With one eye on the cost of ownership, West Sussex contractor Steve Isborne of S&J osborne took a leap of faith five years ago, moving away from his trusted tractor brand in favour of Valtra.
From just one model, the osborne’s seven-tractor fleet now includes four Valtras. The latest arrivals include a metallic white T214 Unlimited and a metallic grey T174 Unlimited – both supplied by Crawford’s Billingshurst depot.
“The cost of kit has risen significantly in recent years, and we needed to look at the bigger picture rather than buying the same again,” explains Steve. “and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by what the Valtra’s offer our business.”
From Broad Bridge Farm, Ashington, the father and son partnership of John and Steve osborne continues to meet the needs of local livestock producers with a silage- focussed contract operation.
While 84-year old John prefers working slightly less hours than the rest of the team, third generation osbornes Sam and Daryl – John’s grandsons – are happy to spend long days in their customised Finnish rides.
“The boys really like the attention to detail that Valtra provides,” says Steve. “everybody who drives them comments on how comfortable these tractors are, and the SmartTouch terminal on newer models teaches us something new every time we hook-up an implement,” he says.
Steve has become an advocate of choosing different colours for his Valtras.
“It helps us to stand-out without needing to add sign-writing,” he says.
When it comes to details, Daryl Osborne’s metallic white T214 wears wheel nut pointers for easy safety checks, and the cab interior sports a seat cover, plush carpet, mats, plug-in fridge, and an array of cleaning products that would shame most fanatical truckers.
“It’s boots-off with long days in the cab,” says Daryl. “our cabs are our offices, so comfort and cleanliness are important to us.”
While the jury is out on the colour of S&J Osborne’s next tractor one thing is certain, the Finnish brand looks set to remain an integral part of the Osborne fleet.