AMAZONE trials centre in Wambergen

The history of the trials centre in Wambergen

The Meyerhöfe (major domus) were established during the Frankish period as strongholds and farms. The founding of the Meyerhöfe dates back to this historical age, so that these farms can look back on 1000 years of history. Charlemagne had farms built in all the important places in Saxony before he set out on his campaign to Spain in 778. He appointed high administrators who had the task of ensuring peace and order in the country to manage them. These administrators, who thereby helped to maintain the authority of the emperor, bore the title of "Meyer" or "Meier" (steward). As a result, the farms on which they lived, were also named after them. The Steward's right had developed into a general tenancy right by the end of the 18th century. The Meyerhöfe therefore became tenanted estates.

The farm of the present Amazone trials centre in Wambergen was mentioned in a document for the first time in 1350 as a feudal estate of the Bishop of Osnabrück. Henrian Eyfelder from an Osnabrück lineage was enfeoffed with the Meyerhof in this year.

The farmstead is one of the oldest farm buildings in the district of Hasbergen and was the centre of the hamlet of Wambergen before the development of the farming community in the 16th century. 

The Meyerhof later belonged to the Diocese of Leeden and was one of the biggest farms in the district of Osnabrück. 

The residential and farm building was constructed in 1810. It is a document of the first rural post-built houses, in which the emerging new style of four-post construction combined with plastered massive dry-stone walls was used. This building has remained unchanged to this day.
 

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Historical photograph of Hof Meyer zu Wambergen

Johann-Heinrich Erpenbeck inherited Hof Wambergen and sold it in 1862, after he had emigrated to America. His son Rudolf Erpenbeck got Hof Wambergen back in a round-about way. From then on, he called himself Meyer zu Wambergen. He is therefore the founder of the Wambergen branch of the Erpenbecker family. 
In modern times, Alexander von Möller ran Hof Meyer zu Wambergen. His mother Margarete von Möller, née Meyer zu Wambergen, died in 2014 and was the last Meyer zu Wambergen. 

Over the years, the two farming communities of Wambergen and Gaste were merged to form the municipality of Gaste. Today, Gaste is a district of the municipality of Hasbergen. 
Gaste has also been the headquarters of the Amazone Group and the ancestral home of the Dreyer owner families for 140 years. After all, Heinrich Dreyer founded his company in 1883: “H. Dreyer Fabrik für landw. Maschinen und Geräte in Gaste, Post Hasbergen bei Osnabrück”. In the process, Heinrich took over the workshop, which had already been in family ownership for three generations as a joinery and wheelwright's workshop, from his father. In addition to other agricultural implements, Heinrich‘s ancestors also built grain cleaners – so-called winnowers – by hand. The Dreyer family had already supplied a grain cleaning machine to the city of Osnabrück in around 1780, i.e. 100 years before the actual foundation of the company. This historical implement is now in the factory museum and is evidence of an unbroken tradition of the Dreyer family and the AMAZONE company which goes back more than 240 years.

Plaggen cultivation at Gut Wambergen

Plaggen cultivation, once widespread in northern Germany, used to be practised in some fields of the Meyer zu Wambergen estate. The so-called plaggen soils came into being via a special farming practice for soil improvement when the population pressure in the Middle Ages significantly increased around the year 1000 and the cultivation of fields with soils less rich in nutrients therefore became necessary.

In view of the absence of mineral fertiliser, other forms of fertilisation had to be developed, in order to guarantee the yield and yield security. Several fields of the Wambergen estate near the farm were regularly fertilised with grass or heather sods in the plaggen cultivation developed in northwestern Germany. Plaggen is the term used to describe cut humus-rich grass topsoil with parts of the vegetation on top. The plaggen were extracted away from the farm, initially used as bedding in the stables for around a year and subsequently spread on the fields together with manure, dead leaves, ash and kitchen waste. Esch soils were widespread in the Osnabrück Land but did not emerge there until the 12th and 13th century. Plaggen cultivation can be verified in the soil profile at Gut Wambergen for up to 600 years.

Plaggen cultivation ended abruptly at the beginning of the 20th century, when the labour-intensive use of the plaggen became redundant after the introduction of mineral fertiliser at the end of the 19th century. 
 

Trials centre in Wambergen today

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Hof Meyer zu Wambergen was acquired by the Amazone Group in 2018 and, amongst other things, is now used to host the company‘s customer events. In the meantime, the Amazone Group and the Dreyer families also run a farm with an area of more than 120 ha together with the trials centre. The Controlled Row Farming (CRF) project has been implemented here in conjunction with Agravis Raiffeisen and our sister company Schmotzer Hacktechnik since 2020. Trials of new agricultural practices for crops in fixed row spacings are carried out in this respect. These trials are shown to a large number of international visitor groups. The aim is to test, further develop and demonstrate modern arable farming systems at the trials centre and to use the findings to offer innovative agricultural machinery optimised for the respective location on the international market. 

New Amazone museum at the trials centre in Wambergen

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The new agricultural museum at the Amazone trials centre in Wambergen was opened during the Amazone "Crop Days 2022” customer event. Overseen by Klaus Dreyer, the former Managing Director from the 3rd generation of the founders, the museum was set up in the residential and farm buildings of Hof Meyer zu Wambergen. These were built in 1810. Maids and farmhands were trained. Farmhand's chambers can be seen in the museum at the trials centre in Wambergen to this day. The museum aims to give Amazone visitor groups an insight into farming history.
 
A total of more than 20 historical agricultural machines and 120 smaller exhibits as well as a large number of historical images have found a fitting place in the agricultural museum of the Amazone Group. Dreyer has passionately collected and restored the valuable machines, most of which originate from in-house production, for many years. Particular attention is given to the implements from the early 20th century. Winnowers and potato sorters were among the products which enabled Amazonen-Werke to write its first success stories, also in the area of exports overseas. The oldest of the machines on display is an Amazone "Siegfried" cultivator for shallow stubble cultivation which dates from 1904. Furthermore, worm auger spreaders and twin disc fertiliser spreaders from various periods which illustrate the enormous technological development in this segment can be found among the exhibits. Amazone put the first ZA three-point linkage mounted, twin disc fertiliser spreader (mounted centrifugal machine) on the market in 1958. This later became the forerunner to almost every other fertiliser spreader used around the world. A type S300 sprayer dating from the year 1969 with a plastic tank produced in-house is also on display. This was the gateway to a new sector for Amazone. The seed drills from the 50s to 80s include the legendary D4. This enabled the company to become the market leader in this area after only a short time. It is combined with a reciprocating harrow (built in 1963). This was the first modern seed drill combination in the world and was developed by the former plant manager in Hude, Dr. Franz Große Scharmann. 

The present test fields which are cultivated using future-oriented, high-tech agricultural machines highlight the amazing progress which agricultural machinery has made in the past few decades.

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