Partnership as a key to success

Young generation farmers Rok Lančič and Simon Černel from the municipality of Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnici (Slovenia) are pig farmers and arable farmers, and they are an example of good agricultural integration practice, as they have been working together for many years to buy modern farm machinery – and successfully.

June 13, 2022

Two Acquirers, One Passion
Lančič and Černel farms, which are only less than a kilometre apart, are traditional farms from the same municipality and have been in operation for several decades. They are linked by the same activities: pig farming and arable farming. A step towards greater specialisation was made by the young farm owners Rok Lančič and Simon Černel, who felt a great passion for farming as children and took over their life's mission entirely from their parents. "We love farming. Even though our work is demanding – it requires a constant presence – it is also a pleasure," say the two, who approach everything with heart. And that's what drives them day in, day out. With their youthful enthusiasm, they are always on the lookout for ideas and solutions that would help them not only survive but, above all, successfully navigate the challenges of the future.

Farms with the Same Activity
The Lančič farm is primarily a breeding farm for breeding sows and fattening pigs – 800 animals in total, with a complementary activity in the production of meat products, while the Černel family specialises in fattening pigs – up to 700 animals. Both farms sell pigs or all finished products directly to final customers, some to retailers and regional cooperatives that value local quality. In addition to their core business, the Lančič farm cultivates 42 hectares and the Černelovi farm 38 hectares of agricultural land – mainly cereals and maize for the production of their own roughage. They resell any surpluses, but have recently become more cautious in reselling due to the volatile market situation. They would certainly both like to acquire more arable land, but it is simply no longer available in the wider area.

Partnership Purchase of Machinery
The owners of the farm are well aware that modern farm machinery allows for increased production and productivity, but also represents a significant purchase cost. "It was from a cost perspective that we decided to join forces and make our first joint investment six years ago," says Lančič, explaining their motivation for working together as partners. Today, they already own several machines together, which they borrow from each other – a decision they do not regret. "We have always known each other, we share the same outlook on life and development of agriculture, and we trust each other to the maximum," emphasises Černel, who admits in the same voice that, despite being in the same industry and in direct competition, they have never had any doubts about buying and using machinery together. At the same time, lower operating costs allow them to be more competitive on the market. They are surprised that there is no more of the new-fangled cooperative or cluster farming as is the practice in the West.

The Main Trump Card: Value for Money
The gradual increase in pig production on both farms and the associated increase in slurry production led to the decision two years ago to jointly acquire a new slurry tanker. In addition to the fact that the existing tank had become too small, a subsidy for sustainable agriculture was offered. All this made the decision easier and accelerated the purchase. The two farmers have high demands when it comes to purchasing new machinery and three reputable brands were in the running – in the end, the decision came down to a Farmtech 18,000 litre Polycis 1800 model tanker with an additional 15 metre Condor 15.0 distribution system, which was taken delivery of earlier this year. "In addition to its local recognition, the Farmtech tanker offered the best value for money," say the two. "At the same time, we are only 15 minutes away from the company's headquarters, which comes in handy in the event of service interventions," they add.

Simplifying Operations
They do not yet have much experience with such a modern and high-performance tanker, but they will certainly improve their workflow and of course benefit from all the advantages of the Polycis series and the low-discharge hose system. "This new acquisition will certainly make our work easier and simplify our seasonal activities, saving us both time and money. It has twice the volume of the old one, which means that double the work will be done in one trip," explains Lančič, who especially hopes that the existing tractor will be powerful enough for the more difficult terrain. Černel adds, "The 18,000 litre tank is equipped with an eccentric screw pump and 8-inch diameter hoses, ensuring that it will be filled in the same time as the existing one, despite twice the volume. Mutual borrowing will also be faster."

Optimistic about the Future
The farmer was also convinced by the 15-metre low slurry discharge system with manifolds and ploughshares – the Condor model – which enables even and precise watering. "We are sustainability-minded, so we know that nitrogen losses are much lower with a hose distribution system than with a normal sprayer. Emissions and odours are also reduced, which is certainly positive for us, the environment and future generations," they say in unison. They are also considering the possibility of upgrading the ISOBUS control for the tanker. They have clear goals for the future, and there are still a number of projects, challenges and investments ahead of them, including the gradual expansion and improvement of their fleet. "This joint purchase was certainly not the last", they conclude the conversation optimistically.