Specialist fruit uses found for narrow tractors

Kent soft-fruit grower Jon Holt-Rix has used a Kubota B2420 to mow between and underneath rows of tabletop strawberries, bought a second model and plans to add a third over the winter.

He said other small tractors lack the power to operate the Kirkland mower. "Most were more like ride-on mowers." But while powerful, the Kubota is "very manoeuvrable around tight access to the tunnels and fits comfortably down the rows".

Holt-Rix's Kelsey Farms grows 15ha of Jubilee strawberries as well as 32ha of pot-grown raspberries, around which the tractors are also able to spray and mow.

Meanwhile, a pair of Fendt specialist narrow tractors are helping to establish the Rathfinny estate in East Sussex, one of the largest current vineyard plantings.

The tractors, a 70hp Fendt 207F Vario and 110hp Fendt 211V Vario, are being used for mowing, cultivation, spraying and transport as well as supplementary watering of the young vines in combination with a 2,000-litre bowser already used to help establish a shelterbelt of indigenous hedge plants and trees planted last year.

According to vineyard manager Cameron Roucher: "I first used Fendt tractors when working on vineyards in Australia and New Zealand. The Vario transmission promotes highly accurate spray applications and is a great help also when hitching up to implements."

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