Talking about the generations

Sixty four years ago Herb Cochrane founded a business that has kept Canterbury's farmers working.

Cochranes of Canterbury is a farm machinery specialist stocking leading brands backed by technical support and an expert parts and service department.  

Family owned and operated from the beginning, it serves the Upper South Island between Blenheim and Palmerston, and across to the West Coast.

The third generation of the Cochrane family is now managing the company, with Herb's grandson James Cochrane, as Sales Manager, and his brother-in-law Chris West as General Manager.

In the background, the second generation is still keeping a watchful eye on the business with Bruce and Warren Cochrane involved in sales and warranties.

When asked about the secret of success James Cochrane responded with the common sense of a good business that looks after its customers very well.

"First of all, it's a result of all the hard work over the generations but also getting on with people and treating them the way you would want to be treated," he says.

"We believe in giving the best service, whether it's selling a piece of machinery, maintaining it or supporting our customers in any way we can.  We believe in being partners with farmers and their farms whether it's arable, dairy, beef, horticulture or viticulture."

It's what you would expect to hear from a family company that tries to be as close to its customers as possible, and offers a huge range of equipment, for different jobs, from companies like Case IH, Robertson, Kuhn, Duncan Ag and Origin Ag.

The business sells and services machinery from the smallest 25 hp production unit to tractors producing 630 hp or a combine harvester costing around $750k, as well as all the parts. 

James Cochrane went on to explain that the company has expanded in the last few years after taking on the Case IH range of products in Mid and South Canterbury.

"There was a change with the Ashburton dealership a few years back and the Case IH importer asked us to take over.  We jumped at the chance and we've grown steadily since," James says.

"The Case IH range has become our main product line and we're glad to be associated with such a high quality brand.

"Keeping up with technology has always been part of what we've done well.  We may deal with heavy duty farm equipment but the products are just as full of IT as a top of the range car. 

"While technology is making farming much more efficient and productive, at the same time, it means we are always having to reinvent the way we support our customers," he says.