Martin Dairy Ltd is one of the South-West's larger milk producers. A family concern, it's owned and run by Richard Martin, his parents Tim and Donna, and sister Emma.
Trethick Farm is located at St Mabyn, in the area between Bodmin, Wadebridge and Camelford, and is home to a 1000-strong dairy herd, with 700 followers, and “a bit of beef,” Richard explains. “In total, we farm around 1700 acres, of which 220 grows winter wheat, 500 is maize, with the rest down to grass for grazing and forage production.
“The soils are fairly forgiving, but will dry out if we get prolonged spells without rain, and the terrain is generally gently sloping, with some of the steeper fields grazed.
“I'm the main tractor driver, with one other driver full-time on field work, but when we're busy we have staff around the dairy who like to be involved in tractor work as they enjoy it and it makes a change. Staff numbers vary accordingly, but over the year would average around 15, full- and part-time.”
A Massey Ferguson tractor first entered the farm's fleet in 2007, when regional dealership Alan Snow in Launceston was awarded the MF franchise. “It was a 6495, which they had been running as a demonstrator,” Richard recalls. “I was really impressed with it and the deal was not to be missed. Everything has been Massey ever since.”
This is evidenced by the farm's current line-up:
2020 MF 8730 S (replacing 2017 MF 7726)
2019 MF 8740 S (2017 MF 7726)
2018 MF 7726 (2016 MF 7626)
2020 MF 7718 ( 2018 MF 7718)
2020 MF 7718 with MF loader (2018 MF 7718)
2018 MF 5709 with loader (2007 MF 5445)
2020 MF 4707 (2018 MF 4707)
2019 MF 4707 (2017 MF 4707)
There's also a new MF 7726 VT NEXT Edition on order.
“Both 4707s have big scrapers on,” Richard explains, “one of the 7718s lives on Keenan, the other does all the running around with the loader, the 5709 is the stockman's tractor for doing his rounds and the four big tractors do most of the fieldwork, slurry and dung.
“The 8740 works on mowing, ploughing, combination drilling, umbilical spreading, baling and cultivations, while the 8730 is back-up for that one and also engaged on slurry tanking, umbilical pumping and buck-raking.
The 7726 is used for raking grass, spraying, fertiliser spreading, ploughing, cultivations and umbilical pumping, while the 7726 is employed on trailer and tanker work, hedge- trimming and dung spreading.
Important considerations for many farmers in this part of the country can be road work and field access. When Richard was weighing the option of trading up to the 8700s, he feared they may be just too big for the locality. “I needn't have worried, though, as the tightness of their turning circle, agility and all-round manoeuvrability mean we can get everywhere with ease,” he states.
“We like the Masseys as a brand because they give us great value for money, and we find them very good on fuel,” Richard reports. “Also, the warranty package is brilliant. We all find them comfortable to drive and they have all the features we need to achieve maximum efficiency.”
Pressed to identify any aspect of the farm's MF fleet that he would change, Richard says: “I'd like to see more storage for drinks, packed lunches, etc. It's little things that make such a difference when you're in a tractor day after day. The 7700s do all we ask of them, but we've had to put on additional tool boxes to meet our needs.”
He adds that the cab suspension on the MF 8700s would benefit the 7700s.
However, Richard has nothing but praise for the part played by Snow's. “They've looked after us incredibly well since we bought our first Massey, which is why we've stayed with the brand.
“While I usually deal with Wayne (sales) or Yvette (service). I've got most of the engineers' numbers in case there's an urgent problem out of hours. Normally, though, if needed, someone is with us within the hour and another tractor offered if it can't be fixed on farm.
“I do feel Snow's go the extra mile for us: nothing is ever too much of a problem, including farm call-outs, where the presence of a helpful, knowledgeable engineer can make a big difference to how the day pans out.”