A large Norfolk contract farming business has gone “green” – taking delivery of a fleet of eight tractors in a seven-figure figure deal.

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The eight John Deere tractors were delivered to Albanwise Farming from the Aylsham branch of agricultural engineers Ben Burgess & Co.

It is the first time that Albanwise, which is based at Saxlingham, near Holt, has bought John Deere tractors. It follows what the firm’s Norfolk farms’ director Tom Dye described as “probably the most comprehensive review of the company’s tractor fleet ever undertaken”.

Bought on a three-year finance programme, the fleet consists of three 6150R medium frame tractors, two 6190R and one 6210R large frame models, and two bigger 8R Series tractors, an 8310R and an 8335R.

All except one model has AutoPowr stepless transmissions, for greater fuel efficiency and more productive field work compared with the farms’ previous manual transmission tractors. The fleet also has JDLink telematics machine monitoring and tractor security systems.

These will be working on Albanwise’s all-arable enterprises at Saxlingham and Barton Bendish, near Downham Market, which have been built up since the late 1980s. Each enterprise extends to about 1,900 hectares or 4,700 acres of mainly winter wheat, winter and spring barley and oilseed rape, plus sugar beet, vining peas, French beans and field beans.

“We started the new fleet selection process about two years ago, and ended up looking in detail at five different manufacturers with servicing dealers in the area,” said Mr Dye, who was a finalist in the supreme championship class of the latest Norfolk county farm business competition.

“We would normally replace our tractors at between 5,000 and 6,000 hours, which usually equates to around five or six years, but I genuinely wanted to see if we were doing the right thing by sticking to the same make each time.

“We wanted to have a more integrated system of GPS technology in the fleet, for example, and I was aware that John Deere is ahead of the game in this particular area.

“On the engine side, I was also attracted by the company’s current single fuel strategy. To me this has more practical benefits on farm, especially in terms of productivity.”

The switch to a new cleaner and more efficient fuel was making good progress, he added. “Anglia Farmers was supplying the new diesel and the delivery lines are very good and clear. It is good value and improved performance has been achieved at the same time as lower diesel consumption.”

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