For Staffordshire dairy farming business LTL Partners, the switch to a front and rear-mounted mower conditioner also brought a change in tractor power, as a Kubota M7-152 with front linkage and front PTO, took up the frontline mantle.
Supplied by JA Bloor Agriservices, the M7152 has proved so successful, that the 360-acre family farm has now added a second M7 model – this time, an M7153 Premium, to replace a smaller Kubota MGX model.
“Having two tractors of the same size and power means we’re comfortably on top of our horsepower requirements across the farm,” explains Alex Ede who farms at Lower Tean Leys near Stoke-on-Trent with wife Felicity and father-in-law Tony Prince.
“Both are able to manage silage and arable workloads with ease, and that includes using our five-furrow plough and 4m power harrow drill combination, in addition to mowing, tedding and raking,” says Alex, pictured with wife Felicity.
He reports that the M7153 is handy on the clamp with a front-mounted buckrake, while the M7152 with its front pto, is adept at handling the farm’s front/rear 6m mower conditioner combination.
“Having a front and rear combination took a bit of getting used to, but it’s created a big step-up with efficiency,” he says. “We’re also making better use of tractor power too.”
LTL Partners aims to mow 200 acres for first cut, with up to three further cuts taken during the season, where weather and regrowth allows.
“Where it used to take most of the day to mow 100 acres for silage, it can now be done comfortably in a few hours thanks to our 6m combination on one of the M7’s,” says Alex. “We can now start mowing later to make the most of sugars, with the aim of improving the digestibility of our forage.”
Both M7 tractors also simplify cab-hopping for any member of the LTL team, with familiarity of controls being a benefit. Both models are equipped with powershift transmissions, and the 150hp tractors also offer a 20hp boost with transport and PTO work, lifting peak performance to 170hp when needed.
“Tractor stability is great with any implement, as is visibility and comfort,” he says. “Yes, the Premium specification takes a bit more setting up, but its 7in K-Monitor and electric spools are far nicer to use than the other model’s mechanical spools.”
He says that working around the farm buildings for example when feeding rations to the 235-cow herd, the M7 is agile and manoeuvrable, and father-in-law Tony Prince agrees.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how good these tractors are,” says Tony Prince. “Both are really gutsy, thanks to a big four-cylinder engine, and both tractors are covered by a decent manufacturer warranty.”
“With JA Bloor Agriservices just a couple of miles down the road, we also know the service, support and backup is first class,” he says. “It’s the most dedicated we’ve been to one tractor brand.”