David Jochinke, who farms cereals, oilseeds and legumes, says that Crop Smart Dooen is very competitive on price, but it’s the quality of the service and variety of product that keeps him coming back. The Dooen team are proactive. If they have a short run of product they know I regularly use, they’ll give me a call. That local knowledge is important. The ability to know what is going on in the area so they can stock relevant product is great. I’ve bought herbicides, snail baits, fungicides and seed from them. There’s almost nothing that Crop Smart stocks that I haven’t tried.
Since joining the Crop Smart team about eight years ago, the growth of his business and client base has blown Dooen, Victoria, agent Darren Mills away. What started out servicing a few local farmers with product taking up half his chemical shed has since ballooned to the point where Crop Smart products are filling his whole shed. He still farms 1000 hectares at Dooen. “The amazing thing is our growth has been through word of mouth among growers, they mention Crop Smart to their mates who ask who we are and what we do and they end up giving us a call."
Lock grain grower Andrew Polkinghorne likes the Crop Smart marketing model. "They don't have any barrows to push in terms of particular chemicals, you know what you are getting and know what you are paying for", he said. "In some instances with other businesses, we are paying for the agronomic advice with the chemical but I'm not interested in that". Andrew grows wheat, barley, peas, canola, lentils and runs Merino sheep over 5800 hectares at Lock. "The service from our local warehouse is great. I appreciate the direct lines of communication we have with the Wiseman's and Julian Wait".
For Eyre Peninsula grower Mark Modra, the synergies between Crop Smart and using an independent agronomist work best for his business. "It's the integrity that I really value," Mark said "I saw Crop Smart as being able to supply a good product at an even better price. I have a good independent agronomist who recommends what I should be using and Crop Smart works really well with that. I know I'm getting the best product for the job at hand and I think we'll see more people using Crop Smart because of it".
Lyall & Carly Wiseman were Crop Smart customers first before they became agents for Crop Smart in 2011. In 2013 after significant growth they built a larger warehouse on their property at Lock on the Eyre Peninsula, SA. Flexibility is one of the key attractions for growers, with Lyall & Carly able to leave product out to be collected after hours if necessary. "I'm a farmer & it was time we had someone else closer to town", Lyall said. "We find, in our own farming operation, it's a great product, and it's well priced".
Yeelanna grain growers Ian & Kerrie Proctor have been using Crop Smart products since the store was first opened at Cummins. "Cummins used to have limited suppliers, but since Crop Smart and another chemical company have come to town, they have brought competitiveness into the district which has definitely brought prices down", he said. The Proctor's crop 2,600ha to canola, wheat, barley, peas & lupins. "Crop Smart have stock on hand and they are independent, not a multinational, they are more competitive and offer great service."
Pinnaroo farmer Wade Nickolls says he buys from Crop Smart "because they are farmers, they think like farmers and not wholesalers. They know what people are using and what they need probably better than a normal retailer,” he said. Wade farms with brother Chad and father Jeff, cropping 4500 hectares to wheat, barley, canola, lentils, lupins and export hay. “We are honest that we’ll price around but Crop Smart gets the business quite often,” he said. “Crop Smart sets an early price when some businesses don’t yet know what their prices will be.
Aaron and Mandy Oakley’s ability to understand farmers’ needs, secure product and solve problems is the reason why Tony Thomas keeps going back to Crop Smart Pinnaroo. Tony farms south-east of Pinnaroo, growing wheat, barley, canola, triticale, lupins, and running Merino ewes. Tony says one of the appeals of Crop Smart is how the company keeps prices down while balancing supply and demand. “I support local businesses wherever possible. The fact Crop Smart is Australian-owned does weigh in to my decision but at the end of the day, we all run businesses and if Crop Smart weren’t competitive, they wouldn’t be here.”
While Crop Smart’s Dooen warehouse continues to grow and take on new clients, Glenn Jenkinson has been a loyal client from the beginning. The Kalkee grower crops 1300 hectares. The biggest driver of his loyalty is Crop Smart’s reliability on price. “The service from Darren and Lee is always reliable. I’m only 10 kilometres away from the warehouse so it’s a quick trip in and they have always got what I want in stock.” “All the chemicals I buy from Crop Smart do the job in the paddock, which is what really matters at the end of the day.”