REPORT: With considerable crossover in four- and six-cylinder tractor offerings from most manufacturers, at 140-200hp there are now lots of choices for purchasers, and bigger is not always better, as one contractor found out.

As tractor ranges continue to evolve choosing a machine to suit an established contracting business involves a certain amount of trial and error. Add to this an ongoing relationship with a good – and local – dealer and it can make for some tough decisions. Mike Tomlinson has been in business for 41 years, and alongside 70ha of arable ground close to his Staffordshire base, which is increasingly going over to stewardship schemes, he focuses on hedge and verge cutting and maize drilling.

“I’ve come to the time when I want to do specific jobs for long-standing clients and do them well,” he explains. “Above all, I need a tractor which is suitable for my work and dependable.”

The workload for his Shelbourne Reynolds 6.5 VFRT reach arm is split 50:50 between farm hedges and amenity contracts, with local golf clubs and the JCB factories in nearby Rocester and Stoke on the customer list. A Major Cyclone front mount rotary mower increases versatility for stewardship

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