Mo. company shipping tractors, parts to Australia

Monday, December 24, 2007

LEBANON, Mo. -- John Deere tractors and parts are on their way from Laclede County to the land down under.

Farm equipment that has been discarded by some for scrap is being shipped to Brisbane, Australia, where it will have a new life.

"It's not just one guy ordering parts. It's seven or eight different people who get together to order the parts," said David Marlin, who along with his wife, Robin, owns 2-Cylinder Plus Tractor Salvage in Conway, Mo.

This is not the first time that 2-Cylinder Plus Tractor Salvage has dealt with large shipments to Australia, but it is the first time for it to be the center point for the shipment, said Kevin Hill, parts manager.

"Everything we don't have, we are finding," said Hill.

With this shipment, the salvage yard is pulling parts from around the nation to make the long journey to Australia.

One shipment they helped with took a total of about 18 months to get the items gathered and shipped, said Hill.

The latest shipment started being put together around January or March of this year and it took "a call here and a call there asking for parts" to get it pulled together, said Hill.

"They are buying anything a tractor needs. They don't have John Deere tractors over there, so there is a big outlet for the parts and tractors," said Hill. "Anything we didn't have, we've found."

A John Deere ice cream maker, valued at about $3,000, with a "hit-and-miss motor," was included in the shipment, along with a Model B "Brass Tag" John Deere tractor, and a John Deere BO Lindeman-crawler, which are the oldest collector tractors added to the shipment.

Some collector tractors are put on display and a few are put to use in the fields.

To be shipped, the tractors, which are about 11 feet long, were stacked in a shipping trailer with a variety of parts including engines, fenders and boxes.

"We fit six rigs [tractors] and parts into a 44-foot trailer. The hardest part was putting in the 50 to 70 boxes," said Hill. "We didn't think we would get all six rigs [tractors] in the trailer... [Australians] like a variety of John Deere parts. You can hear the excitement in their voices when you talk to them about the shipment."

The trailer was packed to the brim by the time the last tractor was loaded. Everything was tied down and was placed in the trailer like a jigsaw puzzle in preparation for the trip to Australia.

"The last shipment had tractor tires stacked to the top of the trailer," said Hill.

U.S., 16 other countries

Marlin and Hill have been working with Australia not only on large shipments, but UPS shipments as well.

"We've done sales to Australia about 50 to 100 times, most [deliveries] are UPS," said Marlin.

Over the years, 2-Cylinder Plus Tractor Salvage has grown since its beginning in 1990. It now does business with buyers in all 50 states and 16 foreign countries, including Canada, England, Netherlands, Sweden and Japan.

"I'm shocked at how many places will call asking for parts in the United States and Canada," said employee Suzanne Denney.

The shop has also had international visitors seeking parts and tractors.

A man from England came to the United States with his family to go to Disneyland and then stopped by the Conway shop, said Hill. There also was a visitor from Denmark who came in wearing wooden shoes, said Denney.

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