Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ Thainstone Centre is the agri-hub for the north-east of Scotland. Part of the ANM Group and located at Inverurie, it offers three purpose-built sale rings and has temporary accommodation for 3,000 cattle or 14,000 sheep – or a combination of both.
Straw-bedded lairage accommodation also provides generous rest for livestock travelling longer distances. All of which puts the emphasis firmly on logistics and support.
“It is why we run a fleet of three tractors equipped with loaders,” explains vehicle and machinery manager John Roy. “We move hay, straw and silage for the Mart, to look after livestock that are on-site for sale days, and with two farms also owned by the ANM Group totalling 400 acres of grassland, there’s plenty for our tractors to do.”
The latest to join the fleet is a Kubota M7-153 powershift, complete with a five-year, 5,000-hour warranty. Supplied by HRN Tractors, the M7-153 also comes with a Quicke Q5M loader and MX front linkage, extending versatility.
“Aside from a 45-year old yard tractor, all our tractors run with a loader,” says John. “It makes each outfit self-sufficient when loading and unloading trailers – either here at the Mart, or at either of our two farms. All have access to the same range of attachments, which includes forks, buckets, spikes and bale squeezers.”
Field work is limited to top dressing, muck and slurry spreading, rolling and trailer duties. Though tractors will still clock-up, on average some 1,200 hours/year, and tyre wear is one of the biggest running costs that John Roy faces.
“Tyre wear can be punishing,” he says. “But it goes with the territory. Maybe we need to look at more road-biased block-tread tyres in the future.”
“The M7 is now our most powerful tractor, and we chose the 153 model for its 20hp boost,” explains John. “Moving feed and stock means there’s a lot of roadwork between our farms and the Mart. Having that power boost makes the job easier and more efficient, and it also helps to reduce journey times with loaded flatbeds or livestock floats.”
Established in 1872, ANM Group operates as a co-operative, with over 5,000 members. The Group plays a major role in Scotland’s agricultural economy and is one of the largest and most progressive farmer-owned agri-businesses in the UK, with annual sales of £150 million, an asset base of around £30 million and shareholder funds in excess of £17 million.
Diversification has seen the Group spread its auction capabilities into land markets, non-agricultural auctions, plus the catering/hospitality industry. Though it remains committed to its core business of livestock marketing, with the Thainstone and Caithness Marts selling around 300,000 sheep and 100,000 cattle each year.
For John Roy and his team, choosing the M7-153 Kubota provides the very latest in emissions technology and fuel efficiency, while enhancing road safety.
“Having a 50kph capability brings air brakes too,” he says. “We operate with defect books, and regularly carry out safety checks with tractors and trailers. High- and low-level trailer lighting is essential, as both operator and public safety is paramount to the success of our business.”