Tractor used in India marketed to British fruit growers as suitable for orchards

An easy-to-use tractor from India is being marketed to British fruit growers for the first time.

Martin Richards, owner of Martin Richards Tractors, imports Tractors & Farm Equipment's (TAFE) orange, flat-bonneted version of the Massey Ferguson tractor to the UK from India.

He told Grower that it was an ideal tractor for fruit growers because it was easy to use. Farm workers need little training in how to handle it and its size makes it suitable for working in orchards.

He said: "There's still a big market for a low-specification tractor. Tractors are used for ten months of the year now in orchards. It's identical to the Massey Ferguson tractors that virtually all of the fruit farms have got and have had for the past 50 years, since the 1960s. There's no difference.

"But the Massey Fergusons are no longer available because they stopped making them in 2002. There's been nothing to replace them until now.

"We have been importing them for 14 years but this is the first time we have promoted them to the fruit industry. We realised there was a niche in the market when my colleague wanted a small, basic tractor to put his fork-lift onto.

"We import them from India. Their biggest market is there because many of their users are in rural villages with no mechanical expertise available."

Richards showcased the tractor at the National Fruit Show in October, when he teamed up with two other machinery dealers new to the sector - George McNeil Designs fork-lifts and Swift Trailers.

McNeil Designs is promoting a New Zealand-designed fork-lift named Hustler VMX12, which he claimed was designed in such a way to give good visibility to operators. It has gaps in the sides so drivers to see where they are going as they transport bulk bins.

Swift Trailers showcased its trailer wheels and axles to fruit growers looking for a sturdy base on which to transport portable toilets and wash basins. Representative Barry McCooey told Grower: "Supermarkets now require (portable toilets and basins) to be set up in the picking areas.

"We have been building them for about three years and started doing so for salad growers, but a fruit grower was interested this year."

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