As June is the busiest time of year, we decided to catch up with William Barrow along with his Dad; Andrew Barrow from A W & C M Barrow Agricultural Contractors, Penkridge, Staffordshire.
A W & C M Barrow Agricultural Contractors is a family business ran by Mum, Dad, two sons and three workers which started off as just Andrew! The team cover over 6,000 acres a year split between drilling, chopping, grass and muck. 1,000 of the acreage is drilling maize but there is a rather different 50 acres drilled for pumpkin seeds!
Heidi went to catch up with William whilst he was using the Vaderstad Tempo drill the family bought from RVW Pugh in 2020 to drill 12 acres of pumpkin seeds at Lower Drayton Farm in Staffordshire.
William explained: “I’ve been using the Vaderstad drill since last year and I cannot fault it, I’d say it’s the best drill you can buy. I used to use a Gaspardo drill but they didn’t do air assisted which is what made us make the change. We were looking for a Vaderstad for a little while and we ended up going to RVW Pugh’s open day at Market Drayton and that’s when we decided to order the drill through the company.
The drill is so simple to use, with previous drills you are replacing the gasket yearly because of the rubber parts wearing but with the Vaderstad you don’t have that there’s no wearing parts. Also the calibration is easy to set up which makes the job a lot quicker.”
The Barrow family are a new customer to RVW Pugh but already have good things to say; “I actually had to call Sam Fox yesterday for a bit of advice on the drill, being a bank holiday I wasn’t sure if he would pick up but he helped me out which is what’s needed” William explained.
We are all aware the Massey Ferguson 8S has landed with a bang, winning Tractor of the year 2021 it’s fair to say it’s a pretty impressive tractor.
As farmers are currently flat out with silaging and hay making we took the chance to catch up with brothers Ed and Chris Brettell from F S Brettell & Sons in Hadnall, Shrewsbury. The brothers are fourth generation farmers specialising in organic arable farming and 12,000 laying free range chickens. They also contract out to nearby dairy farmers but have plenty of work to do spread out of their 3 farms and 800 acres.
Over the years the family have bought 6 Massey Ferguson tractors from RVW Pugh and have been a loyal customer for over 8 years.
Chris explained: “We’ve always used Masseys, my brother is currently using the 7720 whilst I’ve been upgraded to the 8S. It’s like no other tractor, it’s so much better on fuel economy especially when ploughing it keeps you at around 1200 revs whereas the older models would have you at 1500. The gearbox is so smooth you don’t even feel the transmissions and can you hear how quiet it is? No other tractor has the visibility like the 8S, the cabs so high up and the seat swivels further round than a usual tractor which is helpful. You can really tell how much the cab has been improved it’s really comfortable and you barely feel a bump.”
I think it’s fair to say Chris is super impressed with his new MF 8S which they bought from Pugh’s in March 2021 and has so far used it to plough 400 acres and mow 400 acres over the three farms.
“We’ve got the 8S Dyna 7, the multipad lever is so easy to use I just push a button and when I’m ploughing the tractor will control the speed without upping the revs saving on fuel and helping efficiency. We’ve had other tractors when our Massey’s have been in for a service but nothing really compares to the 8S in its price range. There’s plenty of horsepower and the dual clutch is something that divides this tractor from older models.”
Dyna-7 offers efficient operation of a total of 28 forward and reverse speeds in four ranges and seven seamless gears. This cost-effective transmission delivers smooth and intuitive operation in manual mode or can even be operated fully automatically.
Whilst sitting in the tractor Chris’ phone rang through the Bluetooth connection so he could speak to the other contractor through the surround sound with no problems and handsfree. The audio was as clear as a face to face conversation.
To finish off Chris explained how the family have always had a great relationship with Pugh’s and can’t knock the company, he’s always had a good experience with servicing and we look forward to many years ahead with F S Brettell & Sons.
Brocton football club gained a 30-year lease on the Old Police Sports Ground in Silkmore Lane in Stafford which includes a 100-seat stand and 7.5 acres of land. The club was founded in 1937 by Arthur Mayer, the current chairmen are Brian Townsend and Nigel Pepper.
The football club was in need of a ride on mower to ensure the sports ground is kept in the best condition possible so we opted for an Iseki SXG 323. Terry from Brocton football club advised us we were the best quote he had received for the machinery and rated us excellent in all aspects from sales rep knowledge to promptness with enquiries.
Richard and Helen Wright of Horseshoe Farm near Stockport tell us about their machinery fleet including their new MF grasskit.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the farm? Cattle/Sheep/Arable/Location?
Horseshoe farm is a small holding based in Bredbury near Stockport and has been in Helen’s family since 1901 and during that time the family have been involved in the building trade, breeding poultry and market gardening which led into sports field contracting and horticultural machinery engineering at one time a fleet of 60 tractors operated nationwide with associated turf care machinery with the predominant tractors being Massey Ferguson and Kubota trading as T & G Fox.
After the untimely death of G Fox the firm continued under the leadership of George’s widow and daughter Helen until the retirement of Mrs E Fox and the business was sold up and Helen continued to live at the farm. Helen then met her now husband Richard Wright who had a long career in agriculture and environmental work. They decided to use land at Richard’s father’s smallholding in Little Bollington to produce their own hay and haylage, where they began to sell their surplus to neighbours and other friends who had horses.
What MF Grass kit have you got on the farm currently?
Very early in the business we both decided we wanted to have as much control of doing the harvest as possible. We started the business with what tractors we had between us, a MF 20e industrial and a John Deere 1640, we bought a 2 drum mower and an Used PZ Haybob and a good condition MF 20-8 baler this was the starting foundation of our business. We did call on other contractors to do the big round bales until we could have our own round baler and wrapper.
By today, our machinery fleet relies heavily on MF grass kit where we have a MF DM 246 Mower a MF 4 rotor TD524 Tedder and our latest purchase of a MF 361 Rake which we purchased in December 2020 after seeing the R V W Pugh’s grass kit offer.
Did you have a demo of the machines before buying?
We’d seen most of the grass kit working at a demonstration event organised by RVW Pugh at Reaseheath College and where very impressed with what we saw, but at the time we were running a Galfre Tedder and Rake.
What do you think of the MF TD524 Tedder and also the MF DM 246 Mower?
However fate came along and first the 2 drum Mower broke down catastrophically hence this is when Howard Sherrren sold us a mower in a hurry to complete our harverst needs. The following year the Galfre Tedder broke down when we were doing the first swath in the first field of our 1st cut, so what a start to harvest 2020. We rang Howard to see if we could hire a Tedder whilst we got our Galfre Tedder fixed but we subsequently bought a MF Tedder and were very impressed by its build quality and smooth running and the low power requirements. This is the same with the MF mower, we’ve run the mower on both the 75hp and 85hp Tractor and both are more than capable of handling the mower. But we will have to wait till summer to see how the Rake will perform but again we are impressed by the build quality and the ease of maintenance along with the horizontal storage position of the rake arms for storage and transport we have high hopes.
What other MF equipment do you have? Tractors?
Our other MF products we have in our family are mostly tractors we run a 4255 with hi-vis bonnet and loader a 5445 and a 4707 2wd and loader and my father still has his 135 and in the back of a shed is a MF finger bar mower that was used for many years mowing or outdoor flower residue and stalks left over from each years outdoor cut flowers crops.
Why RVW Pugh?
As for why we use R V W Pugh it is simple, the quality service and back up is brilliant! And of course our Sales rep Howard Sherren whose understanding of our small business and it’s machinery needs means the right machinery at the right price is only a phone call away and we hope this business relationship will continue long into the future.
Here, Dan Lovett from Oldford Farm in Staffordshire tells us all about his Fendt 313 & 513 tractors and his Rolland Rollfeed 6222 set up.
Livestock/arable farm? Acres? Location?
Here at Oldford Farm, we milk 1000 Jersey cross Fresian cows where we operate on a grass-based system. The cows peak an average of 6,000 litres. We only grow fodder beat and grass for grazing and silage.
Have you always used Rolland Feeders and did you try any competitive brands before purchasing the Rolland Feeder?
We’ve had Rolland Feeders here for about 5-6 years but before then we had Richard Western Feeders. I was always looking for something more like the New Zealand feeders, and there’s nothing like it on the market, the Rolland feeders are the closest thing out there to it. They are a very good machine and for what we want here at Oldford Farm it is brilliant. It’s a one machine operation; we use the Fendt 313 with a loader to fill and also feed the cattle, this allows us to keep the capital down and also cut down on diesel usage which is very important to me.
What did you like best about the Rolland Feeders and how do you find the build quality?
I would say the best thing is that it does exactly what we want it to do here at the farm and more than anything it doesn’t wear metal. We’ve been very lucky with the Rolland feeders and it’s nevermissed a feeding and I’d say it does roughly 10,000 feeds a year. I would also say it is a light machine and when we need to take it into the field it doesn’t mark the ground.
How have you found the process of dealing with RVW Pugh?
I’m very happy with the service we get from RVW Pugh. They’re always on the other end the phone and always very reliable. If we do have a breakdown or a problem, they’re here as soon as they can and work to sort it out.
I hear you’ve got a few Fendt tractors, have you always been Fendt?
No, we haven’t, we did have John Deere before and also had a Valtra but we’re very happy with the Fendt and wouldn’t look back. We haven’t had a big problem (touch wood) and when we do have a question or little issue it’s sorted straight away – they offer great backup.
We’ve currently got the Fendt 313 and 513. The 313 is a very handy tractor fitted with a loader
(the tractor we use with the Rolland feeder) and it does the filling job and also the feeding which makes it a one tractor operation. Then we use the 513 for the fertiliser spreading and livestock haulage. I must add I do like the short wheelbase.
How often are you using your Fendt tractors (hours per year?)
I would say we use the Fendt 313 around 2000 hours a year doing all the feeding while we use the 513 between 2000 and 2500 hours a year between various jobs.
RVW Pugh have recently supplied a special consignment of Massey Ferguson compact and specialist tractors to Lower Hope Farms Ltd near Hereford.
The farm consists of 1500 acres of combinable crops, 1200 ewes, 50 head of cattle and most importantly, 200 acres of fruit. Producing cherries, raspberries and desert apples, the farm packs as much as 500t of fruit in just six weeks.
Bringing in the harvest is now down to 270picking staff, 10 of which are full time and three new MF 1747 tractors and one specialist order MF 3709V supplied by RVW Pugh. Replacing a varied fleet of New Holland, Landini and Claas, the MF 1747s were specced on larger wheels for predominantly towing the trailers of crop home and working specialist compost spreaders around the fruit trees. The MF 3709V was fully loaded with front linkage and PTO and joins the farm’s existing Fendt for front mowing and spraying.
The farm used to buy a new model each year and hold onto the old machine, but reliability was becoming an issue with at least one in for repairs most weeks. With only 6 weeks to bring in the harvest, no breakdowns was crucial to the operation.
“We tried a number of models from different manufacturers before making our decision,” explains manager Ed Turner.
“We all liked the Massey Ferguson for its excellent turning circle and compactness, plus the build quality is very good offering the best value for money. The 1747 is unbelievably simple, which is exactly what we need here as many of the drivers are from Eastern European countries and have never driven anything but a car before, so it is exactly what we require,”
Ed continues. “We also liked the joystick spools for controlling our muck spreaders and the hydraulic flow is also excellent. A decision was made that a new purchase was to be the best way forward as reliability has been a rising issue previously, with the service on our doorstep I knew these Massey Ferguson tractors will be the right decision,” he concludes.
Mr Pacey of Vernon Partners, Town End Farm has introduced the Hustler SL360X to his feeding system on their farm.
Town End Farm have fitted their new Hustler SL360X to the loader on the front of their Fendt 516. Mr Pacey says that the top four key benefits the Hustler has brought to Town End Farm are:
Tudor Thomas from Llangorse tells us why he has recently purchased a Fendt Tigo forage wagon.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Tudor Thomas, I live in Llangorse, near Brecon. I farm with my father on our 450 acre dairy farm, with 200 acres in an arable rotation, running 190 cows and followers and finishing all bull and beef calves. I also run a contracting business independently from the farm. I cover a range of jobs including slurry tankering, ploughing. drilling, fertiliser spreading and silaging.
This year the wagon has chopped 750 acres of silage, between the farm and contracting. I looked into wagon silage because it works well and is very labour and fuel efficient for our multicut system. It also comes in handy for zero grazing early and late into the season to reduce feed costs.
Why choose the Fendt forage wagon?
I chose the Tigo 50PR forage wagon as I liked the chop length as well as the build quality.
What were the main features that drew you to it?
The main feature is the moving bulk head, which gives it extra capacity and makes it compact and manoeuvrable whilst still giving good output. It’s possible to average 65 acres a day on second cut silage depending on crops, field sizes and distance from the clamp.
What other tractors have you got?
I have a Fendt 718 which I bought second hand from RVW Pugh in May 2016. The farm also runs varying ages of Masseys purchased from RVW Pugh over the last 15 years.
Why RVW Pugh?
RVW Pugh provides a good service covering our area and provides the back up to keep things running. There are also lots of spares in stock which can be posted same day to get them here quickly due to the distance from the depot.
What is your next planned purchase?
I’ll probably look at changing the tractor or a drill next to get higher outputs.
Jonny Hewit and Alan Clare from Red House Farm, Dunham Massey farm free-range chickens and run a ‘pick your own pumpkin’ business. Here’s why they decided to buy an MF 4707 Global with loader…
“Oliver from the RVW Pugh Holmes Chapel branch called in at the farm for a chat having heard that we were in need of a tractor due to our old one breaking down. We explained our needs to which he suggested we look at the Massey Ferguson 4707 Global with a loader.
Upon doing some research into the market the MF 4707 began to appeal to us for many reasons; the simple and efficient cab layout being one of them and compared to its rivals that we looked at, the Massey was the only one that we found to be comfortable enough for any operator.
Myself and Alan were invited to the depot at Holmes Chapel to view an MF 4707 that would have similar specs to ours; we were welcomed with tea and biscuits and felt very happy taking our time to look around the tractor. Oliver was able to answer any questions we had regarding the tractor itself or how it compared to similar tractors on the market. After being convinced by not only the tractor but the depot and aftercare team we agreed to go with the Massey Ferguson 4707”
“From the day we got the tractor we knew we had made the right choice, with an excellent turning circle the tractor steered between our buildings with ease. One of the concerns we had when looking for a new machine was that as we plant pumpkins we need to be able to operate the machine at very slow speeds, however with the simple 12 x 12 gearbox in the Global tractor we found this no problem at all, we simply put the tractor in low box and put it to work! With having a large amount of the general public around we needed something that looked the part and for me there is no more iconic ‘red tractor’ than the Massey Ferguson”.
“The team at Cheshire have been great in looking after us ever since we did the deal on the machine, as I said we were completely tractor-less when Oliver first came to call and we knew with purchasing a new order there would be a lead time however RVW Pughs made sure we always had a machine to use in the meantime and that our business was never effected by the lack of tractor. We have since had the first 50 hour service on the machine which we might have missed had Pughs not been in touch to let us know we were nearing the service time! It’s been a real pleasure to deal with such a professional company who still have the customer as priority, I look forward to doing more business with them in the future.”
Elwyn Jones of E G Jones & Son Ltd from Talgarth, Brecon answers our questions on why he purchased the Merlo TF38-10 and what he thinks of it.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I run a construction company in the Brecon area in Mid Wales, but my brother does farm in the area.
Why choose the Merlo TF38-10? And what did you have before?
I use the Merlo mainly on my construction site. This Merlo TF38-10 is not my first, it is actually my second, and I also have the Merlo P27.6.
I am very impressed with the machine. The cab suspension is brilliant and the hydraulic system is also a key factor. I opted for the best tyres on the machine which was a great decision as I drive on the road. I also want to say that the Thorough Examination is crucial to what we do and I would advise everyone that has a telehandler to book theirs in for one now!
Why RVW Pugh?
RVW Pugh is a great company, the service you get from David Smith, the service team and the parts department is great, you can’t fault them one bit – you can always trust the Pugh’s team.
What are you thinking of purchasing next?
I am saving up for the next big purchase but I am definitely looking at buying attachments for the Merlo!
Here, Patrick from Busby farms in Stafford explains why it’s power and compact size makes the Fendt 211 an integral part of their strawberry harvest.
Was Fendt your first choice when it came to choosing a tractor?
Yes we have had them before and they work well for what we want them for.
How do you find the 211 tractor to drive?
It’s just brilliant, a very smart tractor. Really comfy and nice to drive, I enjoy driving it in comparison to other small, compact tractors.
Do you find the size works well for the job you are doing?
It’s great for us as we mostly use it on topping and spraying for the strawberries. It’s easy to get around, gets into all the small places. For its power I would say it’s very compact, it does not look like it’s got that horsepower when you look at the size.
What is the main job you use the 211 for?
We use it mostly on the strawberry production but it is a great all round tractor. It does most things that we need really. We do about 1500 hours per year with the tractor so its used a lot.
How do you find the Vario transmission?
Very smooth, it’s so lovely to drive. Makes it a pleasure.
What other machines do you drive on the farm?
We also have a Fendt 209 that is a little older but again it’s a good tractor, similar to the 211. We like the Fendts for the fruit. They tread carefully but get the job done.
Do you feel like the power of the tractor is sufficient for your needs?
Yes definitely, it suits us well. Not too much and not too big for what we use it for.
Ross from Edwards of Byton, Court House Farm tells us how they ended up purchasing a new Fendt Rogator 645 sprayer, and what they think of it.
Tell us abit about yourself and the farm (location, what crops you grow…)
We are a mixed family farm in North West Herefordshire on the Welsh border. We have breeding ewes, suckler cows, cereals and potatoes farmed over 1,200 hectares of land.
Why did you choose the Rogator? And are you happy with it’s performance?
We hadn’t considered a Rogator as had ordered a new machine from our previous manufacturer, but I mentioned them in passing to Robert at the Royal Welsh Show last year and within a week a demonstrator machine was in our yard! My sprayer operator was a bit cautious at the start as the machine looked a lot bigger than our previous one but after half an hour with the demonstrator man from Fendt he was convinced it was what he wanted. The performance has been very good and a real step up in output from our previous machine.
Is your driver happy operating the Rogator?
Our driver is very pleased with the machine, it has great driver comfort and relative ease of operation. The cab is a very nice environment to work in and the controls and settings are easy to access. The suspension is very good which leads to the boom stability being excellent which is key, and leads to higher output. It is also very well balanced with the engine in the middle and the aluminium booms. It also has good road speed which is important as our ground is spread out geographically.
What do you think of the service you receive from RVW Pugh?
We have had Fendt tractors for a number of years now so knew we would receive excellent service from both Fendt and RVW Pugh.
What is your next planned purchase?
In his own words, Dan Lydiate tells us how he has found his recent delivery from RVW Pugh’s – an MF 5713 with loader.
“I had delivery of the MF 5713s on July 3rd. It was the first Massey Ferguson we have had on the farm and straight from the outset I was very pleased. As a loader tractor I would be interested to see if there was a better one on the market!”
“When stacking bales or piling up muck your hand doesn’t need to leave the joystick; everything is on there which is so handy! The shuttle forward and back, gear change and all of your loader functions! The cab is very spacious and comfortable and the visibility due to the sloping bonnet around the cab for loader work is top class. Our farm is a traditional hill farm so to have a tractor that packs a punch for its size is exactly what we need. The MF 5713s is 130hp so more than enough power for what we throw at it, but to have that power and manoeuvrabilty to get in and out of smaller sheds is perfect”.
“The simple button on pillar that sends extra oil flow to the loader comes in very handy when you’re solely doing loader work like piling up muck or loading/stacking bales. It means you’re not reving the guts out of the tractor to get the loader to move more quickly, it’s just very responsive when the tractor revs are idle .The loader is also very simple to un hook and hook back on from the tractor when I need a few days mowing or topping”.
“Overall I have been very impressed! It’s a great tractor loader combo!”
Adrian Marsh from Tern Hill, Market Drayton has had nearly 60 Fendts from RVW Pugh. Here he explains why he’s never looked back…
“I’m 51 now and started contracting with my first Ford 7710 tractor when I was 19 and had them until a friend said I should get a Fendt 716 on demo. We tried that from RVW Pugh and never bought another blue one again.
Since then we flirted with a Valtra but didn’t particularly like that. We now run three Fendt 724s, one Fendt 720 and one Fendt 828. I think in total we’ve had nearly 60 Fendts! We also run a small Claas Elios tractor for the horse yard.
For the main contracting work we look for something that the drivers like, quick on the road, easy to drive, ahead in terms of the technology and above all, reliable. We’re serviced by the Holmes Chapel branch and the workshop team are fantastic, they manage to do most of our booked in servicing in the evening or at the weekend when the drivers are having some rest and always respond to any minor breakdown swiftly.
Getting good service and keeping my tractors going is very important to me and even if they are struggling we have always had a replacement until the service guys can catch up. Contracting and driving for a contractor are tough jobs and I think Fendt tractors are the best. Anything that helps us meet and exceed customer expectations can only be a good thing.
All in all, I am very pleased!