What’s in Your Shed? visits a Dorset contractor

What’s in Your Shed? visits a Dorset contractor
Agriculture & Farming

What’s in Your Shed? visits a Dorset contractor

The latest farming business to open its doors to Farmers Weekly’s machinery team is Dorset contractor T&L Hiscock.

Owner Tim Hiscock has amassed a fleet of six Valtra tractors all working for more than 2,000 hours a year, mainly on slurry spreading and baling tasks.

The firm operates in a 20-mile radius of the base near Sherbourne and, due to low NVZ restrictions in the area, slurry spreading is a year-round job.

How brand loyal are you?

We have stayed pretty loyal to Valtra over the past few years, but my first tractor was a New Holland, and we ran a fleet of them before gradually switching to Valtra.

When I first started, I bought a slurry tanker and hired in a tractor to run it.

The Valtra machines aren’t any cheaper than the New Hollands, but they are turning out to be very reliable and dealer backup is a big factor, given the hours we put on them.

Contracting facts: T&L Hiscock, Sherbourne, Dorset

• Tim Hiscock plus six full-time staff members and harvest casuals

• Slurry – Year-round umbilical and splash-plate spreading
• Square baling – 24,000 bales/year, plus carting
• Harvest and silage help for local farmers and contractors
• 80ha contract farmed

• 300 beef cattle – calves to forward stores

Who is your favourite dealer?

I buy nearly all my kit through CJ Cox in Sturminster Newton. They are dealers for Valtra tractors, as well as NC Engineering tankers and Krone balers.

I also hire an older tractor from them when we get a bit short.

We try to do as much servicing as possible, but if we need an engineer, they are usually out the same day. 

Favourite piece of kit?

The GEA Houle super pump has massively sped up our tanker spreading operation. We topload all the tankers via the pump, which stirs the slurry at the same time as sucking it out.

It makes the tankers a bit dirtier than loading via a hose, but we can do in excess of 150 loads or 3,000cu m in one day.

Least favourite?

Most of the guys moan about using the rear-discharge muckspreaders, as they get the tractors filthy.

Latest purchase?

Recent additions to the fleet include a radio-controlled engine pump for the umbilical work, which ties in with the 12m Mastek dribble bar to make the whole process a bit more accurate.

I’ve also invested in a Tanlake slurry flow meter to help us invoice for the work we’ve carried out and show the customer exactly what has been spread.

It allows us to input a target rate and the system advises the driver on forward speed to maintain accuracy.

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