Future is electric for major plant producer

With the widest commercial range of Clematis plants in the UK, propagating over 600 varieties, New Leaf Plants Ltd., is a major player in the global supply of clematis and climbing plants. Based in Sedgeberrow near Evesham, Worcestershire, the company, owned and managed by husband and wife team, David and Nicole Higginson, operates on a highly efficient production facility under 25 acres of glass and poly-tunnel. Probably the most unique factor of the business is that around 90% of its total production of around 2 million plants per year, comes from its own in-house propagation programme.

“Apart from supplying much of the UK market with Clematis and climbing plants,” commented David Higginson, “we are also exporting to Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland and other countries around the world. With such a high volume of plant production, we are employing around fifty full-time team members and that may increase up to sixty staff during the busy periods. Moving high volumes of plants and materials efficiently around a site requires nimble and manoeuvrable machinery that is cost-effective, low maintenance and reliable. We run John Deere’s -, mainly X750s which really are workhorses for a variety of functions including site maintenance and materials movement. They travel around the glasshouse site very easily, work all day and everyday and for us, are just perfect for the job. We like to invest in the right machinery for our staff, the right tools for the job and our John Deere products meet that requirement.

'' The X750 is powered by a 24hp three-cylinder diesel engine and is ideal for grounds-care maintenance as well as towing trailers and/or implements, moving plant stock, requisites and growing medium. “Apart from the compact ride-ons, we also run two John Deere 3036E tractors, one has a loader and they are normally carrying out heavier work such as composting, recycling, and shredding materials - the result of which is then shared as soil improvements with local farmers. On top of those we are also running John Deere Gators which are always busy around the site either carrying bulk materials or perhaps transporting customers to various parts of the production facility.”

New Leaf Plants have recently taken delivery of their first ‘all electric’ John Deere TE Gator which can work hard for 7 – 8 hours between charges, all with zero emissions and practically no noise. “We are environmentally conscious, employing an attitude of recycling everything we possibly can,” commented David, “we collect our rainwater in a reservoir for irrigation to the growing plants, recycle used composts and anything that is of recyclable value. Our investment into an all electric Gator, shows that we really are caring for our environment and we see low emissions equipment for our future as becoming commonplace.

“We like to support local business and in the years that we have dealt with our local John Deere dealer - Tallis Amos Group, they’ve really taken care of us, their service back-up is second to none. Nothing is too much trouble, they listen to what we are saying, always find the right solution, they have a ‘can-do’ attitude and they are a family-run business, just like ourselves. They very much develop a cohesive working relationship where they work hand-in-hand with us and even though we hardly have any breakdowns, they are always there at the end of the phone and respond immediately if we need them. That’s priceless.”