Farm Progress

Italian equipment manufacturers rely heavily on exports; here’s how two equipment companies market their Italian-made products in the Midwest.

Jill Loehr, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

December 21, 2016

3 Min Read

Italy exports 75% of its machinery production, according to a statement issued by Vincenzo Boccia, president of the Italian Manufacturers Federation, during EIMA 2016, an international ag machinery conference. Top importing countries include the United States, France and Germany.

And Italian equipment manufacturers such as Maschio Gaspardo and Olimac look at their current U.S. market share as just the beginning. 

Filippo Lavelli, general manager for Maschio Gaspardo North America, moved to DeWitt, Iowa, nearly five years ago. Lavelli says the president of Maschio Gaspardo wanted a team member close to the Quad Cities to provide service and support for their John Deere tillage equipment business.

Maschio Gaspardo’s “Green business” accounts for 30% of its overall sales, notes Lavelli. The company also has a dealer network of 120 locations throughout the U.S.

Maschio Gaspardo has a full line of equipment including tillage tools, planters, sprayers and mowers, says Lavelli. The company's new hay product line should hit the U.S. market in 2017.

The Dracula combined cultivator and UFO speed disk are Maschio Gaspardo’s top two Midwest products, notes Lavelli. The Dracula cultivator has front disks, tines, levelers and a rear roller to help manage crop residue, aerate soils and prep fields with one pass. The UFO speed disk, as the name suggests, is known for preparing seedbeds at higher speeds, up to 10 miles per hour.


LOCAL SERVICE AND SUPPORT: Filippo Lavelli, general manager of Maschio Gaspardo North America, stands in front of the Dracula combined cultivator. He moved to Iowa from Italy nearly five years ago to provide local service and support to Maschio Gaspardo’s U.S. market, especially in the Midwest. 

While Maschio Gaspardo carries a full line of equipment offerings, Italy-based Olimac focuses all of its effort on one product line: corn heads. Daniel Baumann, sales manager of Olimac for central Europe, says there are several reasons why their new Drago GT corn head earned an EIMA Innovation Award.

First, no plant is left behind with the automatically adjusting deck plates and spring-pressured mounts that adapt to the individual plants in each row. Second, the Drago GT has an extremely low working angle, making it ideal for lodged or down corn. Baumann says the slow yet aggressive gathering chain system also helps in down corn situations. The chain system is closer together in the front and open in the back, allowing other material to clear out as the corn head moves across the field.

“No additional plant material comes in, just the ear,” he notes.

Last, four springs inside each row take pressure off the plates. If an ear hits the plates, it bounces off without crumbling or cracking.

“Overall, you have very low loss, and you get more out of the field,” Baumann says. “That’s why we’re a good fit for the U.S. The farmers are willing to invest in a good machine for higher returns.”

Drago GT corn heads destined for the U.S. look different compared to the European line. Instead of the red and black heads found in Europe, the U.S. versions have poly snouts, and the head is color-coordinated to match the combine.

“Everything else is the same,” Baumann says.


QUALITY FROM A FAMILY-OWNED COMPANY: Daniel Baumann, sales manager of Olimac for central Europe, says Olimac is an Italian family-owned company that focuses solely on manufacturing corn heads. The corn heads, distributed by Dragotec USA in North America, are built under one roof — from parts development to assembly.


About the Author(s)

Jill Loehr

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer, Loehr

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