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MF 4708 Delivers Taranaki Dairy Farmers Big Bang for Their Buck

The MF 4708 in action at Taranaki

A growing business needs to get the most out of its equipment and Donovan Croot and fiancée Sophie Cookson are definitely getting that with their Massey Ferguson 4708 ES.

A growing business needs to get the most out of its equipment and Donovan Croot and fiancée Sophie Cookson are definitely getting that with their Massey Ferguson 4708 ES.

Donovan and Sophie started in the dairy industry as farm assistants. Nine years later they are sharemilking 63ha with their own herd of 220 Friesian and Friesian crosses.

“The dairy industry is fantastic for progression. If you're willing to put in the work the opportunities are there,” Donovan says.

They and their young children moved to their new farm in Waitara near New Plymouth in June 2016. They had a tractor budget and initially planned on getting one second hand.

“We wanted to go with Massey Ferguson because of their reputation as being good solid tractors. This model was new, and it was the most bang for our buck. It comes with great follow up service from FieldTorque in Taranaki.”

The MF 4708 ES (ES stands for ‘essential’ model) is only 82hp. “It is not a big tractor, but we have a small dairy farm. To me anything bigger was overkill when this has all the power we need.”

Their current farm is a system two-three farm, meaning feed is imported to extend lactation and to fill the spring deficit. The little Massey Ferguson deals with all the feeding out.

It has a loader and it easily lifts a 10-equivalent silage bale, while carries one on the back feeder at the same time. Donovan says it could handle 12s but they don’t use them. It lifts two 15-equivalents of hay on the front tines at the same time.

A local contractor makes the farm’s grass silage, and fitted with soft hands the MF 4708 becomes the stacking tractor.

With this year’s wet winter Donovan has been busy rolling paddocks with the MF 4708 to repair pug damage. It also tows an 8m3 wagon loaded to the gunnels with silage or other supplements, or pulls a palm kernel trailer.

“It handles it easily and I've yet to get it stuck,” he says.

The hydraulic oil works at the rate of 65 litre/min, again more than enough for work on the dairy farm.

At other times the MF 4708 tows a 600 litre sprayer with 6m boom for spraying out paddocks and weeds and also spreading Pro-Gib. The PTO operating at 540 RPM is more than adequate for the job.

Being a small tractor means it fits into the calf sheds, making it easy to clean them out.

It doesn’t have a cab, which sounds like a disadvantage in a wet winter, but Donovan says he’s always wearing wet weather gear anyway and getting off and on, so it doesn’t make any difference. It has roll over protection for safety of the operator.

The MF 4708 has six gears  with a high and low range, and the operator changes them with the flick of a button on the gear lever. Donovan seldom needs the low range. To change between forward and reverse he flicks a paddle on the steering wheel.

It is a good basic reliable tractor, and easy to use. Last spring they had a fixed term staff member who drove it.

“She loved it. She was confident and capable at driving this tractor.”

Donovan has also been impressed with the service provided by FieldTorque.

“They stand by their product 100 percent. No job is too big or too small. We had a couple of niggly teething issues and they were there in a flash and got it sorted. We are never without a tractor. They have been fantastic.”