with larger working widths, with the IC-Light camera control delivering very high precision. This is where our 20 years of experience with camera-supported machine control really comes into its own.”

Last year, the company also worked intensively on its after-sales support. Spare parts are now documented in the Agroparts online portal and can be ordered from there. Both dealers and end customers can order parts via this portal, and all popular spare and wear parts are available for express overnight delivery from the central warehouse.

“This ensures that our customers’ Steketee machines are up and running again as quickly as possible, wherever they are in the world,” Steketee’s head of sales, Leonard Mol, said. “Demand from Central and Eastern European countries has been increasing substantially, in addition to demand in our established Western European markets. Mechanical weed control solutions have started to attract considerable interest in these regions too.”

As a result, Steketee more than fulfils its new “space to grow” theme. There’s “space to grow” throughout the company’s entire value chain.

“With our Steketee machines, we also want to enable our customers to prepare well for future societal and political demands,” Mr Schouten said. “That is, we want to create space to grow for our farmers and contractors too. After all, we need to keep in mind that space to grow also forms the basis for healthy crops. With Steketee’s young, highly motivated team, we’ve already made huge progress in this direction, and we will continue to do everything we can to provide our customers with optimal weed control solutions.”

As a result, product development is progressing rapidly, and the company is currently developing and trialing new plant recognition methods using artificial intelligence.

“We want our customers to be able to experience early practical applications in the near future,” Mr Schouten added. “We really want to live and breathe our new space to grow claim in all areas of our company.”

www.lemken.com