Flip! Pancake Day sees the UK consume over 52 million eggs - that’s 22 million more than usual.
Among those producing these essentials for the nation’s pancake fest is Devon farmer Ben Rowland who has just bought an MF 5713 S to tackle the myriad jobs on his mixed farm. “My wife Catherine says it’s an early 40th birthday present for me!” laughs Ben.
The Rowlands are first generation farmers and established the business 11 years ago on an 85 acre local council farm - starting with one chicken shed, 3000 hens and 50 sheep. A lot of hard work later and the new enterprise is doing well. The flock has doubled in size, producing around 1.8 million eggs per year, and there are now 200 ewes and 130 beef cattle grazing the lush Devon pasture. On top of that, the couple have been able to buy another 35 acres and rent a further 50. “There’s no doubt that what you put in is what you get out,” says Ben.
“For the poultry side of the business, we focus on specialist egg production,” he explains. “We currently have Old Cotswold Legbar hens which produce a distinctive pale blue shell with a rich, creamy yolk. This means we can achieve a premium price, rather than competing in the commodity brown egg market. People absolutely love them.”
The new 130hp MF 5713 S (Efficient version) was bought from local Massey Ferguson dealer, Alan Snow, along with an MF FL.3823 loader. With their expanding business, this multi-purpose combination is helping to set the Rowlands up for the future and is due to replace an ageing tractor and telehandler.
“Having bought the new ground which is five miles away, it was clear that our old kit was not going to cope with the expansion and the increased amount of work and running around,” Ben comments.
The versatility of the MF 5713 S was one of the main attractions. “We needed a good all-rounder to tackle our loader work and field operations,” he continues. “The steep nose was essential to provide the visibility we need when working with the loader. We use it for feeding and bedding cattle and sheep, clearing and loading bales, dealing with the chicken dung and moving pallets. A pallet of eggs is worth over £1000 so you need to see what you are doing!”
As well as being an agile and dependable loader tractor, at 130hp, the MF 5713 S with Dyna-4 transmission delivers all the power required to drive the multitude of equipment on the farm – everything from the mower, tedder, bale and grain trailers to the bale unroller and dung spreader. “It’s a good machine to work with and provides comfort, speed of operation, a great gearbox, reliability and economical running costs,” Ben remarks. “I did a lot of background reading to see what was available on the market. The MF dealer, Alan Snow has a good reputation around here and their representative, Alan Lake was very helpful and quick to answer all our questions. It’s a cracking tractor.”