3 May 2023

140 years of AMAZONE: “Ideas for our future”

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When Heinrich Dreyer founded the company “H. Dreyer Factory for Agricultural Machinery and Equipment” in Gaste near Osnabrück on May 1st 1883, he was not to know that Amazone would eventually develop into one of the leading global manufacturers of agricultural machinery. This family-owned company has been offering innovative products to farmers for 140 years now

A success story

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In 1883, the founder, Heinrich Dreyer, initially started with the production of a grain cleaning machine and soon realised: ‘We must go out into the world’. The first grain cleaning machines were sold to Valparaiso in Chile as early as 1906, thus forming the foundation for the strong export market enjoyed today by the Amazone Group. Heinrich Dreyer’s sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons have set significant milestones along the way, for product development and have continued the success story up to the present day. It was in the sixties, in particular, that the ZA mounted twin disc fertiliser spreader and the legendary D4 seed drill developed into genuine best-sellers. The production facilities need to be expanded, and this led to the creation of the first branch, the factory in Hude near Oldenburg, which, in 2009, was expanded to become the Hude-Altmoorhausen facility aimed at the production of modern high-performance seeding systems. With their entry into the field of soil tillage, Amazone was the first manufacturer to develop PTO-driven equipment for working in combination with its seed drills. In addition, since 1998, passive soil tillage machinery has been brought onto the market with its subsidiary, BBG in Leipzig. 
As time went by, the Company had, more than once, to cope with difficult times. But the Dreyer family, across all its generations, was always able to keep the company on a solid path of continuous growth. Production was expanded continuously and the product range was supplemented to include more and more areas of competence. The Amazone takeover of the plough manufacturer, Vogel & Noot, in Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary in 2016 markedly expanded both its soil tillage range and manufacturing capacity. To supplement the factories in Gaste and Leeden, a new production facility in Bramsche, to the North of Osnabrück, was opened in 2018. Modern assembly halls offer lots of space for a wide range of production variants, large-scale machinery production and general optimisation of logistics for the three factories. Schmotzer Hacktechnik, a company with its roots in mechanical weeding systems and with its headquarters in Bad Windsheim, has been part of the group since 2019. This represented an important step in the expansion within the field of crop protection.

Developing the values of the past into the future 

From left: Christian Dreyer and Dr. Justus Dreyer (Chairman of the Management Board/owner of the Amazone Group)

These days, the core competences of Amazone are the active and passive soil tillage ranges, seed drills and precision seeders, fertiliser spreaders and crop protection sprayers. An additional mainstay is the production of groundcare machinery for parks and lawn maintenance along with winter road gritting, located in the facility in Forbach/France. In the last financial year of 2022, the Amazone Group comprised of nine production facilities and employed a total of over 2,000 staff. The export percentage was of the order of 80 % in 2022. The headquarters and main production facility of the Amazone Group still remains today in Gaste, in the district of Hasbergen near Osnabrück. The shares of the company are wholly owned by the Dreyer family. Since the fate of the group was controlled for more than 50 years by Prof. h.c. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heinz Dreyer (died 17th February 2023) and his cousin Klaus Dreyer, the responsibility has rested for many years with the 4th. generation in the form of the current two owners, Christian Dreyer and Dr. Justus Dreyer. “We intend to continue the ground-breaking success across the history of our company, so that farming worldwide can rely on our innovative solutions for intelligent crop production” say the two owners. “We extend our heartfelt thanks to our predecessors. We want to sustainably develop the values that they have created and at the same time purposefully tackle the challenges of the future. Our thanks also go to the members of our families, to our customers, employees, sales partners and importers, suppliers and to all those who have contributed to the success of the company by their personal effort and extensive commitment.” 

Ongoing growth in planning 

The founder Heinrich Dreyer with the historic company logo from the years of rapid industrial growth in Germany and the latest Amazone Precea precision air seeder.

Clever planning and investing for a successful sustainable future, and not short-term profit thinking, will continue to characterise the philosophy of the company. In this way, the owners continue with the aim to expand Amazone’s production capacities in accordance with the organic growth, and continuously to modernise existing manufacturing and logistics processes. At the same time, Amazone will concentrate on developing partnerships, both at home and abroad, in order to acquire additional market share in all areas of competence, across all the important world markets. “When developing new technology, we concentrate primarily on the requirements of our customers, whilst, at the same time, recognising, in good time, the demands of the future. This approach has proven to be successful in the past”, says Dr. Justus Dreyer. To better service our customers, it is also increasingly important to accompany the increasingly complex agricultural machines and processes with even better advice and support. This includes, amongst other things, Amazone continuing to expand the new test farm in Wambergen at the Hasbergen-Gaste facility. A long-term arable farming field trial, going by the name of Controlled Row Farming (CRF), is currently being used there to present a new row-based arable farming system. The company is continuously intensifying its comprehensive training offerings.
As has always been, we also take on the responsibility for the people employed by the company and their families. “On the one hand, this means the retention and ongoing development of workplaces. On the other hand, we realise that the company needs motivated and qualified employees to remain in a leading position in the development of new technology and to be able continuously to produce optimum quality”, explains Christian Dreyer.

Ideas for our future 

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In viewing the future development of the Amazone product programme, the owners see the demands of the economy and ecology as the most important tasks. “We would like to make a decisive contribution to world nutrition, and to help our farmers, with innovative ideas, to continue to be capable of handling the future in a sustainable way”, says Dr. Justus Dreyer by way of explanation, on the background of the great challenges facing professional farming these days. On the one hand, agriculture needs to produce high-quality food to feed the growing world population. On the other hand, the amount of arable land on which food can be produced is being reduced. This is exacerbated by climate change with extreme weather conditions. “We thus see three important tasks for ourselves and for farming, which are naturally interlinked: Protecting valuable resources, continuously reducing the use of inputs, increased precision for sustainability and cost-efficiency whilst simultaneously maintaining a high level of yield”, continues Christian Dreyer. Amazone is therefore continuing to pursue the core goal of a high yield per hectare yet through sustainable methods. It is therefore important to improve the efficiency of the production processes and to treat each plant as precisely as possible. At the same time, increasing biodiversity and retention of soil fertility must be important goals, in order to offer sustainable, good, long-term prospects for the generations to come. 

In order to comply even better with the ecological requirements, Amazone will concentrate, amongst other things, on pushing the area of Amazone 4.0 by the sensible use of electronics. The use of GPS technology, sensor systems, software and other instruments are thus intended to extend the possibilities of part-area, site-specific, individual plant based working. The owners intend to extend the successful machinery range with the aim of being able, in future, to offer the right technology and processes, for not only any region with its own individual special needs, but also for any size of business and cropping. An important basis for this is the expansion carried out in the internal trials programme across the international arena, in cooperation with scientific institutions, consultants and agricultural practitioners. 

More flexible and faster in future 

“We are concentrating on Amazone being able to serve its customers optimally in the future. It continues to be important to be more flexible, more reliable and to act faster than the others” sum up the owners with regard to the challenges. “This requires us to meet the requirements of the customer, time and again, and to develop innovative technologies. For agricultural machinery and farming, which is system-relevant worldwide in order to feed the population, we see positive, long-term prospects and we are thus looking to the future with optimism.”