Compact tractor earns its keep


Andrew and Tania Wright farm near the Rakaia Gorge, just north of Methven in Canterbury. Their Creek Dale Farm runs to 280ha and benefits from around 1200mm of rainfall annually, meaning it's well set up for summer grazing.

Thus, the operation focuses on livestock, rearing 500 Angus steers for Five Star Beef, seeing animals arrive in April at around 240kg, then leave the property the following December to February tipping the scales at 450kg. The other key enterprise is offering dairy grazing to about 800 calves that arrive in December, before heading home in April/May.

Already familiar with Power Farming and its retail operation in Ashburton, the farm runs Deutz-Fahr tractors, so when the decision was made to purchase a small utility tractor for the property, it didn't take long for a Kioti CK3010 and front-­end loader to be heading up the farm driveway. Now with 18 months and 170 hours on the clock, the compact orange pocket rocket has become the ‘go to’ tractor for all those little jobs that just don't warrant using a big machine. The tractor is kept busy mowing roadside verges, the farm drive and grassed areas around the farm buildings, powering a three-rotor 1.8m mower to keep things tidy with surprising ease.

Featuring Kioti's own three cylinder, 30hp engine mated to a hydrostatic transmission, the setup offers two ranges, stepless speed control in forward and reverse and simple bi-pedal control. Andrew notes, "Everyone finds the little Kioti so easy to operate. Even some of our foreign visitors, who have only limited tractor experience, soon get the hang of it."

Alongside its mowing duties the nuggety Kioti also sports a handy spray tank and hose reel setup that Mr Wright has cleverly mounted on a frame above the rotary mower. This allows it to undertake weed spraying duties around the farm buildings, alongside creeks and around natives planted extensively around the property, with the 4WD system making light work of getting to awkward spots.

Up front, the handy front-end loader, powered by a hydraulic system that offers up to 43 L/min oil flow, is equipped with a clever four­in-one bucket, useful for several tasks. Mrs Wright finds it to be ideal, using its clamping action, to grab and remove nuisance flax bushes. "The tractor is exceptionally well-appointed with a number of big tractor features not normally seen on small compacts. It's easy to get on to with the step through platform, drives and stops well and is very economical to use. When we bought the tractor, it would be true to say we were a little sceptical, but it certainly turned out to be a great decision," Mr Wright said.

Article retrieved from Central Rural Life 2019