For a farmer who has always walked anywhere that his 4×4 wouldn’t go, Gordon Rowlinson has found plenty of jobs for his Kubota RTVX-1110 utility vehicle.
“It’s just so handy, and easy to jump in and out to do gates, when I’m out doing daily checks or feeding ewes before they come in for lambing. The land gets wet in gateways but the RTV doesn’t make a mark,” he comments.
With 200 sheep on 68ha of land scattered around his base at Stubwood Farm, Denstone in Staffordshire, Mr Rowlinson certainly gets about a bit.
Texel-cross Mules have been joined by Zwartbles in recent years as Mr Rowlinson’s partner Margaret became interested in this very lean fleshed breed, and both produce good strong lambs, with 130 twin and 41 trebles born this year in a season which began on 5th March.
As Mr Rowlinson has reached the venerable age of 77, son Clive takes time out from work to help out with the lambing, and increasing the flock size over the last five years has made this financially viable.
The RTV is the second he has sourced from dealer J A Bloor, with whom the Rowlinson family have a long standing and warm relationship, so he was confident of its abilities when he took on his new machine this spring.
“We’ll follow the Landrover when moving ewes in a 14ft trailer, taking the lambs in a smaller trailer behind the RTV, but it’s my main means of transport around the farm. It’s quick enough and feels safe on the local roads, which can be busy.”
Much of the land is very undulating, including running down to the picturesque River Dove, but the RTV’s four-wheel drive and low range, plus independent wheel suspension maintain stability, whether towing a trailer or with a load in the cargo box.
“It goes everywhere and has plenty of clearance on rutted tracks. I feel very comfortable and it’s so convenient to just put a forkful of silage in the back and take it out to the ewes. The cab is spacious and offers good protection from the weather, and the front screen opens if it does get a bit warm.”
The 500kg capacity cargo box has hydraulic tip as standard for easy unloading of materials such as the silage, and its generous size and easy loading height makes it useful for fencing and brush clearance.
“I’m in the RTV every day, and yet it doesn’t use much fuel. Farm work can be hard on vehicles, but the last one went back to Bloors without a scratch on it as they are so well built.”
Having started out with just 30 sheep, Mr Rowlinson clearly has no intention of slowing down, and the RTV is an important part of his armoury.
“I wouldn’t be without it now,” he comments.