Long-established Kubota main dealer, George Browns Ltd, with six branches across central and eastern England, has supplied a pair of Kubota M7171 tractors to a local contractor
Long-established Kubota main dealer, George Browns Ltd, with six branches across central and eastern England, has supplied a pair of Kubota M7171 tractors to a local contractor, the first of their type to be ordered and delivered in Europe.
The first two Kubota M7-series tractors have been supplied to a local contractor by main dealer George Browns. George Browns agricultural manager Roger Freeman (right) is pictured handing the keys to James Jolliffe at the dealer’s Chesham depot.
James Jolliffe, whose business provides construction, fencing, hedge cutting and groundwork services, is based near Cholesbury, Bucks and serves customers within an hour’s car drive of his base although sometimes the specialist services he provides can take his teams further afield.
Kubota launched its new large M7-series tractors in 2014. Designed to suit the needs of farmers and agricultural contractors and manufactured at a brand new facility near Calais in France which commenced operation late in 2015, the 3-model range offers power outputs up to 170hp, and a choice of power-shift or CVT transmission, and features such as a hydraulic lift capacity of 9t allow them to compete with other mainline tractors.
“We have always had an excellent relationship with George Browns,” explained James, “and the two tractors replaced by the Kubotas were supplied by the dealer about five years ago. They have been reliable and performed well, but when the franchise was transferred to a dealer further away, and Kubota announced that it was developing higher-horsepower tractors we were naturally interested, knowing we could rely on our local dealer for back-up. We had the opportunity to try out a prototype version of the new tractor, which was still under development, in 2014, and it impressed us and seemed to have everything we needed.
“Our previous 160hp tractors had mechanical transmissions, whereas our new tractors have CVT transmissions and 10hp more. With performance comparable we felt that CVT would offer advantages, particularly because one machine will spend nine months of the year on a hedgecutter, and both tractors will be doing a lot of road work.”
Although James’ two previous mainline tractors were another brand, he has been a Kubota customer for many years and operates two tracked excavators; a 2 and an 8t version, a Kubota compact tractor and a dumper. “We are used to Kubota’s reliability and were confident that the new tractors would perform as they are designed to,” he said.
Both tractors will be equipped with front loaders when stocks arrive in the UK and, while one is hedge cutting for up to 10hrs/day, 6 days per week, the other will be used to transport the excavators between sites and move aggregate with a large dump trailer. Other tasks include operating a post-knocker for long periods, erecting horse paddocks and livestock fencing.
Kubota area service manager Mick Hancock (right) explains features of the machines to Ben Farnel – James’ foreman and one of the tractor’s main operators. Ben travelled with James to Germany to try out the prototype tractor, as James was keen to have an operator’s opinion before committing to the new models.
A week after taking delivery, James said the tractors have had limited use, but, so far, they are impressing operators. “We have had one hauling heavy loads and the CVT transmission is proving well up to the job and the drivers are commenting on how smooth and quiet they are to drive,” he said. “We weren’t looking at CVT originally, but it seemed to make sense from an operator perspective and the upgrade was cost-effective, and I am pleased we have it now.”
The tractors are protected by a 5-year, 5,000hr manufacturer warranty which, James said, is reassuring and, with a service package agreed with George Browns, he said he knows exactly how much the tractors will cost to own and run over the next four years. “We tend to update our tractors every four years, and the 5-year warranty means we will be able to trade them in with the benefit of a warranty in place, and that should help resale values,” he said.
George Brown’s agricultural manager Roger Freeman said the new Kubota tractors are superb with the specification needed to compete with other major brands. “They are the right size and horsepower to suit a large section of the market and, for James Jolliffe’s business, will be ideal, – the CVT transmission providing excellent control for hedge cutting and making them easy to drive on the road. James is based locally to us and wanted the local service we provide and we are delighted that he has chosen to replace his two previous tractors supplied by us with these new models.”