P & J Leighfield invest in Kubota

Kubota RTV saves precious time

Combining dairy farming and contracting into one successful business often means moving at speed through a hectic day for Paul and Julie Leighfield and sons Richard and Edward.

For all the large-scale machinery at their fingertips, they nonetheless foresaw a need for something nippy that could ferry them and their tools quickly around their 200-acres at Upper Seagry near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. The answer, they decided, lay in a Kubota RTV X-1110 from Lister Wilder’s nearby Bibury depot.

The all-new multi-purpose vehicle offers greater power and more versatility thanks to a powerful and economical 24.2 HP Kubota 3-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine. Thanks to its unique drive train arrangement, it goes where other utility vehicles can’t and get’s there in infinite safety courtesy of innovative variable hydrostatic transmission and dynamic engine braking. With its rapid acceleration and gripping traction, it can stop and then resume climbing without the need for braking.

Ergonomically designed for effortless operation and optimum driver and passenger comfort, the RTV X-1110 features deluxe split-bench seats, digital easy-read instrument panel, and under-seat storage with full ROPS protection designed for easy access to a hydraulic cargo tipping bed.

The Leighfields’ dairy farm has 120 milking cows at the heart of a business that has expanded successfully into contracting. The family team offers its contracting customers a range of services including silage making using a self-propelled forager while also running a baler making round and square bales. Through a typical farming year, the Leighfields will also handle hay making, tanker-based slurry spreading and full ground works from ploughing through to cultivating, rolling and drilling. They also find time for hedge cutting and ditching.

Paul had long experience as a herdsman when he and Julie decided to apply for a tenancy to ensure their long-term future in the industry they love. They got the second tenancy they applied for – at Lyneham in Wiltshire – and worked there for ten years before moving to their current 150-acre farm at Upper Seagry in 2005. Further private lets takes their total holding to some 200 acres.

Soon, Richard and Edward piled their energy into the business and contracting became possible on a bigger scale. “Though I had worked for a long time as a herdsman, I have always been involved with machinery, so we did our own ground work from the start and took on silage making as one of a group of four farmers sharing one bit of kit,” says Paul. “Nowadays, we work for dozens of farmer customers and cover a radius of up to 20 miles.”

The sheer success of their contracting business soon posed them a big question. “We got to a point where we actually asked ourselves whether we should give up the cows because we needed more time,” admits Paul. “But then we bought ourselves a milking parlour in a farm sale, got it re-galvanised and installed, and it’s totally transformed our operation. We can now do the milking in an hour as opposed to two-and-a-half hours previously, which means we can be on site for a contracting customer by 8am when we need to be.”

It adds up to a “ludicrously busy” schedule at key times of year but, with Julie able to run the milking parlour on her own if need be, they cope very well.

It does, however, mean that time spent around the farm is precious – and and that’s where the Kubota RTV comes in. “We had been after one for a time but never done much about it until Richard happened to meet Bryn Kinsman (Area Sales Manager) from Lister Wilder,” says Paul. “Now I’m glad we did! We use it in the main to get around the farm setting out electric fencing, but the fact that it’s road legal also means that it can be used to ferry spares when we are out contracting. The load capacity is great for fencing and ditching equipment, and for transporting fresh batteries for sheep keep.”

He adds: “In the summer, we use it three of four times a day checking on sheep that we take in to graze. And if you have a cow that happens to calve out in the field we can simply pop the calf in the back to get it back to the farm with the mother following.”

His conclusion: “We are delighted with it and very happy with the service Lister Wilder give us. We have known them for many years and they are always very helpful.”