One of Australia’s most successful exporters has built its success on the need to adapt farming equipment in the Flinders Ranges.

Story by John Dunn  Photo by Meridee Groves

A sign on the road north of Jamestown strikes an unusual note. It points away from the bitumen, down dusty gravel towards paddocks of Merinos and ripening grain saying: Kelly Engineering. Here sits an operation that is one of this country’s most successful small businesses. As well as supplying the domestic market with its products, it exports around the world as part of its multimillion-dollar enterprise.

In a cluster of large galvanised iron buildings and a smaller administrative centre, about 40 people construct and sell specialised farm equipment that has found a range of markets from the Wheatbelt of Western Australia to the rice fields of the southern states of the USA.

There are prickle chains and cutting discs, and comb trailers and smoothers, but the jewel in all this multi-purpose machinery is the diamond harrow – a light tillage implement that is used for mulching stubble, weed management and creating seed beds in cropping, which is keenly sought after by farmers from Arkansas and Alabama to Botswana and Denmark.

This story excerpt is from Issue #111

Outback Magazine: Feb/March 2017