KZN dairy farm in KwaZulu reaps the rewards of a Kubota tractor
A dairy farmer in KwaZulu-Natal has invested in two Kubota tractors to improve on operational productivity. He is of the mind that returns on such an investment – of which he has already reaped many – should be viewed across the lifespan of the equipment.
Making a living from the agricultural sector in South Africa is not for the faint of heart, a fact that rings true for the dairy industry as well. Dairy farmer, Pierre Le Sueur believes this is mostly due to the milk-to-feed price ratio, an important profitability marker in this sector, and one that remains at very challenging levels in South Africa.
With profit margins tight and business dependent on a string of variables, it is prudent in this sector to keep a close eye on cost vs. value, which is why Le Sueur switched to Kubota tractors. “Everything counts and that is why, for example, three years ago, I changed from a well-known brand of tractor to Kubota tractors, which have proven to be extremely fuel-efficient and reliable, and play a significant part in protecting my bottom line,” says Le Sueur.
Le Sueur owns two Kubota M-Series 9540 tractors (both with cabs), which are re-imagined workhorses powered by Kubota’s world-renowned Tier III compliant, four-cylinder, 95 horsepower, turbo-charged E-CDIS (centre direct injection system) diesel engines, which offer the user extended durability, power and efficiency. Among Kubota’s best-selling tractors globally, the M9540 is a powerful piece of equipment made with heavy duty tasks in mind and comes with a hydraulic shuttle, Creep Speed and Autohitch for optimal operations.
The M9540 comes with an F18/R18 transmission, featuring six main gears as well as high, low and creep ranges, to stand up to the toughest working conditions. Forward and reverse are seamlessly linked, thanks to the hydraulic shuttle, and the column-mounted gear stick with left-hand operation makes changing gears easy. The bevel-gear front axle lends the machine better all-round manoeuvrability, making the Kubota M9540 especially adept at handling small spaces.
Hydraulic pumps are located on the side case of M-Series machines instead of the engine, which goes to shorten the travelling distance of the oil, thereby increasing efficiency, and the machine comes standard with a 540/540E hydraulic independent PTO for enhanced productivity.
Category I and II three-point tow bars make for quick and easy attachment of rear-mounted implements, and two external hydraulic cylinders offer equal lifting force and smooth transfer of hydraulic power.
A good cab is good for business
According to Kubota technical expert, Mike Heath, the importance of a cab on a tractor cannot be overstated, with the main areas of evaluation being safety, visibility, sound, climate control, control layout, operator space and air filtration.
“The cabs available on the various Kubota tractors, like Le Sueur’s M9540, have many important features that meet international farming safety standards,” says Heath, adding, “While operator safety and comfort are important from a labour ethics perspective – and more farmers should be taking this into account – it must be stressed that a poorly equipped cab is also bad for business.”
Heath notes, “Even though a world-class cab may be more expensive in terms of the initial outlay, the extra productivity gained through a safe, comfortable and happy operator outweighs this expense a hundred-fold over the lifetime of the tractor.” These sentiments are echoed by Le Sueur himself, who concludes, “It’s not the initial capital cost of tractors that counts, but rather the lifetime costs of ownership. So the productivity of the machine, its reliability, fuel efficiency, good service and more combine to save a lot of money over time and this is what I have found with Kubota.”
Le Sueur bought his M9540 tractors from Valtrac, Kubota dealers in KwaZulu-Natal and Smith Power Equipment Kubota dealers, and remarks on their superior service: “They go the extra mile making the total Kubota package a positive and hassle-free experience.”