The tractor of the Year 2022 Awards, held at the recent EIMA show in Bologna, handed out a brace of gongs for the Green Giant John Deere.
Starting from a humble beginning in 2004 with two John Deere machines, today’s fleet runs to an impressive line-up of 15 dark green and yellow units. They include a 1750, a Range of 6 series from a 6410 through to the latest 6230R and a trio of 7530’s.
Offering a multitude of on-farm services, which includes maize and cereal crop harvesting and small-seed planting, 95% of the Hey’s customer base are dairy enterprises. Therefore, efficient silage and haybaling is imperative, a reason that drew Andy Hey to John Deere products.
“Being a dairy farmer myself, I have high expectations around the quality and pace of work we provide and know we must be as productive as possible,” he explains. “We turned to John Deere balers as they have been consistent and reliable.”
Featuring a 2.2m wide feeding system and a high-capacity rotor, with a 480 mm diameter converging auger, the V451R is said to be capable of producing more than a bale a minute – a level of production Hey says is “exactly where we need to be”.
Durability is also important as the Taranaki dairy sector sprawls across a range of land types, from rolling and steep hill country to peaty loams.
“We have found our balers can follow the ground quite easily and required very little maintenance in terms of repairs,” he adds.
Although the silage and hay equipment is parked in the shed during the off season, diversification has also been a key to the couple’s success.
This – alongside the dairy and harvesting enterprises – sees them operating a quarry to supply material for drive and raceway construction during the winter months, which keeps a fleet of five large trailers towed by John Deere tractors busy.
“We are unique in this region with our tractors, as most other suppliers use trucks, but we can get to places that are far more inaccessible,” Andy Hey explains.
Reflecting on the future, he says the key focus is a shift to enhancing the business’s productivity.
“With the machinery on board, we are aiming towards making the business stronger after many years of expansion.”