Hedging your bets

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Contractor Chris Oakes keeps hundreds of miles of road-side and field-side hedges neat and tidy for customers around Over Alderley, Cheshire. It’s a workload that dovetails with fencing and excavator work as part of his business, C&K Oakes, which relies heavily on just one tractor to carry out key tasks.

“I’d bought a larger hedgecutter through my local Kubota dealer Cheshire Farm Machinery, which brought more reach,” he explains. “It wasn’t long before I realised that a slightly bigger tractor would be much better for stability. So I took the opportunity to invest, which modernised and future-proofed my business.”

He settled on a Kubota M6-132 which brought a longer wheelbase and more horsepower than the model it replaced. But just as important for Chris, it came with a comprehensive manufacturer warranty, backed up by Cheshire Farm Machinery’s reputation for great customer service.

“A five-year warranty was a deal maker, which gives me peace of mind with fixed ownership costs,” he says. “No more nasty surprises – though the tractor hasn’t missed a beat since it arrived in October 21.”

Chris likes the tractor’s beefy rear axle and three-point linkage, which he says also handles his fence-post knocker with ease. And he reckons the tractor’s 6.1-litre four-cylinder engine is gutsy, while being very easy on fuel.

“This M6 is very well balanced and with the PA5555 hedgecutter, it just doesn’t move about,” he says. “And when I need a high degree of manoeuvrability, for example working into corners, the tractor’s portal front axle lets it turn very tightly.”

“The tractor runs smoothly and quietly, needing just 900rpm on the clock with the 1,000-speed PTO driving the flail head. This gives me tremendous fuel efficiency, burning just 5.5 litres of diesel/hour.”

“And with my 2.8m flail mower, the tractor has enough grunt to operate in economy pto.”

Chris has high praise for the M6-132 tractor, which has clocked up almost 600 hours in 15 months.

“The cab suspension and front axle suspension give a really nice ride, and the LED work lights are superb,” he says. “I love the cab – it has plenty of room and a great view when hedgecutting. But the best feature for me is the brake-to-neutral function. It’s an ideal way to control the tractor’s forward speed when I need to go really slow.”

To improve visibility to the flail head on wet days, Cheshire Farm Machinery installed a windscreen wiper assembly from the side window of a telehandler, to the tractor’s nearside door.

“Cheshire Farm Machinery and its staff have been very easy to deal with, and very helpful too,” he says. “And the door-mounted windscreen wiper solution is a superb example that is very specific to my needs. It sweeps a large area of the door glass, and makes my life easier.”

“I just can’t fault the tractor at all – it does exactly what I want, and it does it all perfectly,” says Chris. “And it’s all backed up a great dealer that provides excellent customer service.”

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