Yanmar & JCB – The Perfect Duo for Sunfarm

Bundaberg irrigation specialist, Sunfam was one of the very first Dealers in Australia to use a JCB DieselMax in an irrigation application. As a long standing Yanmar Dealer, Ian Loeskow at Sunfam recognised the opportunity which the JCB brand presented and had no hesitation in recommending this engine to his customer.

In the 1950’s the Loeskow family company was focused on drilling for water in the Bundaberg region. Since the incorporation of Sunfam in 1986, the business has evolved with an emphasis on the design of efficient irrigation systems.

sunfarm 2
“Early on we recognised that the Bundaberg region had a high demand for the design and installation of watering systems,” Ian Loeskow said.

Farming in this region is varied and extends well beyond cane farming, with Macadamia and Avocado trees plus vegetables prominent. Irrespective of the farming operation, there is a year round demand for water on the land.

In 2004 Sunfam was appointed as a Yanmar Dealer. Prior to their appointment, Sunfam had broad experience with the Yanmar brand having serviced and supported various Yanmar engines operated within the region.

“Since 2004, we have been buying Yanmar TF and Yanmar TNV engines for use in our custom designed and built pumping installations,” Ian Loeskow said.
“We take great pride in designing and installing pumping systems which are purpose matched to the individual applications. We select the best pump for the job then couple it with the most efficient engine.”

“Yanmar is our dominant diesel engine brand. The Yanmar range up to 40 kW is excellent for our pumping applications, where continuous duty cycles are required. We prefer to keep the engine speed below 2500 rpm and with bigger output engines, we aim to keep below 1900 rpm.”

Sunfam first introduced the JCB DieselMax into their irrigation systems after their previous engine manufacturer of over 40 kW engines, changed their minimum operational speed specifications. Applications where a single pump unit was required to perform multiple duties with engine speeds between 1200 & 2000 RPM could no longer be met, Ian Loeskow needed to find an alternative.

“We have always enjoyed a strong relationship with Power Equipment, so we were aware of the new JCB DieselMax engines which had just become available in 2009. JCB was a brand that we knew and respected with strength in construction equipment around the world, so we were confident that the JCB DieselMax would work well in our installations.”


The first JCB installation was a replacement for an old Bedford diesel engine which was driving the pump on a center pivot irrigator.

“The customer wanted a heavily built, reliable engine to replace his Bedford,” Ian Loeskow said.

“The JCB DieselMax was readily accepted by the customer. Following the installation, the customer was amazed at the fuel savings.”

From that point, Sunfam has installed more than 10 JCB DieselMax engines in Bundaberg and the surrounding regions.

“When assessing the JCB DieselMax we had to be confident that the brand was competitive in the marketplace,” said Ian Loeskow.

“Our customers needed to be comfortable with the initial purchase price, the operational costs, (by way of fuel and spare parts) needed to stack up and there had to be timely access to spares. In all respects the JCB DieselMax has proven to be outstanding.”

According to Ian Loeskow, the JCB DieselMax continues to be an ideal engine, able to handle a broad range of water pumping duties on the land. There are situations where the one pump installation is used by the same farmer for flood irrigation one day, trickle irrigation the next and a high pressure traveler the following.

“The JCB DieselMax can be set up to operate at speeds from 1200 rpm through to 2000 rpm to deliver the specific pressure and volume required,” Ian Loeskow said.

“The strength of the JCB DieselMax is that it can operate efficiently at a variety of engine settings. These are very reliable engines which we can specify and install with confidence in remote locations.”

Sunfam continues to rate highly their relationship with Power Equipment. Sunfam operates from two locations in Bundaberg with a JCB DieselMax on the showroom floor as a glowing endorsement of the brand.

“The real strength of the Yanmar and JCB brands is the reliability of the product,” said Ian Loeskow.

“The price of parts is okay and the reaction times to our parts orders from Brisbane and Melbourne, is also very good.”

“The high number of repeat Sunfam customers who specify either Yanmar or JCB is a strong endorsement of the two diesel engine brands which we use in our irrigation systems.”