In Agriculture, Tractors

Local Canterbury Contractor Brian Franks explains why he choose the 4066R for his operations.

Why the John Deere 4066R Makes Work Easy

Lawntech is a business in the Selwyn District which supplies services to lifestyle block owners and to the Council helping with a variety of options from mowing, direct drilling and cultivation. Owner/operator Brian Franks says, “it’s like a mini ag business for smaller options where people can’t get big gear into their properties”.

The lawn business was brought as a going concern but having already owned a John Deere 3 Series tractor for their own lifestyle block, when they upgraded to a 4 Series, they realised there was a lot of other people needing work done on their properties and their lawn business progressed with another 4066R tractor being added to the operation.

Brian says to do the jobs he needed the 3 series was a little bit small and perhaps not as productive as a bigger tractor. “Having upgraded my 3 series to this 4066R tractor I’ve gone from 33hp to 66hp with only a 300mm gain in the overall size of the tractor. There is a lot of horsepower in relation to the size of the tractor, but it is still small enough to carry it around easily on a transport trailer behind my vehicle as my operation is really mobile.”

The 4066R comes in a cab or ROPS (Roll Over Protection Structure) option. Given that Brian has one of each, we asked him which he preferred. “Out of choice I would jump into the cab anyday. A lot of the work I do with the ROPS tractor is in small sections where hitting something with the cab is not an option and furthermore going under trees and tight situations you need to have that all round visibility. But when you get into an open field and there is dust and wind or cold – there is nothing like jumping into the cab…air conditioner and radio on – I’m happy”.

Brian explains why he chose the 4066R tractor. “In picking the 4 series tractor, I had progressed from the 3 series but the hydrostatic shift was a pivotal part of the decision making. The productivity from one of these tractors would run rings around a much bigger tractor in the same situation. Especially with front end loader work, you are shuffling backwards and forwards and the accuracy I need to operate is critical so I need to be able to back up to people’s houses and I don’t want to hit them, and I need to be able to run accurately along building lines and fence lines so the hydrostatic shift is very important to me. The accuracy of the hydraulics is also very important, and the control joystick is very accurate”.

Brian did consider another brand tractor but it didn’t match up to the John Deere 4066R, and having owned a John Deere 3 Series, to him it was a no-brainer. “What sets the John Deere apart from other brands is the local support from Drummond & Etheridge. I’ve also looked at the hydrostatic shift on other tractors and the heal and toe arrangement doesn’t work for me. Its not a comfortable driving position, but to be able to toe either way over the controls of the hydrostatic shift is so easy and natural. The accuracy of the drive is important which was also another big part of the decision making”.

“Brian says, “I have found there is good Parts & Service back up here in Rolleston. I had an experience where the door got broken and was impressed with a new door being supplied within 3 days out of Melbourne over a weekend so that was an outstanding response and I’ve never had to go in and wait on parts for any item.”

In terms of servicing, Brian says, “I always follow the recommended intervals and I’m on 200 hr services on oil even though I can go out a little bit longer with the proprietary oils, but I choose to change early and make sure there is a good maintenance schedule going on”.
Being environmentally conscious, Brian says “I’ve been most impressed with the tier 4 emission control on the 4066R, there is not a shred of smoke ever at any time and they burn so clean”.

Brian operates a wide range of category 1 implements for spraying and grubbing including a power harrow, power rake, box blade, grader blade, Landpride roller drill for primary seeding and a Vredo drill for over seeding. On the front end of the tractor there is a clamping bucket, GP buckets, and bale clamps. “All together it’s a pretty comprehensive operation” he says.

“My purchasing experience with Drummond & Etheridge in Rolleston has been very good, John Deere Finance has been part of the gig, when they put up such lucrative finance options its not smart for me to be worrying if a tractor is going to start or not. The customers are happy with the productivity I get out of my John Deere 4066Rs. The experience of sales and transition, trying the gear out and getting it all underway has been seamless – it’s been very good”.

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