“Go west, young man” is a slogan that brought many pioneers to Kansas, and now Doug Kjellin has taken up the call in search of new markets for Donahue Manufacturing.
With depressed agricultural markets making it hard to maintain sales of Donahue’s regular inventory, the trail to growth is change.
“When sales in the standard lines aren’t satisfactory, then you have to innovate and find new ways to do things,” Kjellin said.
That’s included designing trailers specifically for California agriculture.
Kjellin said that Donahue started looking to markets in California rather than waiting for sales to occur.
“California has different kind of machinery than in Kansas,” Kjellin said. “For example, they have nut harvesting equipment which has a very low center of gravity and can be hard to load on a normal trailer. So we came with a trailer that can go flat that allows them to get the stuff on the trailer.”
Donahue has designed a slide-tilt flatbed trailer, and a hydraulic dovetail trailer, which has been years in the making.
“That has kind of been something we’ve wanted to build for the last two or three years,” Kjellin said. “It’s hydraulically operated, so it makes operation a lot easier.”
They were designed specifically to help California farmers load their equipment onto trailers with ease.
Donahue started their first project for a California buyer last spring, which was a detachable flat bed to help load his equipment easier.
Rather than attend more expos in Kansas, Donahue travels out as far as California.
“It’s kind of hit and miss,” Kjellin said. “This last year, it was difficult to put a lot of time and money into regional shows when we knew most Ag producers were strapped for cash and waiting for better prices on grains.”
Kjellin will attend the expo this upcoming weekend, where he is excited to show off the new trailer designs.
“I’m very proud of them,” Kjellin said. “It’s a very exceptional product, and we have a pretty good name out there in the industry.”