Award winning pig farm relies on Kubota machinery to support business growth
When Neil Richardson started his career in agricultural machinery, he began by joining an apprenticeship programme at a local dealership which equipped him with knowledge, understanding and a passion for mechanics. Six years ago, however, Neil saw an opportunity and a gap in his local market. He decided to create his own business, repairing farm machinery. He eventually teamed up with Kubota and set up a franchise in an effort to future-proof this business.
With six full-time members of staff and stocking a series of Kubota MGX-IV and M7-series tractors, NR Agri LTD currently works with farmers from across Norfolk. One such customer is North Norfolk-based pig farmer, Michael Baker, owner of North Farm Livestock.
North Farm Livestock was founded in 1982 and initially operated as an indoor pig producer. The business moved to outdoor production in the 1990’s as part of a pioneering trail, and subsequently expanded its outdoor breeding and finishing operations to become a key supplier of free-range Hampshire pig products to a major UK based supermarket
Five years ago, Michael visited his local machinery dealership to try and find a machine that could best support his businesses growth. He was impressed by Kubota’s reputation for producing comfortable, reliable machines, as well as the flexibility offered to purchase the machine on a 0% interest finance option. This made Kubota an easy choice. Since then, Michael and his team have continued to return to NR Agri LTD and have gone on to purchase no fewer than nine Kubota M-Series tractors.
When asked about his priorities when it comes to machinery, Michael remarked: “For a pig-focused farming business, one of the things we look out for is a reliable tractor with a good service dealer. It is important that if something breaks, the machine needs to be ready and working on the same day.”
In most situations NR Agri Ltd conducts necessary repairs on the farm itself, having the relevant vans and equipment to do so. “The parts from Kubota have been very good – and covered with an excellent warranty,” commented Neil. “90% of the parts can be arranged overnight and we know what to stock to be prepared for most of the situations that arise. When there’s a more serious problem – Kubota is always ready and willing to jump in to get the customer out of the mud quickly,” he concluded.
When asked about what else attracted his business to Kubota as a brand, Michael said, “the Kubota has got a very big cab – even with the second seat included. Out on the job, pig farmers often have to go out in twos and the cab ticks all the boxes here.”
“The flat floor is also a massive bonus here – it’s easy to keep clean and good for our safety. As livestock farmers, we often have to disinfect the cab and there aren’t too many awkward corners where muck can get stuck and pose a hazard.”
Michael was also impressed by the outside of the Kubota machines, claiming: “I still remember the day when I first visited the dealership – the Kubota MGX variant at the time had a sealed axle and this, for me, was one of the biggest selling points as I had had issues with this key component on some of our older equipment – water and grime gets into the bearings all too easily otherwise and then you’re set up for disaster.”
Neil was quick to point out that Kubota’s Japanese heritage and engineering approach was a key aspect of this particular feature: “I’ve worked on tractors before that have had issues with the front axle because it wasn’t sealed. Because the machines have been designed in Japan, they are built to operating in difficult terrain conditions such as rice paddies.”
Over the years, North Farm Livestock has had many successes, most recently winning Pig Farmer of the Year at the Farmers Weekly awards. As his business expands, Michael is hoping to add new equipment to his line-up soon and with the support he has seen locally from Neil and his team at NR Agri Ltd, his decision on where to buy will be an easy one.
Kubota’s extended warranty offering on select models and support for over 3,000 hours of service are just two more reasons to return and speak directly to the maintenance cost worries for many modern farmers. Neil remarked: “There’s comfort in knowing how much a machinery purchase is going to cost you. It is also worth pointing out that with every new purchase, the warranty that comes included as part of the package is a manufacturer’s based warranty and not an insurance one.”
“People don’t like change, but the warranty helped me to buy with confidence and Kubota is a brand that I know I can trust,” Michael concluded.