James Foskett Farms is a specialist vegetable growing business extending to more than 2600 acres of mainly sandy loam soils in the Deben valley, near Woodbridge, east Suffolk.
The land is partly owned, part rented and currently produces a mix of potatoes, onions, carrots, sugar beet, cereals and a widening range of organic crops.
Two years ago, the company switched its field power source to Massey Ferguson. Farm manager and company director Mike Shapland takes up the story: “We currently own an MF 7726 Dyna-VT and MF 7718 Dyna-VT. We have also been hiring five MF 7715 Dyna-6 tractors on a two-year deal which is just about to finish,” he explains.
“We'll be commencing a new hire agreement early in 2019, again for two years, for five MF 7718 S models. We went for Massey Ferguson because of the good value they represent, their reliability and the superb dealer back-up that we've received over the first couple of years.”
The various models each have their specific roles to play within the Foskett business. The MF 7726 works with a 4m combi-drill, a deep ridging, triple bed powered bed-former and on cultivations, trailer work, topping and muck spreading.
The MF 7718 is kept busy on de-stoning, topping potatoes and onions, and with trailer tasks, while the all-rounder MF 7715s are involved in general cultivations, trailer work, irrigation, de-stoning, spreading fertiliser, hedge-cutting and topping.
Having worked with the MF fleet for a couple of years now, Mike is in a position to identify its strengths. “In the first place, they're reliable – the AGCO Power engines perform well; the pick-up hitch is good and they provide the operator with a comfortable work station,” he states.
“There's a good level of engine and transmission control – and programming – even on the basic spec models, while the hydraulic top link and external controls on the MF 7718 and 7726 are very useful. Our operators are generally satisfied and the overall level of reliability has been good.
Importantly, the company has enjoyed what Mike describes as 'very, very good service' from the supplying dealership, Thurlow Nunn Standen, at nearby Melton “They are very close to us geographically, which is a big help, and the few issues that we've encountered have been resolved very quickly.”
Foskett's principal point of contact at TNS – Jonathan Warner – has always been quick to respond. “We have had a good, long-standing relationship with James Foskett Farms – and with Mike, in particular – over a number of years,” Jonathan states. “We were very pleased, therefore, to be given the opportunity two years ago to supply Mike and his team with their current Massey Ferguson tractors – which have proved to be ideally suited to carrying out the tasks for which they were intended.
“Their clear suitability for the work involved – together with the excellent service and back-up provided over that period – has led to us being asked to supply another five MF 7718s to replace the first five MF 7715s, and are due to be delivered in Spring 2019.”
“We went for Massey Ferguson because of the good value they represent, their reliability and the superb dealer back-up that we've received over the first couple of years.”