The first Kubota M5001 tractor to be sold in the UK is hard at work for Oxfordshire beef producer Mike Pearson.
Based at Redlands Farm, Shotteswell, and nearby Peewit farm, Cropredy, Mike Pearson and his father run a herd of 700 cattle to produce high quality beef for its customers. Trading as WJ Pearson & Son, the 700-head, 700-acre grassland operation is spread over two farmsteads, with each operating its own tractors and machinery to handle feeding, bedding and mucking out duties.
“Our focus is on producing the high-quality premium beef that our many varied customers require,” says Mike Pearson. “That criteria dictates that we need robust, reliable tractors to ensure our stock is fed on time, every day of the year to meet our targets for liveweight gains.”
“Doubling up on tractors with loaders avoids having to run between the two farms on a daily basis,” he says. “But it also provides a back-up if something does go wrong.”
The Pearson family favours Hereford and Angus breeds for their high-quality meat and their amiable, docile nature. Youngstock is bought on a monthly basis to ensure a flow of stock runs through the business, to create a plentiful supply of finished cattle for its customers throughout the year.
When it comes to tractors, the Pearsons apply similar logic, choosing Kubota for its build quality and reliable, straightforward nature. The farm’s latest purchase, a 113hp M5111 tractor, represents the fourth consecutive Kubota tractor purchase for WJ Pearson & Son, as it aims to swap its oldest tractor every four years. It is also the farm’s first M5001 Series tractor and also the first M5001 Series to go to work in the UK.
“I bought the M5111 tractor to replace an older M9540 with a loader, while Dad is still running his 2015-model M9960 tractor and loader,” he says. “The Kubota is very dependable, whilst offering mechanical simplicity and fantastic reliability.”
He says that the farm has no requirement for complex machinery full of electronics and driver aids, and this affords a cost-efficient approach to tractor purchasing.
“We don’t spend 12 hours a day in our cabs,” he says. “We run a straightforward beef system that needs us to feed and bed cattle on a daily basis throughout the year. So we rely on our tractors to work every single day.”
“If we’re not taking supplementary feed to cattle roaming on pastures, we’ll be carting bales or dealing with stock that is housed at both farms.”
The Pearsons’ M5111 is equipped with an LA1854 front-end loader, avoiding the need to invest in a telehandler. It has access to a range of attachments including bucket, bale spike, muck grab and pallet forks, which are conveniently swapped from the comfort of the tractor cab thanks to a quick-attach carriage.
“The M5111 brings a lot of subtle improvements over our previous Kubota tractor,” says Mike. “Though I did prefer the lever for the pickup hitch lock compared to the new tractor’s pull-cable behind the seat.”
“The M5111 is a very nimble tractor,” he says. “It has a much better gearbox than the previous model, the cab is roomier and despite needing AdBlue for emissions, it seems to use much less fuel than my previous Kubota tractor.”
“I also like the transmission lock lever, in addition to having a handbrake lever, and the left-hand shuttle control is nice to use too.”
This aside, he says the new tractor is a step forward without adding cost and complexity. Bought in June 2017, the M5111 has already clocked up 300 hours, and is on course to cover 1,000 hours/year.
“Our field work is limited to pasture topping and bale haulage – we use contractors where possible so we can focus on rearing livestock,” he says. “We have a lot of traditional buildings where space is tight and gaining access can be a challenge, but the portal front axle gives us the high degree of manoeuvrability we need. These tractors can turn so tightly, they are incredible.”
“For us, the Kubota tractors do everything that we need,” adds Mike. “It’s just that the M5111 now does it with a little more comfort and convenience.”