Saturday, 02 May 2015 12:25

Diesel UTVs safer, more convenient

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Tainui Group Holdings farm staff with their UTVs. Tainui Group Holdings farm staff with their UTVs.

Tainui Group Holdings manages the commercial assets of the Waikato-Tainui people. With a diverse portfolio that includes the likes of hotels in Hamilton and Auckland airport, to an involvement in healthcare, its vision extends out to 50 years.

Its locations in the central North Island range from northeast Hamilton to Taupo. With livestock of 1000 dairy cows, 1100 beef cattle including 300 purebred Hereford cows, and 3000 sheep, this large operation needs to move many staff efficiently.

Following a review of farm transport needs in early 2014 the company decided to switch from quads to side-by-side UTVs powered by diesel engines. This change was driven by the overriding need for safety, and for vehicles better suited to the typical farm tasks – moving people, dogs and general fetching and carrying. They retain one quad style machine for spraying in a forestry block.

Ian Mathieson, rural operations manager, says the change to side-by-sides brought several pluses – a substantial ROPS frame that gave protection in a rollover situation, better weather protection, seatbelts and no need for safety helmets.

The operation runs five units that seat three people, and one dual-seat version that accommodates six people, used for an increasing number of ‘show and tell’ events on the properties.

Each vehicle is specially modified for the company with the addition of high level snorkel air intakes, particularly for the farms in the Taupo area where pumice based tracks are prevalent and dusty; purpose built dog / stock boxes; and windscreens. Each has a lighting kit that includes a flashing beacon used whenever the vehicles are mobile, and an upgrade to give the tyres a more aggressive tread pattern.

Mathieson says the vehicles “have proven very popular with the staff who work long hours, and in inclement conditions. They give me peace of mind that the staff are a lot safer, and not having to store petrol on farm is a huge benefit.”

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