Kubota tractors have long been the horsepower of choice at the David Broome Event Centre, a family business begun by the father of Olympic showjumper David, and now run in conjunction with sons James and Matthew.
Located near Chepstow, the 70 acre showground hosts equestrian competitions from ‘grass roots’ to two-star international level. At its heart are 20,000 sqm of state-of-the-art all-weather riding arenas, which can be divided up into seven or eight smaller competition rings, and are kept pristine with regular grading, using productive specialist harrows pulled by Kubota tractors.
The sand-and-fibre arena surface even has a computerised watering system which irrigates from below to maintain the most consistent surface for high level dressage and show jumping.
Extensive car park and surrounding areas are maintained with a Kubota tractor and topper and the family also makes haylage on a further 90 acres.
“We’ve had Kubotas for about 15 years,” explains David. “I spotted them at the Royal Welsh Show and liked the fact that the tractors can combine four-wheel drive, turf tyres and a sliding hitch as we use a lot of trailers to move showjumps, clear muck etc. They are also very straightforward which is important as any member of staff needs to be able to drive them.”
Newport based Kubota dealer Hopkins Machinery provides service back-up and David comments that the two family businesses have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship.
“We get personal service and they are a great team. When you have a busy competition programme as we do, good back-up is essential.”
With up to 1000 hours use per annum, tractors tend to be changed every three years, and this spring two new M4 series models joined the existing M105 in the fleet.
“The bigger tractor is used mainly for trailer work,” explains Matthew Broome, “While the M4063 and M4073 have a bit more power than their predecessors and do most jobs from topping, harrowing and rolling to turning hay with our new Kubota tedder.”
He comments that the tight turning circle offered by the tractors is a real advantage when grooming the arena surface during a competition, allowing them to work conveniently around the showjumps.
“They are powerful but not too big, and they look really good too, which is important as we draw large crowds to many of our events.”
Kubota’s straightforward 18×18 transmission offers six perfectly matched gears in three ranges, and David comments that the latest system shifts smoothly into low ranges when required.
“We don’t often need four-wheel drive as the traction is so good in the wet, but it’s very effective when needed. We occasionally have to tow lorries out in bad conditions and the M105X is ideal for that.”
“We specified grass tyres on the 67hp M4063 as it does most of its work in the arena, and on the specialist all-weather surface this avoids scuffing.”
The 105hp M105X offers benefits more usually associated with large agricultural tractors, such as front axle suspension and an air seat, but Matthew points out that all of the Kubotas have excellent specification levels.
“The driver comfort is very good, especially the air conditioning. I wouldn’t be without it now, as it makes a big difference to driver fatigue over a long day.”
Good resale values are also appreciated, although the tractors are clearly carefully driven and well looked after at the David Broome Event Centre.
“Our main driver Hayley has worked for us since she left school, and is very experienced with machinery. We are able to say that they have had ‘one careful lady driver’!” says David.