In pursuit of quality

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“I had been looking at Kubota tractors for years,” explains Dave Bourne who runs the 600-acre Pool Farm at Bickerton near Malpas, Cheshire, with his brother Robert. “And this latest M6002 series is one of those models I’ve been waiting for.”

Trading as Bournes of Bickerton, the family farm prides itself on producing and supplying high-quality beef. In addition to maintaining its main-stream supply contracts finishing Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle, the farm also supplies several animals each week to local outlet Cheerbrook Farm Shop at Nantwich.

“We moved from dairy to beef a few years back, and now we keep 400 head, supported with 1,000 ewes on winter keep,” explains Dave. “It’s all about creating high quality produce for our customers, and that ethos is applied to everything we do, and also what we buy.”

The farm’s Kubota M6-132 arrived the beginning of January 2022, chosen as for its modest size but packing a good punch and impressive manoeuvrability that could handle yard and field work with ease.

Supplied by Cheshire Farm Machinery, the tractor is now considered a capable all-rounder, and is as comfortable with a 4m Dyna Drive cultivator as it is hauling silage trailers or powering a high capacity trailed bale shredder.

“We grow a mix of grass, whole crop, maize and stubble turnips, so there’s always plenty of field work going on throughout the year,” he adds. “We do have a more powerful six-cylinder tractor, but the only additional work it does over the M6 is ploughing.”

Dave recalls his initial concerns about the tractor perhaps being clumsy around the yard were soon dispelled.

“That portal front axle lets it work in some really tight spots around the buildings,” he says. “And it’s even better in the field when you engage Bi-speed turn on stubbles – it turns in such a small space that you can leave really tight headlands, and those 600-wide rear Michelins help with traction and ride comfort.”

“The M6 also has a really beefy back end,” says Dave. “It’s certainly well-engineered – built for the job, I reckon. It’s done some buck raking, we’ve sub-soiled with it using a three-leg Flat-lift and I’d really like to see how it handles ploughing. That 6.1-litre engine is gutsy.”

With 500 hours under its belt, Dave says the honeymoon period is over, and its enabled him to provide an honest assessment of the farm’s latest tractor purchase.

“You can’t see the time and engine hours simultaneously on the dashboard – you have to switch between them,” he says. “And the DEF gauge is premature at throwing up a low-level warning. Both are minor details, and don’t spoil what is essentially a very good tractor backed up by a great dealer.”

“Ride comfort is superb thanks to the combination of front axle suspension and cab suspension, and the hydraulics are great too – both in lift capacity and spool flow,” says Dave. “From what we’ve experienced so far, it’s unlikely to be our last Kubota.”

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