Norfolk contract farming business Albanwise Farming Ltd has just taken delivery of eight new John Deere tractors worth in the region of £1 million, from dealer Ben Burgess Aylsham.
Albanwise Farming’s new John Deere tractor fleet at Saxlingham, with the farm operators and (front, left to right) Mark Smith of John Deere Limited, Barton Bendish farm manager Richard Bailey, Ben Burgess dealer salesman David Curtis, Norfolk farms director Tom Dye and Ben Burgess group managing director Ben Turner.
These are Albanwise’s first John Deere tractors, and the deal followed what Norfolk farms director Tom Dye describes as “probably the most comprehensive review of the company’s tractor fleet ever undertaken.” Bought on a three-year John Deere Financial programme, the new fleet consists of three 6150R medium frame tractors, two 6190R and one 6210R large frame models, and two bigger 8R Series tractors, an 8310R and an 8335R.
All bar one model feature AutoPowr stepless transmissions, for greater fuel efficiency and more productive field work compared with the farms’ previous manual transmission tractors. The whole fleet is also fitted with JDLink telematics machine monitoring and full tractor security systems.
These will be working on Albanwise’s all-arable enterprises at Saxlingham and Barton Bendish, which have been built up since the late 1980s and each cover around 1900ha, growing chiefly wheat, winter and spring barley and oilseed rape, plus sugar beet, vining peas, French beans and field beans.
“We started the new fleet selection process about two years ago, and ended up looking in detail at five different manufacturers with servicing dealers in the area,” says Tom Dye. “The choice was based on three distinct criteria, all equally important overall – the product, especially in terms of quality and reliability; dealer service and parts back-up; and the financial package.
“We would normally replace our tractors at between 5000 and 6000 hours, which usually equates to around five or six years, but I genuinely wanted to see if we were doing the right thing by sticking to the same make each time. We wanted to have a more integrated system of GPS technology in the fleet, for example, and I was aware that John Deere is ahead of the game in this particular area.
“On the engine side, I was also attracted by the company’s current single fuel strategy. To me this has more practical benefits on farm, especially in terms of productivity, and after a series of product demonstrations I felt confident that the John Deere engines are the best for fuel efficiency and reliable performance. The 210hp 6210R model in particular was the stand-out tractor for me during the whole demonstration process.
“I particularly like its power to weight ratio. It’s a genuine multi-functional tractor, light enough to put down a tramline but heavy enough to pull a six-furrow reversible plough. In fact this 6210R model has now replaced a 300hp tractor for this job.
“We were really looking for something in this middle range, and of all the tractors that we tried in this horsepower bracket, John Deere was the only make that coped well enough with all the tasks that we wanted the tractors to perform. Essentially the bigger 8R models will just be used for heavy cultivations, while the rest of the fleet had to have the ability to do anything and everything across both farms.
“Overall I was very impressed with John Deere throughout the whole process, from the dealer’s sales and service managers through to John Deere’s training and technical staff – they couldn’t have been more helpful.”
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