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seeding,” says Carvalho. “Europe is a difficult market. Due to
the small size of their farms, Europeans are not disposed to
direct seeding. At the outset, it takes three or four years before
you achieve good productivity and European farmers can’t risk
losing profits for three to four years. Direct seeding is very
advanced for them; only a few dreamers or risk takers will invest
in it. But it’s happening in the Americas, Australia, and in
Eastern Europe where farms are much larger and growers can
experiment. Basically, you can really cut down on machine use
and reduce fuel consumption while gaining much more produc-
tivity. Depending on factors such as crop variety and type of soil,
you can achieve gains in productivity of up to 20 percent.”
In Brazil, direct seeding is already well incorporated due to the
country’s vast spaces. At the moment, Kuhn – which produces
between 250 and 300 machines a year – controls around 12 per-
cent of the domestic market, although its position fluctuates
depending upon the specific product line in question. In some mar-
kets – such as in the supply of seeders for winter crops – it is mar-
ket leader. “Right now we’re introducing a lot of new equipment,
so it’s difficult to gage our market position,” confesses Carvalho.
Indeed, since it first began operation, Kuhn has been confronted
by some extreme ups and downs in terms of the market. In 2004,
a mega harvest led to big sales the following year. However, a
drought in 2005 was reflected in decreased sales in subsequent
years. Then in 2008, the global financial crisis hit, with the result
that Kuhn experienced no growth in 2009. “Since we started out,
our growth has been variable,” admits Carvalho. “But we’ve con-
sistently met all our predefined financial goals.”