Reliability boosts potato enterprise performance

Salad potatoes are the main production focus for Cresswell Barn Farms Ltd, based in Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire. This family-farming enterprise operates on a combination of partly owned and partly rented land with 190ha of salad potatoes, 15ha of wheat and barley and a similar amount of grass for grazing dairy replacements. Two-thirds of the potato crop are earlies and the remainder is main-crop all grown on contract for the major supermarkets.

Patrick Elliot is the third generation of the Elliot family farming Cresswell Barn and says that, “Our production process relies totally on the reliability and after-sales service of our machinery - if one stops, they all stop - and we can’t afford to have that happen! Four years ago we had a demonstration of a John Deere 6155R from Tallis Amos Group (TAG) out of Narberth. It was our first taste of a really advanced Auto-steer, mapping and an integrated solutions system and it has improved our infield performance big time. We have been so impressed with the tractor and the technology that we have changed out our existing brand and now run four John Deere’s and have been very happy with their reliability and performance.”

Cresswell Barn now has a John Deere 6155R, a 6250R, a 6195R and a 6130M for loader work and general duties. ‘The 6250R is the best yet!” added Patrick “we bought it with a four-year PowerGard and Maintenance plan because it made a lot of sense, knowing to the penny, exactly what our costs were going to be and, because TAG look after it, we won’t be receiving any bills for breakdowns - that’s all included in the cost. We’ve also linked to the TAG RTK system and so we get absolute accuracy and efficiency with our GPS signal in the field and across the entire farm. Likewise we are on the JDLink system, so our maintenance and operating hours information for each tractor, is fed to and managed directly by TAG out of their offices. They let us know when a service may be due or if there is a component not working correctly. Narberth Service Manager, Ceri Poulson will co-ordinate with us, what would be the most convenient time to carry out that service without interrupting our work-flow during the busy periods. Their service and back-up is second to none. When we are busy, we don’t want any hold-ups, so they’ve scheduled a service visit that could be seven o’clock in the morning or ten o’clock at night, just so they are using the available time when we are not using the tractors. They are first-class.”

Typical annual hours usage on their tractors varies from around 1200hrs a year on the 6155R and around 800hrs on the 6130M. 

“Since we started using the John Deere product and complete management logistics with John Deere’s GreenStar, we’ve seen the whole aspect of our farming enterprise improve considerably.” said Patrick, “We’ve got a full history of boundaries for historical reference and the entire package is backed-up by the TAG service and precision ag support teams, It’s been a great decision and a big benefit for our business.”