Ordering four new John Deere tractors led to MJ Abbott Limited's sales & technical director Adrian Abbott experiencing a golden moment when he drove the first one off the production line at the Mannheim tractor factory in Germany.
MJ Abbott is one of the UK's leading sports turf construction and maintenance contractors, specialising in golf courses and sports pitch construction as well as irrigation and water management, land drainage, landscaping and environmental works.
Supplied by local dealer R Hunt Ltd at Tilshead in Wiltshire, the four new John Deere 6120M tractors, all equipped with grassland tyres, take Abbott's total fleet of John Deere large utility and compact tractors to 23. They were chosen due to their ease of operation, and the ongoing reliability of the machines in the contracting fleet.
They will be predominantly used on a wide range of sports turf projects from golf courses to football and rugby pitches, mainly for towing gravel hoppers, Weidenmann Terra Spike aerators, Blec Groundbreaker rotary de-compactors and a range of other cultivators and seeders. Current projects include reconstruction of Wentworth Golf Club's West Course, and drainage and irrigation work at Adare Manor Golf Resort in Ireland.
"We have been John Deere customers for over 20 years, so this latest deal reinforces our brand loyalty," says Adrian Abbott. "Our core tractor fleet ranges from 80 to 120hp, and with this latest purchase we now have 12 units in this power range. We have hired machines but this was a false economy, and we quickly realised that we needed to expand the tractor fleet to cope with our expanding workload - we are fortunate to have a strong order book at the moment, which gave us the confidence to make this new investment."
Adrian visited Mannheim with R Hunt's Tilshead branch manager Jamie Fisher, where they enjoyed a comprehensive tour of the tractor factory. Here they saw one of the new 6120M tractors put through its paces on a rolling road test bed, before Adrian got to drive it outside for the handover ceremony at which he was presented with a special Gold Key by John Deere Forum manager Ralf Lenge.
On their return to the UK, Adrian bought yet another tractor, a 4066M compact model, spotted on the forecourt at Hunts' Chilbolton branch. This replaced a 2004 model 4610, which has done 4500 hours "without missing a beat." Two additional new 3038R compact tractors have also been bought from John Deere dealer New Forest Farm Machinery's groundscare division at Ringwood in Hampshire.
"One of the main reasons we have remained loyal to John Deere is the level of support we get from the company's dealers around the UK and Ireland, and more widely into Europe - we've had four machines working near St Tropez in France, for example.
"Back-up like this is so vital when we're travelling around the country on different projects - if machines aren't working for whatever reason, it can cost a lot of money. We've found over the years that we always get the best and most consistent parts service from John Deere wherever we are working, and the dealers come to our rescue whenever we need them to."