Spraytec Global Director touches down in Australia

Last month our Australian team proudly welcomed Spraytec’s Global Director, Pablo Lafuente De Volder, as he toured the country to experience directly the remarkable efforts and strategies implemented in cementing Spraytec into the Australian agricultural landscape! Marking an important step for the company, the visit provided an opportunity for our team to showcase existing operations and industry relationships at regional, state and national levels. More so, it allowed vital time to introduce and become acquainted with the growing team, learn and benefit from global experiences, and make consideration to future objectives and goals.

Throughout his trip, Pablo repeatedly sang the praises of our Australian team, referring to the tight-knit bond and goal-oriented attitudes we have stood by since our foundational beginnings of 2019, to continued market consolidation at present time. To be acknowledged from a global perspective was a tremendous honour, and one that will continue to reinvigorate the team moving forward as we strive not only to become a trusted force here in Australia, but also to become a reference for other international Spraytec branches.

Western Australia; from initial foundations to present consolidation

Upon landing in Perth on a still Wednesday morning, Pablo’s first point of contact was our head office and warehouse located in Hamilton Hill. Arriving to brand new external office signage ensured Pablo could not miss us, whilst internal upgrades and features illustrated the extent of our team’s professionalism in creating a healthy and comfortable workplace. Meeting Jeremy Samson, our dedicated Research Agronomist, and Gonza Taboada, our Operation’s Manager, provided an immediate indication of our recent growth, with their additions being imperative to sustaining this growth. A consequent warehouse tour emphasised this further, with space at a premium as containers of product had been scheduled to arrive every quarter of 2023. This consistent stream of product was strategised to match volume movement to clients and provide a guarantee of product accessibility.

Inside HQ as Pablo meets the team based in Perth, Western Australia.

The rolling hills of the Avon Valley were a backdrop for an immersive outing the following day, with Pablo gaining valuable insights into the key contacts Spraytec has through the area. Visiting Anton de Lange and the enthusiastic team at Brookton Rural Traders ensured the perspectives of a local retail business could be shared. It also presented as an opportune moment to pose in front of our sleek one-way vision advertisement. An important addition to the business’ shopfront, Anton proposed the advertisement option following a series of positive summer experiences with Spraytec products, identifying the potential of making public our affiliation. Highlighting our support for local business is paramount to our continued story here in Australia, as we seek to align our logo alongside our key distributors wherever possible. Travelling north, farm visits were facilitated with York growers Chris Luelf and Leon Ryan, providing Pablo with direct insights into Australian grower practices, the challenges faced, and the positive experiences shared in using Spraytec products. Experiencing a challenging year in most parts, there was much optimism from Chris and Leon following a series of well-above average seasons across the board; rainfall, yields, quality, etc. Mentions of the difficulties in managing crops and livestock with below-average growing season rainfall were referenced to by both, as current yields reflected this. It was remarkable however, the crop quality either grower was able to produce, a testament to their knowledge and strategies implemented across the season. A final appointment at Lester Snooke’s Bolgart Rural business topped off a productive day, as potential retailer and agronomy group partnerships were discussed moving into 2024. Strong trial results and market clarity will decide this.

Showcasing a collaborative marketing effort with Delta Ag WA’s Brookton Rural Traders.

To cap off a smash-and-grab week, Pablo accompanied the team to the primary office of Delta Ag WA. Serving as our preference distributor since a state-wide agreement was facilitated in 2021, Delta Ag WA has endorsed access to their entire network, that consists of fully-owned and member associated businesses. This collaboration is essential in ensuring that Spraytec remains at the forefront of producer minds and practices, with our team making regular visits that may include recent updates, product information or potential promotions to name a few. By engaging with the various local partners affiliated with Delta Ag WA, Spraytec can tailor our solutions to meet the specific needs of WA producers more efficiently, increase market exposure, and with time, be endeared by local regional communities as stalwart sponsors. During the meeting with Delta Ag WA, the commercial and trial experiences where shared. Through their aligned AgroAdvantage trials division, Delta Ag WA was exposed to 5 independent trials in 2023 that included seed treatment and post-emergent herbicide applications in barley, canola and wheat. These trials were located throughout WA to ensure of product consistency amongst varying locations and environments. Trial locations included the well-established Dumbleyung Commercial Trial Site, with other sites in Gairdner, Lake Grace and Perenjori complimenting this. Results will be finalised soon through extensive full reports that will be distributed to local Delta Ag WA retailers and associated clients.

Meeting Delta Ag WA’s AgroAdvantage team who facilitated numerous plot trials in 2023.

Pablo’s time in WA concluded with a close look at extensive pot trials facilitated by Roberto Busi at the University of Western Australia (UWA). With increasing local agronomist and consultant confidence, specific questions had been raised to the independently aligned Roberto, as he presented to us his work assessing Spraytec solutions across several hard water scenarios. As per prior expectations, it was fantastic to observe optimal commercial performance on notoriously problematic annual ryegrass populations. Timing perfectly with lunch, and with no hesitation, a famed Argentine asado BBQ was up and running back at the head office, as Pablo settled in to hear about the opportunities to be had next week on Australia’s eastern seaboard.

Hearing from Roberto Busi at UWA following his hard water focus experiment.

Supporting our national expansion in Victoria

With no time to spare, Pablo, alongside key team members, travelled to Victoria to join VIC and SA Sales Agronomist Simon Angelino. Arriving in Melbourne to begin the week, a formal meeting was arranged with Kerryn Hayes, the National Ag Chem Business Manager for National Rural Independents (NRI), where pivotal advancements were made in shaping the trajectory of Spraytec-NRI’s commercial objectives. Of key interest, was amplifying NRI member product exposure and enriching agronomist and grower experiences at the ground level through client support, complimentary water analysis, and potential ag tour participation, amongst other services. With NRI’s endorsement serving as a testament to the organisation’s confidence in Spraytec’s capabilities, NRI members can be assured of a committed and transparent supplier. A highlight of the meeting were the insights by Pablo, who provided compelling global references attesting to Spraytec’s widespread recognition across South America, North America, and Europe. These references underscored Spraytec’s global impact and success.

Introductions were made to Kerryn Hayes, NRI’s National Ag Chem Business Manager.

Further embarking on strategic collaborations, a meeting with AgLink was facilitated, as well as separate sessions with key members E.E Muir & Sons and AGnVET. These allowed for comprehensive insights into AgLink’s core operations, member involvement, avenues to market, existing user experiences, and potential first-hand trial experiences. Again, Pablo shared a global dimension within each discussion, presenting compelling references that highlight Spraytec’s international impact. These all served to instil credibility and confidence into the potential partnership, as statements of commitment and objectives were clarified.

A commitment to core relations in New South Wales

As mid-week approached, Pablo and the team arrived in Young, where they met with Chris Edwards, our NSW Sales Agronomist. It was here the team was able to reaffirm to Pablo their commitment to Delta Ag, meeting with Chris Duff, Kevin Holt, and Stephen Hines in their head office. After a presentation from both Delta Ag and Spraytec, Pablo was educated on the intricacies of the Australian agricultural retail system and gained a deeper understanding of Spraytec’s association with Delta Ag. The team was informed on procurement processes, internal trials, and Delta Ag’s alternate business ventures – finishing with a quick tour of the retail branch and warehouse. Both Pablo and our Australian team extend their gratitude to Chris, Kevin, and Stephen for affording us the opportunity to initiate, cultivate, and strengthen Spraytec’s partnership with Delta Ag nationwide.

On Thursday, the day was dedicated to travel, team cohesion, and strengthening connections with local agronomists. The morning commenced with comprehensive progress reports from each of the state sales agronomists, detailing the substantial growth that Spraytec has achieved over the last year. Pablo was notably impressed with our Australian team’s success in fostering relationships with local agronomists, retailers, and growers, demonstrating Spraytec’s steadfast commitment to prioritising customer interests in daily operations. Pablo provided constructive feedback, detailing his experiences with similar situations in alternate branches around the globe – an aspect of being a global company that our Australian branch greatly benefits from.

The team then proceeded north, preparing for a series of afternoon meetings. Further exemplifying Spraytec’s strong association with Delta Ag, the team visited local Grenfell Delta Ag agronomist and grower, Henry Mitton. He provided a detailed account of his application of Fulltec Max in a herbicide and fungicide mix, showcasing its highly competitive efficacy in weed and disease control in his wheat. Of particular interest to Henry were the potential yield responses demonstrated in the independent trial data. Henry was also introduced to the Fulltec Max demonstration kit, a tool utilised to showcase the benefits of Spraytec products, while sharing insights of Spraytec’s experiences with Delta Ag across Australia. The team looks forward to collaborating further with Henry, and eagerly await the yield data he will collect from his own demonstration trial.

Hearing from Henry Mitton following his use of Fulltec Max on wheat.

Continuing north, the team met with John, Luke and Nick at PY Ag, who provided Pablo with an overview of practices in central NSW, and aided the team in identifying the optimal application of Spraytec products within their market. The team at PY Ag had also conducted a small-plot knockdown trial, demonstrating the benefits of including Spraytec’s products instead of a wetter or premium oil in combination with ammonium sulphate. The herbicides used within the trial were Glyphosate 450, Paraquat and Terrad’or® – combinations seen frequently across summer and knockdown spray applications. With fantastic results concluded, this trial will be uploaded to the “Trials” tab on our website once the report is available. We thank John and the team for hosting us for the afternoon, and look forward to working with PY Ag and the Emerge Ag group in the future.

Wrapping up Pablo’s tour, an educational session with the PY Agronomy team in Parkes.

To complete Pablo’s week in New South Wales, and Australia, much of Friday was spent travelling through the scenic Blue Mountains and exploring Sydney, as the team visited the world-renowned attractions of Bondi Beach, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge. Celebrating the Opera House’s 50th anniversary with an eye-catching laser show assured a cinematic ending to a highly successful tour.

Where to now?

No sooner had Pablo jetted off back to Argentina, had thanks been shared, follow-ups made, and future objectives put in place with clients visited throughout the duration of Pablo’s time. Our Australian team were, and continue to be, motivated to capitalise on the productive meetings and sessions coordinated across Pablo’s trip duration. In what is a constantly evolving industry, hosting Spraytec’s Global Director will prove to be the catalyst for further inroads to be made into the Australian market.

We are committed and here to stay. Onwards and upwards for 2024.