Produce is stored on site and graded and packed at Prime Produce (a business jointly owned with Great Cheveney Farm) ready for national distribution. They also farm a significant acreage of vineyards with Taittinger, the first champagne house to plant vines in the UK.
With a total of 900acres of fruit production, the enterprise is highly mechanised with a total of 32 tractors, seven of which are mainly employed on sprayer duties - the remainder are small units, mainly Valpadanas for bin-pulling and mowing. Maintenance and servicing of the fleet is carried out on-site by two full-time mechanics. Changes to the main tractor brand of late is reflecting the company’s needs to utilise equipment that is simple to maintain, reliable and returns a good residual value. Mark Gaskain points out “we’ve gone over to Burden Bros Agri for their John Deere products because they are now much simpler and more reliable and much easier to service and maintain compared with other brands we have used. Simplicity means there is less to go wrong, improved reliability and less problems compared with tractors with lots of electronics. We just want a good, reliable performer without all the gimmicks.”
Recent tractor acquisitions have included two John Deere 5090GN (90hp) tractors and five John Deere GF models including a 5080 (80hp), 5085 (85hp) and 5090 (90hp) specialty tractors. The GN version has an operating width of 1.257 - 1.822mm while the GF model has an operating width of 1.303 - 1.951mm.