RFM’s Legacy

With forty years of experience in the Broadacre Agriculture Industry, RFM NT is one of Australia’s leading  manufacturers of innovative planting equipment.

RFM’s manufacturing is now in its 2nd generation. RFM NT has overcome many challenges and celebrated triumphs, due to aiming to be innovative with new products that farmers want to buy.

RFM manufacturing was established in 1960 when Austin Ryan OAM, a young farmer from Beulah, Victoria, began developing farm equipment in his workshop. After licencing his first cultivator (the Scaravator) to Bolwell & Johns in Horsham, Austin quickly realised there was a real need for more productivity on the farm that would enable farmers to increase efficiency and cover more acres in less time during planting. His innovative Scaravator design overtook the rest of the industry and propelled the company to become one of the largest and privately held agricultural equipment manufacturers in Australia.

In 1972, Austin began manufacturing the Ryan Scaravator , a highly superior cultivator compared to the original Scaravator. The Ryan Scaravator was widely recognised as the first spring release wideline cultivator. The first 50 units were constructed on the family farm, but due to rapidly growing sales manufacturing was relocated to Warracknabeal in Victoria’s northwest.

In the summer of 1976 Austin built an airseeder in readiness for use on his own farm for the winter planting of that year. This pioneered a new level of planting seed than the conventional drill – a seed hopper that would straddle over the cultivator. A new era of Ryan equipment began, cementing the Ryans’ leadership in planting equipment and catching the attention of large manufacturers.

Every company strives for a product so far ahead of its time, for Austin that would be his single disc planter in 1983 and then his deep banding system in 1986. Farmer acceptance was challenging at times, although both concepts are now common practice.

Overcoming Obstacles

The extreme Australian seasons over the years have been trying for Ryan manufacturing. Whilst the severe droughts presented a multitude of challenges, it always seemed to bring the best out of Austin as the pressures lead to increasing opportunities to develop further products that would aid farmers.

Next Generation

Today, the company is driven by Austin’s son – Paul Ryan is now the Managing Director and backbone of RFM NT. At the age of 18, Paul’s journey began at the plant whilst also working on the family farm. From an early age he was always involved in the development of products from the concept idea to trials in the field. His passion for the industry guided him to always believe he would take over the family business.

Paul has been an innovator in his own rights, developing a clothesline product that ventured him to the city for several years. It was here that he quickly learned the value of marketing. In 1992 he won the Australian Inventors Award and is certain that these independent adventures helped him in understanding the special nature of his Father’s company.

After 6 years in Melbourne, he inevitably returned to Warracknabeal in 1993 with an even deeper appreciation of the great innovators involved in the business – ranging from employees to dealers.

Paul has witnessed a multitude of struggles through downturns in the farm economy, which has driven his strong feelings about adversity and the lessons they teach. He stands by “Whatever trial you’re facing, you need to learn through that – how to go out and fight the battle and never give up. You need to figure out how to grow again and move forward. Those are the times that make you think, re-approach and re-innovate”.

Paul has travelled the world in a quest to share the best farming practices and techniques. “It doesn’t matter if I talk to a farmer in Kazakhstan or in the USA – the business of farming comes down to the core. How they practice may vary, but how they approach the idea of getting seed in is practically the same. They say the RFM product is an innovative, easy to use product and that makes their planting practice more productive.”

The RFM NT culture will continue to adhere to its five principles: integrity, excellence, innovation, customer focus and mutual respect. Those were the values his thoughtful father instilled in him.

“Not only are we building a great product that’s helping feed the world, but we’re also making the farmer more productive. It’s exciting to see the growth and the changes in expanding around the world. We’ve put a lot of hard work and risk into that, but in the end, it’s very rewarding to see the results.” – Paul Ryan, Managing Director RFM NT

To get in touch with Paul and become part of the RFM legacy, please contact him on either 0417 354 617 or paul@rfmnt.com