Bringing Technology To Perform - Hatfeild Farms

Adding a new John Deere 6155R tractor to the fleet for Hatfeild Farms on the Isle of Thanet has meant a change in policy instead of hiring-in a tractor for the busy season.

With just under 400 hectares on chalk loam, the cropping plan includes around 80ha of potatoes (salad and maincrop), 50ha winter beans, 40ha winter oats, 170ha winter wheat, 17ha forage maize and 25ha oil seed rape. Tractor power has been John Deere throughout and the enterprise still runs their 1995 model 6400 in the yard - with 13,400 hours on it, their 1996 model 6800 with 14,300hrs, a 2005 model 6820 with 10,840hrs, a 2011 model 6930 with 9,530hrs and the new 6155R that arrived this Spring. They also run a John Deere 732i trailed sprayer which integrates perfectly with their tractor fleet.

Farm Manager, Graham Cotterill commented, “We’ve found the John Deere’s to be really reliable and they just keep on going, which is why we keep them because in reality it’s cheap horsepower. We used to hire-in a tractor during the busy period which would cost us around nine thousand pounds, but because the older tractors keep on going, we just added a new one to the fleet and that negated the need for hiring. It’s turned out to be a far more cost effective decision.”

Hatfeild Farms took delivery of the 6155R from Burden Bros Agri - it was the very first model of its type with the new CommandPro control on AutoPowr transmission - for the 6155R range. They have also installed John Deere RTK integrated solutions on the 6155R to work alongside the SF1 system which they have kept on the 6930 - which is mainly used for fertiliser and chemical applications.

I think the choices of the 6155R with AutoPower, Command Arm, the RTK technology and the Power Hydraulic TopLink, have all been excellent decisions which helps us to maintain efficiency in crop production and cost effectiveness.”

“For potato planting and harvesting work, you just can’t beat the AutoPower transmission,” commented tractor driver Peter Cavill. “It’s also great with the heavy-duty cultivation work, where we use a ‘Topdown’ as it enables us to choose the perfect working speed according to soil and ground conditions. Once you’ve used AutoPower, you will never want to drive a tractor without it. It’s just perfect for us.”

Hatfeild Farms have their own maintenance man who takes care of all the machinery maintenance and servicing. However, with the latest acquisition of the 6155R, they decided to take on the John Deere PowerGard extended warranty, mainly because of the technical specifications that could be more challenging to maintain without manufacturer training. Every level of specification is now protected through the extended warranty scheme. Added Graham, “The complexity of specifications on these newer machines means that through manufacturer training, the technicians at Burden Bros Agri are kept up to date on all the latest technologies, which can provide us as operators with highly beneficial resources. When investing in this level of technology, we can identify ‘to-the-penny,’ exactly what the maintenance costs will be through the planned working life of the tractor, without any nasty unexpected breakdown costs. Everything is included and as we start to get used to technologies such as JD Link, we will be able to find new ways of cutting operating costs, comparing our tasks with other operators doing the same job.”

One additional extra that Peter Cavill decided to incorporate on his new 6155R was the Power-Hydraulic TopLink. “It’s much easier for Peter to hitch the big pieces of equipment such as cultivators and harvesters,” added Graham. “without breaking your back. I think the choices of the 6155R with AutoPower, Command Arm, the RTK technology and the Power Hydraulic TopLink, have all been excellent decisions which helps us to maintain efficiency in crop production and cost effectiveness.” he concluded.

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