In New Zealand, agriculture is the largest sector of the tradeable economy, with pastoral farming being the major land use¹. With New Zealand’s traditional strengths in agriculture, and our growing strengths in tech – it’s not surprising Agri-tech businesses like Hustler Equipment Limited are holding the number one position for its industry, nationally and internationally. And ahead of Fieldays, which celebrates the innovation of New Zealand’s Agri-tech industry, it’s only fitting to address Hustler’s contribution to this advancing home-grown industry.
Based in the Hawkes Bay, the New Zealand family business has been in operation since 1961, building its products in Hastings, and now employs a staff of over 100. Hustler has a strong history in the innovation and invention of livestock feeding equipment. According to third generation family business owner and Hustler’s Vice President, Brent Currie, innovation is in the Currie family blood.
“My grandfather and founder, R.H Currie made his own jet engine when he was just eight years old – and mounted it onto his bike. This No.8 wire mentality is the inspiration behind our company philosophy, which is to rethink the everyday: “how can we do it better?”.
In many areas, this country is light years ahead of the world in terms of employing innovation and technology to improve the agriculture industry, but in a way that has not been over-complicated.
Hustler’s inventions all start from creative problem solving; how can things be simplified to remove the clutter and complexity from business and farming, and how can life be made easier for farmers? And their success comes down to the team’s close-knit customer partnerships enabling their intimate understanding of farmers’ evolving business needs and goals, from the ground up – literally.
“It’s about walking in the customers’ shoes and working with human-centred design principles,” Currie explains. Hustler’s Research and Development (R&D) team spend their days working alongside farmers in the field to analyse how products are being used, what is needed to make improvements and where industry-leading innovation and technology can help to create greater opportunities and efficiencies.
Hustler’s passion for innovation is reflected in its continuous R&D investment – and Currie says it pays off. “Farmers using our products all around the world are saving on feed costs and boosting their profits. Our bale feeders have been found to reduce waste by more than 20%², which results in improved animal nutrition and less pasture damage to the land.
“This is becoming increasingly important as a new generation of farms are being run more like businesses and facing increasing pressure to be more environmentally sustainable.”
Hustler’s unique IP is a result of this focus on R&D and the fact their bale feeder equipment is not only designed in New Zealand, but most importantly being made here, is one of the reasons they are a top choice internationally.
By carrying the FernMark, Hustler leverages its connection to New Zealand, which has a reputation in sustainable pasture-based farming around the world. The FernMark licensing programme allows Hustler to not only show that their equipment is designed in New Zealand but also that they are rapt with their New Zealand origins. This is because innovation can flourish in the fused industry that is Agri-tech, because of the distinctively close link between agriculture and technology found in New Zealand.
Sarah Morgan, Head of Engagement, NZ Story says, "It’s great to see successful exporters, like Hustler Equipment, recognise the value associated with being from New Zealand. As a country, we have a reputation for developing ingenious products and services that meet the needs of customers.
“Hustler is a prime example of this. And to know they are supporting our collective mission to help drive preference for New Zealand products and services by carrying the FernMark is exciting for all exporters."
¹Sarah Brazil, ed. (2008). New Zealand Official Yearbook. Statistics New Zealand. p. 357. ISBN 978-1-86953-717-3. The export figure includes agriculture, horticulture and forestry.