AUSTRALIAN farmers are among the hungriest in the world for new technology and product advancements, according to Case IH product manager Andrew Kissel.
And he says it's the responsibility of machinery companies to not only keep abreast of those requirements, but to stay ahead of customer expectations.
Mr Kissel, who is product manager for planting and soil management equipment for Case IH Australia/New Zealand and product specialist for Patriot self-propelled boomsprayers, embraces this challenge and is excited about what 2020 offers for his product lines and for customers.
"When you look at the cost of machinery today, there's a significant proportion of that value tied up in technology advancements," Mr Kissel said.
"So it's important customers realise the value in having that built into the machine.
"One of my priorities is making people more aware of how they can use what they already have to generate better returns, be more efficient or enhance other areas of their business where they're looking for better results.
"When we can show customers how they can get the maximum return on their investment then we start being a true partner in the business and not just a supplier of equipment."
United States-born and bred, Mr Kissel moved to Australia at the start of 2017 to take up the position of tractor and sprayer product specialist for Case IH.
With a home base in Sydney and plenty of opportunities to see so many other parts of the country through his job, he hasn't looked back and is excited by what the future of Australian agriculture holds.
Growing up in Ohio, Mr Kissel knew early on that agriculture was where he wanted to establish a future career, embarking on an ag engineering degree at Ohio State University when he left high school.
After graduation in 2011, he accepted a position at Iowa State University where he lectured on precision farming and managed a group of undergraduates at the university's research farm where a large component was machinery development involving many agriculture machinery manufacturers.
In 2013 an opportunity came up with CNH Industrial, the parent company of Case IH, which he accepted, joining the commercial sales training group for North America, before taking on the company's crop production line.
It was during this time Mr Kissel met now Case IH Australia/New Zealand general manager Pete McCann and started to think about a new opportunity within the company.
"I met Pete in the US and we started talking about sprayers and I ended up saying, 'If you've ever got an opportunity for me, let me know' - and here we are," Mr Kissel said.
He made his first visit to Australia in 2016 to assist with training sessions during Case IH's Red Excellence regional machinery tour, before moving Down Under six months later.
Since then he's overseen the company's renewed focus on its soil management equipment in Australia, with the launch of the Early Riser 2130 Stack-Fold Planter into the local market just over 12 months ago.
Its main point of difference is the fact it's the only planter engineered and built with precision planting components direct from the factory, meaning no additional financial outlay once a customer takes delivery.
Mr Kissel said the feedback on the 2130 had been very positive, with customers appreciating the fact the planter came equipped with everything they needed and that it presented some further variety in a market dominated by just a handful of players.
Mr Kissel and his team have also been working hard to ensure new Early Riser owners are up to speed with all their planter has to offer and have been liaising closely with the Case IH dealer network to provide the knowledge and experience they require to assist with customer inquiries.
"We completed some training recently in central New South Wales with local dealers where they spent the day learning about all aspects of the Early Riser and getting the chance to operate one in the field," he said.
"We need to make sure our dealer sales staff are equipped to address questions from customers or know where to go for the information they need."
Case IH continues to put the planter through agronomic trials incorporating a range of different conditions and different crops including corn, cotton and sorghum in the past 12 months and will soon start canola trials.