The many benefits of choosing compact and versatile groundcare machinery over larger models is becoming more commonplace in small estates, farms and smallholdings, as the sophistication and capabilities of these smaller machines, such as utility vehicles and compact turf machinery, grows.
Kensmyth Alpaca Stud, situated just outside the Cotswold village of South Cerney, is one such example, with Kubota’s four-seater utility vehicle – the RTV1140 – now an indispensible part of daily operations for the rapidly developing alpaca farm.
The daily running of the farm involves a wide and varied range of duties, so the need for equipment that is both nimble and powerful, and that can cope with the undulating terrain of the estate (chosen to replicate the landscape found in the alpaca’s native Peru) is vital.
“I have always used Kubota since I first started breeding Alpaca in 2008,” explains Helen Kendall Smith, Owner of the Kensmyth Alpaca Stud. “Our previous farm had flat land and the paddocks were smaller, but when we relocated the alpaca business to Clay Meadow, the land was chosen for being uphill and down dale, as alpaca are inquisitive, far seeing quadrupeds and they love the hills.”
Despite the RTV1140 being the most used kit day-to-day, it was the Kubota’s G23 high dump commercial mower that was first purchased, and as savvy and money conscious agricultural farmers, a number of competitive machines were demonstrated prior to purchase. But, following tests, it was proven that rival machines didn’t match the Kubota on ability, aftersales support or price.
“Whilst the G23 isn’t your conventional machine for an alpaca farmer, it is perfect for topping the grass in the smaller paddocks and collecting it pre shearing. The fleece is critical to our natural alpaca handmade clothing, so the least amount of grass, straw, hay or burrs in it, the easier it is to prepare for being made into yarn. It can also be used to hoover up leaves on a low setting, which ultimately protects the grass.
Alongside the G23, the farm’s two RTV1140s have proven equally as invaluable to the successful running of the site, in part for the day-to-day farm work, but also to assist in the programs that Helen and her team run for visitors with physical and mental illnesses; as well as those with more minor physical afflictions, such as broken legs.
“The cognitive and therapeutic benefits of ‘hands on’ experience with alpaca is understood worldwide, and we’ve seen a high demand from visitors with physical and mental illnesses eager to spend time here. The RTV1140s have been instrumental in our ability to facilitate this, so we are hugely grateful to Dave Roberts (Kubota UK MD) in helping us financially with a kind donation on Kubota’s behalf.”
Alongside the will to meet the needs of all the farm’s visitors, the Kubota comes into its own on a daily basis for a raft of on-site duties, with Helen often using the vehicle in preference to their tractor.
“Transporting hay to all of our paddocks and moving straw to the field shelters in the winter months is simple and straightforward with the RTV1140, but less so with our tractor. In the drier months, I can attach a spring tine harrow and scarify the fields, this wouldn’t be possible with a heavier machine.
“The RTV is easy to manoeuvre round corners thanks to its excellent steering, and the hydrostatic braking system is especially useful when tackling the many hills and slopes across the site. I also save myself the back breaking and time-consuming task of manual spraying, by adding a sprayer attachment to the tipping bed, allowing us to keep on top of Scotch Thistle and weeds.
“In spring, I attach a fertiliser spreader, which means I can get out much earlier than I could if I was using the tractor. Working with the weather is critical, and it’s often the case that the ground is too wet for a heavy tractor, which makes the 1140 invaluable to our work here. The tippable flatbed has an excellent load capacity, too, so perfect for materials transportation, be it poles for fencing or for collecting alpaca waste.
For more information on Kubota and its extensive range of machinery solutions visit www.kubota.co.uk or call 01844 268000.