With the worst of the winter weather ahead, there's nothing more reassuring than knowing that roads and footpaths have been cleared of snow and ice before setting out in the morning.
Some of the new fleet of Kubota tractors in Vale Engineering (York) Ltd's hire fleet ready for action
Since 2003, Vale Engineering (York) Ltd has been manufacturing winter maintenance equipment from its base at York, with products built in-house from sheet steel upwards. The company also offers a specialist winter equipment seasonal hire service to local authorities, providing complete solutions from mounted and trailed gritters to de-icing sprayers and snowploughs, carefully matched with compact tractors.
Having used a range of brands in the past, Vale Engineering has now switched to an all-Kubota fleet, adding 15 new B-series and L-series tractors for the 2020 season.
"Our priorities are high residual values and good dealer back-up and that's exactly what we get with Kubota," explains managing director James Wilson.
"Tractors stay in the fleet for four years, and are hired out for a 20 week period. While they don't clock up that many hours, they have to be reliable to go out every day and work in all weathers and we are also fortunate to have excellent support from Russell's."
Mr Wilson points out that the factory-fitted cab on the B-Series is a major advantage over other compact tractors.
"The cab is purpose-made for the tractor so it fits well and remains tidy through its service life," he comments.
While one L-series model has a mechanical drive, the majority are hydrostatic, which makes for easy operation for hirers.
"Apart from the de-icing sprayers, most of the equipment is hydraulically driven, and the B-series tractors have plenty of hydraulic capacity, with the straightforward cab layout making it simple to operate implements."
With its own workshops, Vale Engineering carries out most of the maintenance and servicing in-house, and Mr Wilson comments that the tractors are straightforward to work on.
"Buying tractors is very much a business decision, and combined with the dealer back-up, Kubota makes business sense for us," he says.