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MAY 2008

The harvesting specialist’s journal

The new alliance the market likes Excellent feedback from the Laverda-Agco understanding Meanwhile, the combine sector is up and coming in Italy and the “reds” soar to over 36 percent A POSITIVE 2007 FOR THE LAVERDA “FAMILY”: THE TURNOVER TOPS 150 MILLION

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Gruppo Industriale ARG

The situation by Mario Scapin

Ready to enter the field and reap lots more satisfaction

Mario Scapin director general

The Laverda Group’s turnover topped 150 million in 2007, also thanks to a strategic agreement reached with Agco Dear readers, as we approach the period in which you’ll be making a start on your field work, we can all look forward with optimism to this new harvest because it should finally provide all farmers with the level of profit they’ve been hoping for and expecting for some time. Owing to the growth in consumptions, the development of bio-fuels and, presumably, of financial strategies as well, the prices of agricultural products have been the driving force behind the development of the combine-harvester market in all the main countries. It’s thanks to these positive factors that Laverda’s 2007 balance sheet, recently approved by the shareholders’ meeting, closed with a gratifying increase as compared to the previous business year. The turnover has actually grown by 19% and exceeds 99 million Euros. This result has been due to a 15% rise in the number of machines sold and to the increasingly more consistent contribution provided by the sale of spare parts, whose business turnover has risen by 20%. This year, so important for the company and characterized by the strategic agreement reached with the Agco group, the operating margin, after deduction of the extraordinary assets, presented the most significant growth with an 82% improvement. The stock value decreased for both raw materials and the finished product, which strengthened the company’s financial position to an even greater extent. The business year of Fella Werke, the company entirely possessed by Laverda and with the same management in common, also featured the same trends, with a turnover that increased by 10% and topped 51 million Euros. In short, the consolidated turnover of the Laverda group exceeded 150 million Euros and fully confirmed the company’s growth process. These results were obtained thanks to the contribution

of all the workers, dealers, marketers and shareholders. I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all, but I also and above all wish to extend my thanks to all our customers for their trust in the products and services offered by Laverda. The positive trends of the last periods have been confirmed in this first part of 2008. The demand for harvesting machines is continuing to be high. Laverda is doing all in its power to satisfy the market by taking all the necessary actions able to increase the daily production rate. The sales volumes are significantly on the upswing in Italy. This is especially thanks to the demands from the central-southern part of the country and to the excellent way in which the new self-levelling combines AL Quattro and AL Rev have been received. The M304 Ls Integrale model is also obtaining results beyond our expectations and is proving to be the ideal machine for harvesting in hilly areas. The growth has almost reached 50% on the French market and here, Laverda has been right on the mark by not only increasing the sales volumes but also its por-

tion of the segment of conventional machines, with straw-walkers. The number of orders received from the East European countries is extremely positive, particularly those from Bulgaria and Romania. But our results in other markets, such as Greece and Poland, is also growing both as to volumes and market share. The Agco group brands are also achieving similar results. Both Massey Ferguson and Fendt are enjoying continual growth in all their markets, and this provides a further contribution towards the development of the Breganze enterprise. So I can say with extreme satisfaction that I firmly believe that all this represents a tangible confirmation of how strategically sound is the agreement we signed last year with the Agco group. Now, as the campaign is drawing near, I’ll conclude by extending my sincerest best wishes to you all for a satisfactory harvest and with the hope of being able to present all the Laverda customers with welcome surprises during the Autumn trade fairs.

The harvesting specialist’s journal Year VIII, N° 1, May 2008 Quarterly periodical Registered with the Court of Vicenza N° 1017 of 5 March 2002

publishing management Mario Scapin Angelo Benedetti Simonetta Lambrocco director in charge Claudio Strati art work Andrea Rosset Piergiorgio Laverda the following persons collaborated: Aneliya Kaneva

sales manager Opticom Ltd Bulgaria

Andres Moradas Lopez Laverda Spain sales manager

Elena Korovkina

Investa Agro management assistant

Thomas Beckert

Fella product manager

Piergiorgio Laverda

curator of the “Pietro Laverda” Historic Archive

photographs Archivio Laverda spa © by Laverda spa 36042 Breganze (VI) Italy via F. Laverda, 15/17 tel. +39.0445.385311 fax +39.0445.873355 Printed by G.N.G.

Via Galvani, 58 - 36066 Sandrigo (VI) Literary rights reserved. Articles and pictures may only be duplicated if source is cited.

To all journal subscribers PRIVACY STATEMENT AS PER ART. 13 OF DECREE LAW D.LGS. 30.6. 003, N° 196 Your identification data have been acquired by Laverda S.p.A. from either you yourselves or from public lists and registers, thus from documents accessible to anyone, for our marketing activities in the future. Laverda S.p.A. will deal with these data on paper and/or by computerized or telematic media. The information will solely be used in our company or by auxiliary bodies authorized by our company for postal purposes, in relation to our need to acquire new customers by sending commercial proposals, also in the future. Laverda S.p.A. guarantees that the data will be treated in the most confidential way and that, upon your request, your data may be cancelled (or corrected) from our archives free of charge. You are therefore entitled to exercise all the rights established by art. 7 of Decree Law d.lgs N° 196/003 and in particular, to wholly or partly refuse to allow the data to be used.

Italy by Simonetta Lambrocco

Farming’s fine and combines are feeling much better

Simonetta Lambrocco communication and public relations manager

The home market tots up 36% more than 2007 The agricultural sector is recovering fast and the market for combines is beginning to grow again as a consequence. In Italy, there’s been a gigantic leap forwards as compared to 2007. The increase in the food demand has led to the appearance of new, strong economies on the market, a different trend in tastes and an increased amount of cash in the hands of very numerous populations, first and foremost those of China and India. And these are not the only decisive factors to have contributed towards the general recovery of the agricultural sector. This growth trend also concerns the subject of energy production from alternative sources. When it comes to energy, the increase in the price of crude oil is of the structural type. We’re now facing the third oil shock in history. But while the first (1973-74) and second (1978-79) oil crises were caused by OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) having rationed the oil supply, today’s crisis has been determined by a progressive drop in the raw material which, being limited, will inevitably not last forever. We cannot ascertain with certainty just when the oil fields will become depleted, but many scholars believe that this will happen in about seventy years. However, one needs to consider numerous different variables that could positively influence the situation, such as a world-wide commitment towards sustainable, responsible consumption with a view to achieving increased efficiency when it comes to the use of energy sources, a shared policy for researching and developing new technologies, the ability and the chance to use renewable energy sources in a concrete way, the return to a life-style that’s more respectful of the environment, the discovery of new oil fields… Although as individuals, we are unable to do much for research, the contribution that each of us can offer by rationalizing our consumptions is a very different matter. For example, we can start by paying more attention to the way we use the electric lights or only use the car when strictly necessary. We can stop leaving the lights on when they’re not required and replace the light bulbs at home with the low energy sort. We can opt for local foodstuffs and direct our choice to products that come from areas neighbouring on the one where we live. It often seems

absurd, but products that come from another part of the world often cost less than their local equivalent. This situation can be reversed by our joint efforts to set matters in a more logical order. If we can do this, we’ll not just be saving energy but also reducing the amount of pollution. If we actually succeed in limiting the demand for products from far-off lands, we’ll be cutting down on transport and, consequently, on pollution. It’s a chilling thought, but every kilo of petrol consumed produces 3 kilos of carbon dioxide, one of the main causes of global warming. As explained by scientist Ernesto Hofmann, an expert in technologies, at the “Energy Tomorrow” forum organized in Venice by Coldiretti and The European House Ambrosetti, recent studies show that 22 million barrels of oil are consumed each day in the United States while, according to the 2008 Legambiente report, a citizen of the European Union consumes about half that of an American, but three times more than a Chinese citizen and almost nine times more than an African. Meanwhile, China is planning to build another 60 coal-fuelled power stations in the near future and we all know that, besides carbon dioxide, coal also produces a considerable amount of pollution from dust. In short, the scenario is extremely varied and

it’s for this reason that the scientific world suggests a holistic approach, i.e. an attitude that considers every aspect as part of a whole and not as an individual element. For our part, we can verify how each of our actions corresponds to a series of effects that we can make either positive or negative. Going back to the subject with which we are more closely involved, the increase in the price of grain crops and stocks that are beginning to run short are encouraging farmers to stop leaving farmlands uncultivated. Moreover, the alternative energy business absorbs most of the products and contributes in a considerable way towards the sector’s newly found optimism. A sensation that we’re also experiencing in Italy, where we’ve witnessed an upswing on the combine harvester market, which marked a 36% increase as compared to 2007. This increase in the domestic market is especially due to the growth of the self-levelling combine segment, as these machines have currently doubled their volume to reach 31% of the total market portion. Thanks to its new AL Quattro and AL Rev self-levelling models, Laverda holds the record in this particular segment. The AL Quattro combine has become very popular with the customers and not just in Italy but also in Spain, where strongly sloping ground is certainly not lacking.

Castellacci, the sales challenge The sales manager for Italy has been with Laverda since 2000: “It’s an exciting task to bring this historic brand back to its ancient splendour” Giampietro Castellacci has been with Laverda since 2000 and has been sales manager for Italy since 2007. He began working in the Breganze plant as an area manager. A certain coherence between his way of thinking and the company’s industrial culture soon became evident and this explains the enthusiasm with which Castellacci dedicated his efforts to the sale of Laverda’s combine harvesters. Fifty-three years old, born in Rovigo, married and with an eighteen year-old daughter, Giampietro Castellacci soon approached the field of mechanics and agriculture once he had finished his studies, as he started work in the Provincial Agricultural Consortium of Rovigo, where he remained until 1990. Castellacci changed jobs in 1991 when he took up employment with Sovema di Modena, where he acted as area manager until 2000. “In Sovema,” Casellacci remembers, “the approach was that of a system based upon the achievement of personal development within a structure organized in full compliance with the corporate goals and terms”. Giampietro, what was it about Laverda that attracted you? “The driving force, the down to earth attitude of the new management and the desire to re-establish the image on the market of a prestigious brand that had given so much to agriculture and not just in Italy, but the whole world over”.

You were naturally familiar with the company before coming to work in Breganze. “Certainly, I knew Laverda, its history and products very well. When I worked for the consortium, way back in the seventies, I sold about seven or eight Laverda machines a year. Well, come to think of it, I sold quite a lot of them…”. What did you think of the Laverda brand and products at that time and how did Laverda stand in relation to the competitors? “In my area, Laverda possessed about 80% of the market. Our competitors were either doing badly with their products or were beginning to build up their own sales networks with enormous difficulty. It was the serious crisis sustained by the agricultural consortia that allowed our competitors to invade the Italian market. Besides the enthusiastic way the new management was going about its business, the main thing that encouraged me to accept a job with Laverda was a personal challenge. To bring a brand that had been so actively involved in the agricultural development of Italy and the world back to the splendour and prestige that it had rightfully enjoyed in the past was a truly fascinating goal”. A man with a passion who’s continually putting himself to the test… “I suppose that’s true”.

Your opinion of your experience with Laverda to date? “I’d say it was extremely positive. Practical results show that the quality of our products is widely appreciated and acknowledged. Laverda is winning back the standing it deserves”. And from a personal point of view? “Truly satisfactory. I’m extremely proud of the results I’ve achieved, also when it comes to my personal career, but this will certainly not lead to a drop in my commitment towards the progressive growth of our sales”. Thanks Giampietro and good luck. Simonetta Lambrocco

The corporate totem synthesizes the new industrial alliance The innovations that have affected Laverda’s corporate set-up are also highlighted in the company’s symbols. So now the totem that bears the company’s name also sports the Agco logo. The Agco logo was recently affixed, on the side opposite to the Argo logo, to the big white totem bearing the Laverda logo that stands at the entrance to the plant, thereby testifying to the groups to which the Breganze company belongs. Similarly, two of the six flagpoles in front of the entrance have been adorned with the Fendt and Massey Ferguson standards as combines of the Fendt and Massey Ferguson brands are also manufactured in the Laverda plant. So this is why a Massey Ferguson flag and a Fendt flag flutter in the wind alongside those of Laverda, to remind onlookers of the new industrial alliance. S. L.

Volatile, more than half a century of history There’s a Laverda dealer with a wealth of experience in eastern Sicily Volatile Bernardo snc, Laverda’s dealer for the provinces of Catania, Siracusa, Messina, Ragusa, Enna, Agrigento and Caltanissetta, boasts almost sixty years of history and experience. The Volatile Bernardo enterprise was established in December 1951 in Palagonia, a village in the province of Catania. Bernardo Volatile, the founder, was a great entrepreneur. A few years before establishing the new company, he had started business by selling motorbikes and mopeds all over the eastern side of Sicily. His first approach to the tractor world dates back to 1952, when he became a dealer for products bearing the Pasquali logo. A few years later, Volatile became a dealer for Lamborghini, and then went on to sell the Landini (in 1967), Agrifull (in 1970) and Goldoni (in 1979) brands as well. Bernardo Volatile’s work was certainly not simple because, in the Fifties, the use of mechanical machinery for agricultural work was inconceivable for farmers. In those times a farmer was considered to be a person who provided himself with foodstuff thanks to purely manual work. Volatile’s activity at that time could even be considered “revolutionary”, but the thing that undoubtedly gave him an unrivalled competitive advantage was the fact that he considered the customers not so much and not only as “customers”, but as friends. Since he himself had been a farmer

before becoming an entrepreneur, he was able to understand the customers and their needs in a better way: they were also friends and acquaintances he knew very well. Right from the very start, Bernardo Volatile learned and applied the principles of marketing to his enterprise: the customer first and foremost. The success he obtained testifies to his constant commitment towards his customers. In 1999, Volatile Bernardo changed from one-man business to partnership, i.e. Volatile Bernardo snc. The new enterprise was run by founder Bernardo, by his wife Anna and by their sons Francesco and Salvatore, who continued the work begun by their parents and developed it to a further extent. Amongst other brands, the enterprise is now a dealer for Laverda, Landini, McCormick and Valpadana, and has just started marketing the products of Neuson, a company that manufactures earthmovers, especially excavators and compact loaders. Volatile Bernardo snc continues to be innovative and keeps a watchful eye on the changing market trends. But now, the third generation is beginning to start work for the company with Bernardo Andrea Volatile, who has brought fresh ideas along with him thanks to his business economy studies. Young Bernardo Andrea is starting to adapt the company to an environment and a sector that are now developing at an incredible pace.

The largest island in the Mediterranean, where agriculture is a vital resource Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean as well as being the most extensive and southern region of Italy. The Strait of Messina, less than 3 kilometres wide, separates it from the Italian peninsula, and the Sicilian Channel from Africa, from which it is about 140 kilometres away. The island covers an area of 25,710 square kilometres and, at the end of 2006, had a population of 5,020,000 inhabitants, i.e. 195 per square kilometre. Agriculture is one of the most important economic resources of the region. About 650 thousand hectares are dedicated to seed planting and 400 thousand to permanent crops. There is a very large production of grain crops, amongst which wheat, especially the high quality durum variety that’s essential for making the best quality pasta, something that made Sicily important for the Romans (the island was called the granary of Rome). Olives are also grown in abundance and assure an excellent production of oil. One of the more typical fruits is the persimmon, while the cultivation of citrus fruits is very well known, with oranges, lemons and mandarins as well as clementines, bergamots, limes and grapefruit of an excellent quality. Prickly pears and carobs are not lacking. Vegetables are also grown to a great extent and have conquered an increasing number of markets since the Sixties by virtue of greenhouse cultivation, which is especially widespread in the south-east area. The famous Pachino tomatoes are well known and much appreciated everywhere, as are the artichokes. But Sicily is also famous for its delicious nuts, including the extremely high quality almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios. The intensive cultivation of species that were once exotic, such as kiwi fruit and mangoes or even bananas, has also become important thanks to Sicily’s mild climate. The traditional cultivation of grapes allows Sicily to produce excellent liqueur wines with a high alcoholic strength. The greenhouse cultivation of flowers is strongly developing towards the European markets.

The products by Simonetta Lambrocco

Lots more visits to the combines at Fieragricola A great deal of interest in Verona for the M 306 Sp combine with its 7.60 bar as well as the new AL Quattro and for the Lcs 255, just back from the European tour Laverda exhibited an M 306 Special Power combine with a 7.60 metre mowing bar in the Argo booth at Verona’s Fieragricola trade fair, as well as the new AL Quattro. An Lcs 255 with a 6 metre bar was also on show in an area dedicated to exhibitors who had taken part in the Fieragricola Europe Tour (a travelling fair through Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italia, in which Laverda took part with its importers) last September. The fair attracted a much larger public than was expected, with as many as 140,000 visitors (4% more than 2006), considering that the world’s most important manufacturers had already presented their innovations at Hanover’s Agritechnica in November. There were 1,230 exhibitors (5.6% more than 2006) of which 210 were foreign from 24 different countries. Laverda also received a significant number of Italian and foreign visitors. The next international fair at which Laverda will be on show with its products will be Eima International, which will take place from 12 to 16 November 2008. At the very top of the Laverda range, the M 306 Sp Ls 4wd combine stands out for its productivity, comfort and reliability features. Part of the standard equipment includes the exclusive “Laverda Special Power” Gsax, Ground Self Alignment Extra system, which maintains a uniform cut in even the most difficult harvesting conditions. The electronic control increases the sensitivity and response provided by the system, which then adapts the cutting table to the ground in the longitudinal and lateral directions in a fully automatic way, maintaining both an even cutting height and ensuring that the cutting table exercises a uniform pressure on the ground. There are two automatic adjustments: from 50 to 200 mm for short-stemmed crops or alternatively, from 100 to 500 mm for taller ones. The generously sized Easy Reverse bearing skids installed under the bar provide the utmost in reliability as they ensure precise commands and easy manoeuvres even in reverse. A standard electric connector makes the controls even more reliable and makes the cutting table easier to hitch to the machine. PFR, Prepare and Feeding Roller. Equipped with oversized fingers that convey the crop to the elevator housing in an even smoother and more efficient way, this system ensures a regular threshing action plus fade-free efficiency from the combine, less power input, lower fuel consumption and longer lasting transmissions; Mcs Plus, Multi Crop Separator Plus. This device subjects the crop to a forced action that separates the grain from the straw before this reaches the straw-walkers. It can be simply deactivated by means of an electric switch if the crop is particularly delicate, with brittle straw. Integration of the Rev module increases the separation area by 20% and consequently widens the winding angle to 120°. The performance is boosted to an even higher degree thanks to all this plus use of the straw-walkers along their entire length. Laverda’s drum, with its eight beating bars and eight ballast bars, ensures excellent crop threshing with total respect for the quality of the straw and grain. The independent electrical regulating system in the front and rear of the concave allows the combine to quickly and perfectly adapt to different types of crop in all conditions. The M 306 Special Power combine features a Tier III type-approved 246/335 kW/HP CITIUS 8.4 CTA 4V, SISU Diesel green engine with Common Rail fuelling system. Laverda’s 255 Lcs combine harvester is in the medium-high market

bracket. Distinctive features are its productivity, the quality of the crop processed and rationalized running costs. Fuel consumption is low, servicing work easy to carry out, while the crop is treated with the utmost delicacy in all the harvesting and threshing phases. Complete with Gsax, Pfr and Mcs Plus as part of the standard equipment, 255 Lcs sports a 7,000 litre grain tank. The 255 Lcs combine features a Tier III type-approved 180/245 kW/ HP Iveco engine with Common Rail fuelling system. The capacity of the fuel tank is 450 litres. Simple servicing operations, a feature that speeds up the time it takes to do the jobs, are ensured thanks to the generously sized side doors which allow convenient access to the transmissions, internal components and the rotating filter with fast release mechanism that enables the radiators and other components, such as the air conditioning system, to be reached with ease. And when it comes to comfort, the 255 Lcs has lots to offer thanks to the exclusive Profi Cab, designed to satisfy the operator’s requirements in the best possible way thanks to its rational controls and ergonomics. The cab is easy and safe to access thanks to the sturdy steps and large door. Total control and management of the machine are assured by the Agritronic Plus computer and by the exclusive joystick. Generously sized windows provide excellent visibility. Besides the automatic air conditioner, the Profi Cab includes the comfortable seat with pneumatic suspensions as part of the standard equipment and can be fitted with accessories, like the portable fridge, the radio and CD player, camera with colour display and Gps satellite system. Thanks to the generous supply of lights, the combine can work at night with excellent visibility, for as long as the harvesting conditions allow.

Fella and haymaking, an idea that dates back 90 years The Bavarian enterprise, now controlled by Laverda, first started work in1917 Fella, the German enterprise in the Laverda Group that’s specialized in the production of haymaking machines, is 90 years of age and on 26 July in Feucht, Bavaria, it will be celebrating its jubilee by opening the factory to the public for guided visits, demos of machines at work and occasions for convivial hospitality. Fella Werke has belonged to the Morra family, owner of the Argo group, since 2004. Now in its third entrepreneurial generation, the family has become specialized in the production of machines for the agricultural sector and, with Argo, established an industrial group that includes historic and prestigious brands, amongst which special mention should be made of Laverda, a leader in the field of combine harvesters, as well as Landini and McCormick, leading tractor manufacturers. Fella is now fully controlled by Laverda in the Group. The German undertaking was established in far-off 1917, when the director general of Isaria, the meter factory of Munich, decided to set up a company that produced harrows. The history of Fella Werke began at that precise moment in Feucht. The enterprise was officially established in February 1918, with the name of Bayerische Eggenfabrik AG, Feucht. The name Fella only appeared later and probably originated from the Egyptian work “Fellache”, which means farm-worker, farmer. Under the guidance of the first director, Albert Löffler, the harrow factory widened its production range to include ploughs, in 1924. In 1931, the Epple & Buxmann plants of Augusta were acquired. This marked a decisive step in the harvesting machine sector. The year after, the company began manufacturing reaper-binders for harvesting grain crops, a milestone in Fella’s development process. It was 1953 when Fella launched the conditioner with driveline control, a forerunner of the present-day “Fella-effective-Conditioner”, the innovation awarded the bronze medal by DLG, the German Agricultural Association. The following year, the company presented Jupiter, the selfpowered combine-harvester for threshing and harvesting grain crops. Fella has specialized in haymaking machines since 1980. There was another important step forward in 1997 when Fella organized its business in a completely new way, i.e. with four self-controlled factories within one plant. Each of these is responsible for itself and its employees but manufactures in compliance with the management’s guidelines. This allowed Fella to win the Best Factory Award in 1999. Fella Werke’s unexpected sale to the Dutch group Netacgo by the then proprietor Peter K. Timmermann, came about that very same year. This led to investments in the factories. A large new building measuring 3.200 square metres and dedicated to assembly work was erected, as was a modern block with offices and classrooms for training purposes. The new assistance and parts service centre was created in 2003 and the next year marked the beginning of Fella’s new era with the Argo Group. Thomas Beckert

Argo informs

Gruppo Industriale ARGO

The Argo Tractors plants operate at full rate The Argo Group recently attained a first important goal: optimised production efficiency. A reorganisation process has concentrated the production of Landini and McCormick tractors in Italy. Thanks to this, the production lines in all the Italian plants soon began operating at full rate, the aim being to supply the market with the machines of both brands at even more competitive prices. After a 2000 square metre enlargement for the parts store and quality control offices, Fabbrico’s two assembly lines now produce open field tractors in the 60 to 220 HP categories. A new line has been created for the 6-cylinder tractors and has already started producing the new series of McCormick tractors, i.e. Xtx and Ttx. The coating system is also new and functions with a water-borne paint cycle. Vineyard and orchard tractors are manufactured in Luzzara, crawler tractors in San Martino in Rio as well as wheeled tractors in categories up to 80 HP.

Hanover, Landini’s Rex 85 S takes the stand Landini’s Rex 85 S wins the challenge between rows. The 82 HP narrow orchard tractor from the Fabbrico plant won the “Best of Specialized” prize at Tractor of the Year 2008, the competition during which a jury formed by journalists from the specialized press from all over Europe awards the best tractors of the year. First choice in the challenge amongst four finalists, Rex 85 S was considered the tractor most able to comply with the requirements of specialized agriculture not only for its technical specifications, but because it proved to be incredibly agile between the narrowly spaced crop rows in orchards. A feature due to its limited width, from 1,213 to 1,313 millimetres, depending on the tyres used, the wide steering angle and rounded bonnet shape, which allow the vehicle to move and manoeuvre amongst the plants with no difficulty whatsoever.

The markets

by Simonetta Lambrocco

Mechanized farming gains popularity in Bulgaria Laverda holds a 15% portion of the market, with the M Series in pride of place If compared with other countries, mechanized farming is significantly in delay in Bulgaria, both as to numbers and quality. In 2001, the statistics pointed to 70 HP per 100 hectares of cultivated land as compared to the 200300 average in the European Union. Only about 20% of the combine-harvesters were less than 10 years old, while 15-18% were worn out and depreciated each year. Despite the significant incentive promoted by the Sapard program for modernizing the farm machinery, further investments are needed in the harvesting sector. During recent years, the market for farm machinery in Bulgaria has been very unstable and it is not easy to make forecasts owing to the grants that the European Union has guaranteed for investments in agriculture (i.e. the Sapard program) and the insolvent condition of many farms. As a whole, the sales of machines have grown but have oscillated, depending on the grants issued each year. Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007 and therefore benefits from the procedures of the community farming policy. In this country, the agricultural sector wishes to quit its niche role and Laverda is increasing its business there. It has now acquired a 15% portion of the market, where it works through its Bulgarian importer, Opticom Ltd, which has its headquarters in Stara Zagora, in the heart of the country, and through nine dealers scattered throughout the land. Situated in the south-east of Europe, Bulgaria is a limited market as to territory (110,910 square km) and population (7.56 million inhabitants). About thirty percent of the total area (3,296,800 hectares) is arable (information dating back to 2004). But large portions of the territory are far from the towns. The rural areas have sustained the greatest decline in birth rates, possess a more poorly educated work force and suffer higher unemployment rates that the urban areas. Land redistribution has created significant fragmentation when it comes to ownership. The average size of the plots is 0.6 hectares. The property law was amended in 2007 and now allows a more rational use of the land. The development of the land renting market, using standardized properties and areas, has helped to stop the real estate from being broken up. 79% of the total usable farmlands was rented in 2003 by agricultural holding companies. A good 50% of the land owned by physical persons is now rented. The cooperatives and the farmers’ and breeders’ associations have actually ceded 93%. During recent years, various investment funds in the farming estate

sector have increased the synergies. In 2003, there were actually 665,500 agricultural holding companies in Bulgaria. Bulgarian agriculture produced 7% of the GDP in 2006, a percentage which dropped to 5.1% in 2007. The cultivation of grain crops (wheat, corn, maize, barley) reached 58% in the arable area, oily seeds (sunflower and rape) 20% and vegetables 5%. The most important permanent crop is the vine, widespread over about 62% of the total cultivated land. Opticom Ltd, Laverda’s importer, was established in 1991 by eight partners and mainly dealt with importing and distributing spare parts for tractors, combine harvesters and implements. Ten years ago, Opticom began remarkably successful business dealings with Landini for importing tractors: the Landini brand was totally unknown in the country but now holds 19% of the market. The family of brands imported and sold in Bulgaria by Opticom also includes Fella and Sigma4. Laverda named Opticom as its official dealer in 2002 and since them, a lot of work has been done together in order to achieve the current 15% portion of the market, mostly due to the sale of the M Series, in the top bracket segment. The owners of the company work there along with 34 employees, all in direct contact with the customers and committed towards offering the Bulgarian farmers the machinery most suited to their needs. Opticom also provides an advisory service, financial services, delivery and after-sales services, and spare parts. In the majority of cases, Opticom supplies the end customer with a complete package of machinery and services. By working with a single, trustworthy supplier that guarantees

a reliable service, it is easier for the farmers to deal with the complicated intricacies of the various financial aid schemes thanks to the Sapard grants or the structural funds provided by the European Union. To supply the customers with prompt assistance, Opticom uses a fleet of eight mobile Service units that provide regular interventions, deliver spare parts and lubricants and repair components. For Opticom, the work carried out by the Service team is of fundamental importance when it comes to acquiring new customers. This is why it regularly holds refresher courses for its already trained and qualified personnel. Aneliya Kaneva

A. Kaneva, Opticom’s sales manager, and the Service team.

The M 306 combines, great “kings” of Spain The Spanish customers are particularly fond of the M 306 Sp Ls 4wd, the leader of its category If one observes the evolution of the 2007-2008 campaign, one can only confirm Laverda’s continual growth in the Spanish market, where its standing has become gradually stronger and its prestige increased in a sector so professional and competitive as that of combine harvesters. It seems only yesterday that the corporate management assigned me the important task of shedding new lustre on Laverda’s name and brand in Spain. Although, at that time, Laverda could boast the good taste of tradition with the M 132 and 152 models, on the other, the market had been sporting other colours over the past ten years that not everyone knew how to interpret. Laverda’s autonomous image, re-acquired when the Breganze company decided to step out on its own and make up for its handicap, certainly represented one of its most competitive factors. We’ve now been working day after day with Laverda for more than nine campaigns. When we analyse our work, the fact that we are able to share such gratifying and promising results with our customers, dealers and especially with the colleagues in my team, not so much in Spain as in the parent company, fills me with satisfaction. One of the principal protagonists of our evolution, about which I would

like to express a very special mention, is the star of our market, the M Series and particularly the M 306 Sp Ls 4wd model, our customers’ idol and the king of our results. We have sold more than 70 M Series machines in different versions and models, but our most popular model achieved 80% of the results in the last campaign and confirmed itself as the leader of its category. After having spoken with the users and ascertained, with open-field trials, how all the sales patter declaimed during the negotiations was actually true, I can understand the level of appreciation and satisfaction expressed by all our customers. I believe that this is a very fertile ground that will allow us to continue to grow and obtain good results in the future campaigns. Another mainstay on which our growth is based is the excellent level achieved in our after sales service, which is an extremely efficacious part of our work. There’s no doubt about it, our success would have certainly been impossible without all the highly professional work done “back-stage” by our assistance staff. Many of our customers congratulate me about this when I meet them by chance or during the trade fairs. Andres Moradas Lopez

Greece, Laverda on show at Salonika with Giannakoulas Bros Last February, Laverda, represented by Giannakoulas Bros, exhibited its products in Salonika during the 22nd biennial Agrotica fair, a big event dedicated to promoting the development of agriculture, as well as the technologies, machines and implements used in the sector. Laverda has been doing business with the company owned by the Giannakoulas brothers for years, since 2001 to be precise, when the enterprise became Laverda’s main importer in Greece. Giannakoulas Bros was founded in 1978 by the two brothers, Kostantinos and George

Giannakoulas. The company immediately began trading second-hand tractors and combine harvesters imported from Europe. Ten years later, owners of a company that had become a reference point for secondhand machines, the Giannakoulas brothers built their current headquarters (4000 square metres) in the city of Thessaloniki, Salonika, in the north of Greece. The company now employs fifteen persons including salespeople, engineers, storekeepers and office staff. As Laverda’s main importer in Greece, Giannakoulas Bros counts on a complete network

of dealers and Service staff available in every town in the country. Moreover, a task force formed by ten expert engineers keeps the combines monitored during the harvesting season. Giannakoulas Bros takes part in intensive promotional and business activities. They never miss the trade fairs dedicated to the sector and conduct training courses and trade fairs dealing with agricultural machinery. The company is also an exclusive representative of other brands of agricultural machinery and is now one of the leading enterprises in its particular sector in Greece.


Russia, Investa Agro, Investa Finance and Laverda: protagonists at Krasnodar Expo Russia offers the biggest chances of development for harvesting machines YugAgro, the 14th international forum dedicated to the agro-industrial sector took place from 20 to 23 November 2007 at the Krasnodar Expo Exhibition Centre. As main sponsors for the third year running, Investa Agro, Investa Finance and Laverda, the Italian combine harvester manufacturer, welcomed and informed the visitors. These latter were thus able to obtain first-hand details about the Italian company Laverda, the Argentinian Crucianelli, the Brazilian Montana and the German company Fella. But the thing that aroused the greatest interest amongst the landowners and farmers was Laverda’s 296 Lcs combine. The visitors were able to examine the model in full, and analysed its characteristics and qualitative differences in relation to the competitors’ products. Laverda’s consultants answered lots of interesting queries posed by the public. Many people climbed into the cab so as to personally ascertain the level of comfort that Laverda’s machines offer to the operators as they work in the fields. Andrea Ugatti, Laverda’s export manager, took part in the event. “Russia,” declared Ugatti, “represents one of the biggest prospects for development in our sector”.

Andrea Ugatti, Laverda’s export manager, with Gianni Fontana at the Krasnodar Fair.

Yugagro, the most important fair of the southern regions The Krasnodar Expo Exhibition Centre has been organizing trade fairs since 1995. Over the past 11 years, it has acquired a great deal of experience when it comes to organizing fairs on a regional, national and international scale, as well as conferences and seminars. It is the largest conference and exhibition centre in Russia as it covers an area amounting to 37,300 square metres, and organizes events that are extremely important for the economy of the region. Amongst these, one of the chief fairs is Yugagro, the most popular agricultural event in southern Russia. “The majority of the visitors to Yugagro are our customers,” explains Evgeniy Chercasov, the sales manager of «Investa Finance», Laverda’s dealer for the Krasnodar region and for the Republic of Adygheya. “For us, this is one of the forum’s main values. Moreover, I know that many of the most important agricultural enterprises prefer YugAgro, as they consider it an excellent venue for meeting and getting to know new customers”.


Aleksandrovich wins at the wheel of a Laverda combine Hard-fought threshing contests in the Krasnodar region Threshing contests are traditionally held between districts in the region of Krasnodar. During these competitions, the combine operator who threshes the largest amount of crop in the shortest time is proclaimed the winner. The performance achieved in each area is widely reported by the local press, thus the participants are able to keep themselves informed about the results obtained by their rivals, while the spectators can carefully evaluate the feats achieved by the competing machines. This year, the winner of the Kurganinsk area was Borschev Gennady Aleksandrovich, who agreed to share the secrets of his success with us. Gennady Aleksandrovich, where do you work? “I work for JSC Kavkaz, a modern agricultural enterprise that was founded in 1992 as a collective farm. It covers eight-thousand hectares used for cultivating wheat and fruit trees: winter wheat is cultivated on 55% of the land while vegetal crops are grown on the remaining 45%”. In your opinion, which have been the factors that have allowed such excellent results to be achieved? “First and foremost, a long-term practice, a correct use of the work hours and highly efficient technical solutions. For instance, the grain tank is discharged on the move, without having to stop the combine, thus saving a great deal of time”.

Which sort of combine harvesters are used by JSC Kavkaz? “We use the combine harvesters of the Italian company, Laverda. Their technical solutions are more economical, “comfortable” and provide a better performance than those of the machines produced in Russia. Thanks to the use of Laverda combines, we only need 15 operators to reap a harvest of eight-thousand hectares. Laverda’s machines thresh fast and, more importantly, produce a quality crop. This means that there’s no waste. Moreover, these machines only need an average 5-6 litres of fuel per harvested hectare, something that’s decidedly below the consumption of the other combines”.

ly, because these machines have never broken down since we’ve been using them”. How many combines do you have on the farm? “At the present time, there are five of Laverda’s 2860 Lxe combines and we plan to completely replace the Russian combines with other Laverda machines”. Gennady Aleksandrovich, thanks for your courtesy and for your love of the land. Elena Korovkina The champion after his victorious performance.

You mentioned “comfortable” technical solutions. What did you mean? “Laverda’s combines are not just efficient at work. They’re also simple to manoeuvre and operate. You can create the ideal work environment in the cab, which is well insulated from outside noise and has an air conditioner. To tell the truth, I suffered from the heat last summer but only after I’d finished my harvesting work”. Everyone knows that imported spare parts for combine harvesters are more expensive than the ones for machines produced on the domestic market. Have you noticed this difference in price? “No, because in the first place, Laverda’s combines are guaranteed for one year and second-

Extremely good quality soil and a favourable climate make Krasnodar an ideal place for crop growing The region of Krasnodar is the southernmost region of Russia. It covers about 76 thousand square kilometres, equal to 0.4% of Russia’s overall territory. The size of this region can be compared to that of European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Ireland, while it is larger than Switzerland and Belgium or Denmark and Holland as a whole. Krasnodar is situated at the same latitude as northern Italy and the south of France. Thanks to its extremely high quality soil and blessed by a favourable climate, the region of Krasnodar has always been the most im-

portant granary of the Russian federation and accounts for 3% of all the cultivated land in Russia. It is also the seat of the only Russian university specialized in agriculture. The region produces approximately 6% of the meat and dairy products, 10% of all the Russian wheat, supplies 30% of the fruit production, 60% of the oily seeds, 90% of the rice crop and 97% of the wine production. It is always amongst the main producers for all the agricultural indicators and often heads the classification. The importance of this region from an agricultural aspect only really became apparent

after the Soviet Union had been broken up and strongly agricultural regions, particularly Ukraine and Kazakhstan, had consequently been “expatriated”. However, it did not sustain a rapid agricultural development during those years. Nowadays, 300 of Laverda’s combine harvesters operate in the region of Krasnodar. In actual fact, as compared to the other brands, Laverda’s combines are proving to be much more remunerative and the Russian farmers are extremely satisfied with the technology, performance and productivity they offer.


The events

The German manufacturers are guests at Breganze VDMA called the board of directors to the “reds” factory Laverda recently hosted the board of directors of VDMA Landtechnik, Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau Landtechnik, (Association of German Manufacturers of Machines and Systems, Agricultural Techniques) at Breganze. In short, this is the organisation that in Germany, corresponds to our UNACOMA (Union of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers). Hermann Merschroth, chairman of the association and managing director of Fendt, chairman of Agco GmbH and member of Laverda’s board of directors had promoted the occasion. Well acquainted with our company and in agreement with the director general and with Angelo Benedetti, also a delegate of the VDMA board, Merschroth suggested that the next meeting be held in the Laverda plant. The proposal met with everyone’s approval thus, on 11 and 12 March, Laverda became the setting, but also partly the protagonist of the summit meeting, of which it dealt with the entire organization, from logistics to hospitality. After a presentation in which Laverda illustrated its past history and present-day goals, the delegates were taken for a visit to the production plant where they were able to appreciate the efficient and perfect way the work was organized. The action will certainly do a lot to promote

our enterprise with the main stakeholders of the sector in Germany, as the delegates expressed their unanimous appreciation for the extremely worthy Italian company that is Laverda. By virtue of this successful venue, the German H.A.G., Hauptarbeitsgemeinschaft des Landmaschinen- Handels und –Handwerks (Ex-

ecutive Association of Agricultural Machinery Trading and Artisanship), asked us to host its board meeting. Hospitality that was certainly not denied. So much so, that the delegation visited Laverda on Friday 4 April. Here again, the outcome was extremely positive. Simonetta Lambrocco

Open-house, Laverda presents itself to the public Red combines on tour amongst the Italian fairs. And the appointment at Eima International is scheduled for November An intensive spring at Breganze, just before the harvesting season is about to open. Open-house. The Open-House day will take place on Sunday 8 June 2008. This year, it will also involve certain of the neighbouring boroughs and, as usual, will include the participation of Laverda. The venue will open on Sunday morning at 9.30 a.m. but the event will have already got off to a start on Friday 6 June with a conference dedicated to the subject of school and work. Open-House day always arouses a great deal of interest in and around Breganze because it allows everyone to visit the most interesting production plants in the area. All this is very stimulating for Laverda, as everyone desires to present the company at its best and to show

their fellow citizens, particularly the young people, its standing in the area: the Laverda plant represents excellence when it comes to the agricultural machinery manufacturing sector and is also a sure-fire reference point as regards future opportunities for the youngsters. The “reds” tour around Italy. The red combines of Breganze have been exhibited in lots of local and national fairs. In April, for example, they were protagonists in many different Italian localities. Caputo Macchine Agricole presented a Laverda 255 Lcs Levelling System Integrale at the Fair of Gravina in Puglia (Bari) from 23 to 27 April 2008 while from 24 to 27 April 2008, Ciampi Macchine Agricole exhibited a Laverda AL Quattro during the 47th National Fair of Agriculture in Lancia-

no (Chieti). Last but not least, Mozzetti Mario Macchine Agricole exhibited an AL Quattro from 24 to 27 April 2008 during the Madonnino fair in the Braccagni locality, Grosseto, in the Maremma Fiere area. Eima International. Meanwhile, the prospect is already that of organizing Laverda’s participation in Eima International, the leading trade fair held in autumn, in the very best possible way. This year, Eima will be held from 12 to 16 November. Laverda and the entire Argo Group are already looking forward to welcoming visitors to the Bologna fair: it will be the chance to draw the conclusions about the 2008 campaign and to present the guidelines for the 2009 products and strategies.


The services

“Warranty System”, better protected customers via the Internet In force since 2006, the system allows claims to be dealt with quickly and the performance of the individual products to be monitored in real time At the beginning of 2006, Laverda had already provided its network of importers, concessionaires and dealers with a system for handling claims under guarantee via the Internet. The “Warranty System”, created through research conducted by the Argo Group, was adapted to suit Laverda’s requirements and the requests from business partners particularly dedicated to the combine harvester product. Warranty management via the Internet speeds up the process, from the time the claim is entered through to its analysis, possible approval and reimbursement if applicable. It also allows information and images to be immediately exchanged between the dealer and technical inspector. But that’s not all. “Warranty System” interfaces with Laverda’s management system thanks to which the information in the price lists, about the contractual conditions and, naturally, about the machines, is updated

on a daily basis. During the initial phase, Laverda’s business partner can enter his own customer database, which will then be updated when the machines are registered as having been set at work (in the fields). This is the date from which the warranty period runs. The system is now ready to receive any claims that may be lodged. By simply entering the chassis number of the machine in question, the dealer can automatically obtain all the data concerning this latter and the end customer. The Laverda dealer can then enter the list of replaced parts. These are automatically entered into the accounts according to the price list in force on the date the machine is repaired. The manpower is treated in the same way and is quantified depending on the interventions that have been carried out and the time required to do them, estimated according to

Laverda’s experience in relation to the different combine harvester models. Once the input operation has terminated, “Warranty System” checks all the data concerning the machine and the replaced parts, eliminating any typing errors or repetitions. The warranty manager is notified of any accidental mistakes in the claims. The claims are then analysed by the area manager and, if approved under guarantee, are automatically forwarded to the administrative service so that the relative credit note can be issued. Another advantage for Laverda’s sales network is that the claim and credit note situation can be checked in real time in a very simple way, thanks to the “Warranty System” web interface. Moreover, “Warranty System” allows data to be extrapolated for statistical purposes and ensures that the performance of the products is constantly monitored.

Flaviano Novello, the expert who monitors the warranties: «Our quality continues to grow» Flaviano Novello is carrying on a family tradition as he started work for Laverda in 1983, when his father Andrea still worked in the press department. Initially, he was employed in the production departments for several years, but in 1994 Flaviano became part of the team dedicated to technical assistance for the machines. He mainly worked in Italy and other European countries until 2000, where he acquired a rich store of experience that allowed him to contribute towards the technical literature describing how to service and repair the machines. Since the end of 2000, he has been dealing with warranties, for which he calculates the costs and compiles statistics. Besides all this, he also writes assembly instructions for the kits applied to the machines and makes times and motions assessments. This means that he is also involved in the workshop, where he monitors the time it takes to carry out the warranty work. These tests are used to form a table in which Flaviano lists the time calculations

and estimates the consequent reimbursements when the repairs are actually recognized as being covered by the warranty. “I’m satisfied,” says Flaviano, “because by comparing the statistics, I see that the quality of our products is getting better and better. My wishes for the future? That Laverda continues in this way!” Simonetta Lambrocco

AL Rev, the new arrival in the self-levelling combine range.


The album

From steam to the new electric power 1902, and the Breganze industry begins to switch to electric power May 1902: in a letter sent to the Belloni company of Milan, Pietro Laverda decided to purchase an alternator and three electric motors. This paved the way for a new phase of development for his artisan’s workshop, which was fast becoming an industry at a national level. Certainly, the mechanic’s first years of work must have been really hard: the little workshop he’d installed in the house where he had been born, amongst the hills of San Giorgio, was without any form of driving power. Drills, saws and planes were all operated by hand with a great deal of effort and evident limits when it came to production. He had to resort to the better outfitted workshops of Vicenza or Verona for all the more complicated processes. It was only at the end of the ‘80’s of the 19th century, after he had moved and started up the new workshop in Breganze, that Pietro, satisfied with his good business trend, decided to purchase a steam locomobile to drive his machine tools. At that time, this was the most widespread energy source in places without the hydraulic energy provided by rivers or canals which, for centuries, had driven mills, saw-mills and power hammers. A remarkable investment was required, thus Pietro entered into a partnership with another two artisans, Giovanni Tapparello and Girolamo Guerra, who had already worked with him on huskers and threshing machines. They actually purchased two machines from the Tobias Geisler company of Vicenza, which also conducted periodical overhauls, in the September of 1893 for the considerable sum of 3390 lira. The steam machine, which was fuelled with coal, transmitted power to the machine tools installed in different departments by means of a belt and pulley system. But it was at the dawn of the new century that people, even in Breganze, started to toy with the idea of using electric energy to

operate their machines. One of Pietro’s sons, Francesco, an extremely intelligent man, decided to put his mind to the matter. He went to Milan and frequented the Edison plant, where he became an expert electromechanic. Thus it was that in 1902, the Laverda factory began to switch to electric power. The nearest energy source to Breganze was the Mordini canal, an important hydraulic engineering work that used the waters of the river Astico. Completed in 1864, there were already a large number of mainly textile factories along its banks, that were making direct use of its hydraulic power. Pietro Laverda obtained a concession and installed a paddle wheel that operated a 50 HP 2000 Volt alternator. The place was about three kilometres from the plant, so they had to lay a medium voltage electricity line and use a transformer to obtain 200 Volts for powering motors and for lighting purposes. It took almost a year for all the equipment to be installed and tested. A short while later, electric motors took over from the locomobiles for powering the processing lines. As the good business-man he was, Pietro decided to sell the surplus energy he produced and therefore established a new company called “Pietro Laverda e Figli”, which produced electric energy and distributed it in the borough of Breganze and in the neighbouring areas. Many of the industries in the area soon connected to the network, as did religious institutes and stately homes. The boroughs also began to install a public lighting network. The demand grew rapidly, so much so, that the small hydroelectric power station no longer produced enough and a few years later, they had to purchase energy from the Guarnieri enterprise of Bassano, which worked on the river Brenta, with much more powerful systems. Use of the “new electric power”, as it was called in the correspond-

ence, was a fundamental step forwards for the industrial ambitions of the Laverda family when it came to technology and production. Thus it was widely publicized, as testified by the numerous letters that Pietro sent to his principal customers and the conspicuous captions on his headed paper. This is what Pietro wrote to an important customer: “Please note that my production rate has increased as we use electric energy, thus the articles are manufactured beforehand, in a more convenient way and with a better outcome”. Meanwhile, Pietro’s son Francesco studied how electricity could be applied in various different fields. He designed a low-energy electromagnetic coil that he applied to the sound of bells to build chimes

Francesco Laverda sr. (1880-1923), son of Pietro Laverda and a pioneer of electromechanical applications in the Vicenza area.


for twenty bells in Breganze’s bell-tower. He engineered and applied electrical systems to spinning-mills, dairies and flour mills. Even some of the agricultural machines produced by Laverda, mainly corn huskers, were provided with motors. However, the serious health problems that afflicted the young Francesco were soon to deprive his family and the industrial sector of Vicenza of a highly valid technical contribution that could have paved the way to great chances for development. The enterprise that produced electricity sustained further important developments during the Great War, when Breganze became one of the important centres for the Italian army’s supply lines, with lots of maintenance workshops and even a factory that produced telephone and telegraph equipment. Once the war had ended, the work involved in managing the electricity main became too complicated, especially as electricity was becoming increasingly more popular for civil uses as well. So much so, Laverda first sub-contracted the enterprise to two local technicians and then, in 1919, transferred the company to Guarnieri of Bassano and definitively concentrated on the production of agricultural machines. It was the conclusion of a pioneering experience whereby a little town in the countryside of the Vicenza area was actually in advance of the modern technological and production trends. Piergiorgio Laverda

Top: the Mordini canal with the Sarcedo locks. Laverda’s electric generating plant was installed in the little building on the right, along the bank. Top right: a rare photo of the Laverda workshop in 1910, clearly showing the belt and pulley transmission system that drove the machine tools. Right: headed notepaper of Società Elettrica Laverda and the Workshop for electrically powered Agricultural Machines. Lastly, a mass-produced corn husker driven by an electric motor from the 1911 catalogue.


The history, the stories

The cherry, ambassador of a region Similarly to other niche products (asparagus, oil, red corn), it introduces the Venetian foothills to the world The foothills of the Veneto region are the cradle of excellent quality farming practices that are steeped in history. Here, where the brilliant work of the Laverda family paved the way, in Breganze, towards mechanized harvesting, crops have always played a privileged role. But this is not only true of the more widespread varieties, the huge expanses of grain crops or the vine-growing tradition, which still involves every family as it did centuries ago. The farming culture of this area has always cared for prestigious niche products as well. For instance, these include white asparagus, especially around Bassano del Grappa and the neighbouring areas, the Marano red corn or the olive oil, which has always been produced amongst the foothills that lead from Bassano towards Marostica, Breganze and the Alto Vicentino area. But perhaps the product which, more than any other, brings the suggestion of this territory to mind, the one that adorns the entire hillside area with an explosion of delicate, snowy-white blossoms in the spring, is the cherry. Moreover, it has always represented a form of income for the farmers, whose passion has turned it into a highly sought-after product. The cherry “reigns” over all the hills, but the place in which its image has been nurtured to the greatest extent is undoubtedly Marostica, from which it also takes its name. Marostica cherries (they are even mentioned in a document dating back to the 15th century) have now acquired the PGI mark (Protected geographical Indication). According to the production regulations, they can only be grown in a very few boroughs: Marostica, Breganze, Mason Vicentino, Molvena, Pianezze, Bassano del Grappa (only the area on the right side of the river Brenta), Breganze, Salcedo, Fara Vicentino and part of Schiavon. The cherry “exchange” was established half a century ago in Mason Vicentino and collected almost the entire production of the hillside area. The Consortium was founded

in 1957 and still harvests and distributes the fruit cultivated on approximately 400 hectares of rich and fertile hillside ground, which produces sweet, heart-shaped cherries. The principal cherry festivals are held between May and June. The more important ones take place in Pianezze for the “Sandra” variety, in Marostica where the event is on a provincial scale (here the “Morello” cherries and red and yellow “Marostegane” varieties hold sway) and in Mason Vicentino, where the cycle draws to a close with the “late” cherries. It’s also thanks to the Marostica cherry that the place has consolidated its image in the world of Medieval villages, much appreciated by tourists owing to another speciality, rich in folklore this time. It’s the Chess game with living pawns, held once every two years. This year, it’s scheduled for September (from 12 to 14), a magnificent spectacle in Renaissance costumes with 550 personages,

Laverda S.p.A. via F. Laverda, 15/17 - 36042 Breganze [VI] Italy t. +39.0445.385311 f. +39.0445.873355

repeated several times before grandstands crowded with over four-thousand spectators. The Chess game and the cherries, nurtured, with their events, for over eighty years by the enthusiasm and commitment of the people of Marostica, have turned this town into a gem of the image of that lovely Italy it’s worthwhile getting to know.

This journal is printed on fully recycled paper, in the utmost respect for the environment.


The Laverda Group’s turnover topped 150 million in 2007, also thanks to a strategic agreement reached with Agco The sales manager for Italy...