Massey Ferguson tractors have been the mainstay of W E Hewitt and Son's business since 1956 when the company purchased its first MF tractor - a diesel-engined FE 35 model.
Fifty years on - and more than 200 MF tractors later - the family-run firm's fleet of Massey Ferguson tractors stands at 21, a number that has remained virtually unchanged for the past 10 years thanks to consistently high demand for the sports ground construction, renovation and turf maintenance services provided by Hewitt Sportsturf.
Accounting for some 75 per cent of W E Hewitt and Son's annual turnover, Hewitt Sportsturf shares the company's headquarters at Cosby, near Leicester, with sister division, Petersfield Growing Mediums, one of the country's leading producers and suppliers of high quality commercial composts and growing mediums.
Well-known for the construction of many high-profile pitches in the UK and Ireland, including Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane and Croke Park in Dublin, Hewitt Sportsturf uses its MF tractors on national and international contracts costing from just £500 to £5 million-plus.
"Our projects range from a one-day Verti-draining contract to the construction of a world-class football academy with multiple training pitches," pointed out managing director, John Hewitt. "No matter what the size or location of a contract, we will be transporting at least one of our MF tractors to site. In many cases, it can be three or four."
A long-established policy is that Hewitt Sportsturf never hires in any item of regularly-used equipment. Mr Hewitt explained that using their own fleet of tractors and plant eliminates any possible problem with the fitting or operation of essential attachments. It ensures also that regular servicing and maintenance is carried out in the company's workshop at Cosby in line with the manufacturer's schedule.
The Massey Ferguson tractor fleet run by Hewitt Sportsturf comprises four 30hp compacts and a mix of 5400 and 6200 models spanning the 95hp to 115hp bracket. All 17 higher horsepower tractors are fitted with wide profile Trelleborg tyres from day one.
"We use the compacts primarily for smaller jobs such as overseeding, fertilising and pitch finishing," commented Mr Hewitt. "The larger tractors are put to work on tasks ranging from fraise mowing and deep tine aeration to rotary cultivation and hauling gravel trailers to support drainage works."
With the majority of Hewitt Sportsturf's contract operations taking place from May to September, the tractors are worked hard for long hours during the summer months to ensure that contracts are completed on time and within budget.
"Key factors in our continuing use of Massey Ferguson tractors are the high levels of reliability, performance and dealer support that we have enjoyed over the past 50 years," said Mr Hewitt. "Every job we do is away from base so it is essential that our tractors do not let us down," he said. "I am pleased to say that such occurrences have been very rare, vindicating our decision to remain loyal to MF for the past half century. I can see no reason why that position should change."
John Hewitt, managing director of W E Hewitt & Son, with two of the latest additions to Hewitt Sportsturf's 21-strong Massey Ferguson tractor fleet.
One of Hewitt Sportsturf's four MF1250 compact tractors over-seeding the pitch at Welford Road Stadium, home of Guinness Premiership rugby team, Leicester Tigers.