New Generation Farmers Are Choosing Samart

Since the Covid pandemic Thai agriculture has undergone some changes in approach as younger family members who saw their future in the business sectors of the cities were forced back to the rural family homes where many were raised. The need to fill their time whilst the pandemic subsided drove many to look again at the agricultural business that their families had been involved in for generations.  

However, some of these young business minds having taking a fresh look at the processes that their parents have been employing, and have decided that maybe the city life was not for them anymore and have instead decided on a new future working the farms that their parents have built up, but just in a different way.  

One such new farmer is Mr Kanet, who returned to his father’s farm in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) province after many commercial businesses in Bangkok were hit by the lockdown. We spoke to him earlier this year about some of the decisions he has had to make to renew his family business and attract him back to farming.  

“Firstly I had to convince myself of the challenge,” he said “Then, I had to confirm in my own mind that we had the right mix of crops in the land. Sugar has come under a lot of pressure over the last decade, but on balance, I feel it is still a good investment because the price is global, and many alternative uses for this crop are being developed.”

Staff’s Samart Kasetyon and Mr.Kanet, New Generation Farmer from Nakhon Ratchasima

As a farmer’s son he also took a long look at the harvesting operation which had been a mix of manual cutting and some contract mechanical harvesting.  

“It was pretty clear to me from the outset that we needed to move to total mechanical, and quickly. 

This for many reasons, but mainly in terms of cost and availability of labour. We can still find cutters but compared to a harvester they are slow. Better to build a team that supports a harvester than to be constantly begging cutters to work faster.  

Then of course there is the government requirement to stop burning the cane prior to harvest. It makes sense when you think about it, although many see this as a negative. But it isn’t. I want to be seen as somebody who takes responsibility for their future, and as cane rest is becoming a commodity, if I can be green, and still make money then I will. Cutting green cane also means the cane arriving at the mill in the best condition. Actually, it is a win, win situation. Some just don’t see that though”. 

As his family have been in farming for generations it is understandable that Kanet will have had contact with many like-minded entrepreneurs, so it is no surprise that for help in selecting suitable machines he turned to a family friend, Mr Kriengsak, for advice.  

“Kriengsak is one of the people I look upon as a kind of mentor” explained Kanet, “I have known him since I was young. He suggested I took a look at the Samart SM200 C as a start point. I knew that he had very old harvester, but had no idea what it was”.  

The machine Kriengsak operates is a Samart, actually, he has operated this machine for over 20 years. But it is hard to put a model name to it, because although it went into service originally as a Samart SM-200 TT, it has had 3 engine upgrades, been fitted with a revised blower system, heavy duty base cutter and latest level chopper box, oh, and the cab has been changed slightly too. Some work was simply wear and tear, other revisions were performance related. 

“My Samart has been a serious contribution to profitability simply because it reliably outperforms anything else I have seen. I can repair it, I can upgrade it and can always rely on parts or complete assemblies being available. It’s like any good quality work tool, taken care of, it will last for life.” Mr. Kriengsak commented

When we asked Kriengsak whether he ever considered replacing the unit he simply said “Why”? 

“Honestly” Kanet explained, Kriengsak’s experience with Samart was what convinced me to go with the Samart SM200C, there were so many plus factors. Of course, as with any major purchase, there is always the question of funding, but Samart machines have such a good reputation it was relatively easy to find the money.  

Their reliability comes from sound engineering and the use of high quality components. Their pricing is affordable and stems from keen sourcing and using our own Thai labour force, plus the fact that you are dealing direct with the manufacturers. For a “First Timer” in this field, the operating and service training given by Samart was a life saver, I really valued the support.  

As a result our team now feel 100 percent behind our machines. We’ve been operating our new units for some time now and our operation is proving to be really productive. Initially, I was not sure, but now know that we have a future in sugar, and our partners will be Samart”.  

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