Trying to have a mobile phone conversation with a customer who is sitting in a noisy tractor can be a challenging experience for a machinery salesman.

For Haynes Agricultural’s fruit and vineyard sales specialist Richard Smith, though, the challenge he faced when he called customer Russell Graydon recently at Adrian Scripps Ltd was subtly different.

“Do you know where I am?” Russell asked him, before revealing – without raising his voice – that he was sitting in the cab of Haynes’ demonstration New Holland T4 120F tractor – with the engine running.

“We knew that New Holland claimed the new cab was the quietest on the market and that phone call certainly proved it,” said Richard. “It was far and away the easiest conversation I have ever had with a customer while they are using one of our demo machines.”

The remarkable new T4, available in three widths and ideal for vineyards, breaks new ground in a number of areas and has already been named Tractor of the Year 2023 in the ‘specialised’ category.

It’s set to prove an impressive new addition to the range of vineyard-focused machinery on offer from Haynes, which has long led the way in serving growers right across the south of the country and has built up an enviable reputation for supporting vineyards.

Jeremy Cloud, still working for Haynes at the age of 70, was the first top fruit specialist to be employed by a dealership and has now been delivering expert advice to the company’s growers for several decades. The opportunity of working alongside Jeremy as Haynes’ vineyard specialist was one of the attractions for Richard when he joined the company.

“Haynes has a wealth of experience in vines and top fruit and is well placed to help new entrants to the industry as well as those who are looking to develop and grow their enterprise,” he said. “That expertise is backed up by a well-chosen range of machinery from some of the best manufacturers around, allowing Haynes to meet the needs of vineyard customers large and small.”

But it’s not just selling the right equipment that’s important to Richard and to Haynes. “To a certain extent anyone can sell a tractor,” he commented. “Particularly when it’s as outstanding as the new T4, because that essentially sells itself.

“What’s more important to us is the backup we provide, in terms of delivering and setting up the equipment and in our after-sales service. Our customers know that we are here to fix their machinery if it goes wrong and look after it during its lifetime to make sure they get the best out of it from start to finish.”

Going above and beyond simply selling a tractor or a piece of vineyard machinery is a particularly vital part of the service in what is still a comparatively young industry, as Richard explained.

“It’s subtly different from farming, when you are often dealing with customers whose fathers and grandfathers were farmers. They generally know their way round farming equipment and don’t need a lot of help with attaching a seed drill, setting up a cultivator or whatever.

“Viticulture is different, though, because a lot of people who come to us for machinery are new to the industry, which is still in its infancy, really. We really can’t just drop a bit of machinery at the farm gate and leave them to get on with it.

“We make sure we show them how to attach it, set it up and get it working and we give them all the advice they need to make sure it does what they want it to do. And we’re there on the end of the phone at the start of the next season – perhaps six months or more later – when they need to use it again but may have forgotten how it works.”

It’s the kind of support that a fledgling industry needs, along with a range of machinery franchises that allows vineyard owners to source the kit they need, confident in the kind of after-sales service that makes a huge difference to the efficiency of any operation.

Those franchises include JCB, which makes a range of materials handling equipment including telehandlers and forklifts that are ideally suited to vineyard operations. Votex twin and triple rotor toppers are also popular, while Haynes also supplies flail mowers from Kuhn, the unbeatable Clemens range of foliage management and undervine care and Berthoud’s innovative Cruis’Air sprayer for the New Holland Braud 9000 grape harvester.

“We are confident that our well-chosen manufacturers can together provide a reliable range of machinery that is ideal for both established and new vineyards,” said Richard.

When it comes to motive power, New Holland’s upgraded Stage V T4 FNV series is already turning heads and justifying its place as the top selling specialist tractor in Europe.

While Stage V emissions compliance is clearly an important part of the upgrade, growers are more likely to be impressed by its genuinely flat cab floor, improved ergonomics, uprated visibility thanks to a noticeably lower bonnet, increased hydraulic capacity and better mid-mount options. A tweaked engine layout also means that the whole of the exhaust after-treatment system is tucked away under the bonnet, rather than outside it. 

“We have already heard back from customers who have had the new T4 on demo and say it represents a massive step forward,” said Richard. “They have, without, exception, been impressed by driver comfort, the visibility, the improved layout and the flat floor – as well as a cab so quiet you can take a phone call inside it with the engine running!”

As well as being available in fruit, narrow and vineyard options, the T4 can deliver from 75 to 120HP, with the 90 and 100HP models likely to be the most popular and the narrow option ideal for 2.2m vineyard alleys. Its mid-range price bracket represents impressive value for money, and its ongoing popularity means it’s a tried and tested model that shouts dependability from the rooftops.

Richard, who was funded by Haynes to complete a Principles of Viticulture course at Plumpton College when he joined the team, said New Holland had invested heavily in the Stage V iteration of the T4, including taking customer comments on board.

The result is a truly new model inside and out. “It’s nicer to drive, the visibility is much better and the floor really is flat,” said Richard. “It has an uprated dedicated service pump and a second hydraulic system for running machinery that can be specced at 64 or 80 litres a minute. State-of-the-art guidance systems from Novotel and Raven are a fuss-free add on.

“It also has a new rear linkage and better mid-mount spool valve options with free flow return and four pairs of couplers, while its Supersteer front axle means it still boasts the tightest turning circle in the fruit and vine sector. It also delivers more torque at lower rpm. Not surprisingly, customer feedback to date has been positive.”

Haynes serves its customer base from depots across the south, with sales, service and parts support provided from Birchington, Great Chart and Wrotham in Kent, Uckfield in East Sussex, Horsham in West Sussex, Winchester in Hampshire and Newbury, Berkshire. Specialist support is provided by Richard and Jeremy and by Hampshire-based Matt Pinnington.

“Each of the depots has some seriously well-trained technicians who know the machinery we sell and are well qualified to take care of it,” said Richard. “We pride ourselves on creating ongoing relationship with customers by delivering great backup and that’s down to the talented teams across the patch. We have a fleet of mobile engineers available from every depot, which means machinery can usually be serviced or repaired on site.

“We believe that the new T4, together with our impressive range of vineyard machinery and our focus on after care, makes Haynes the first choice for growers across the South of England.”

A wide range of top-class machinery

Haynes Agricultural offers a wide range of top-class machinery to pair with the all-new, next generation New Holland Stage V T4 FNV tractor.

It includes the renowned Clemens range of undervine and leaf treatment equipment that provides numerous options aimed at helping growers remove the weeds from beneath their vines as well as managing the foliage.

This premium brand range includes the Radius SL Plus, which is simple to operate, can be fitted with different shafts and tools and is designed for environmentally friendly weed control. The Multiclean mulching brush is another popular tool from the well-respected Clemens stable, which includes finger hoes and a range of cultivation equipment specifically designed for vineyards.

The New Holland Braud grape harvester is available from Haynes, with a demo unit expected in June. “This is a very exciting development for us,” said fruit and vine specialist Richard Smith. “We have been wanting to offer the Braud for some time and we feel that the UK viticulture industry is now developed enough for us to offer it.

The over-the-row Braud is a multi-function platform that can also be adapted to other functions including spraying, spreading and trimming, with Berthoud’s Cruis’Air opening up a host of options for growers.

Haynes also supplies twin and triple rotor toppers from the well-respected, Hereford based mower manufacturer Votex and a range of flail mowers/shredders from Kuhn.

Kuhn’s SDS – side delivery system – mulches cover crops and grass between the rows and delivers it beneath the vines to suppress weeds and retain vital moisture. The manufacturer’s MDS range of variable rate fertiliser spreaders is aimed at specialised operations including vineyards. The company also builds trailed and mounted sprayers with capacites of between 400 and 3,000 litres.

Alongside tractors, vineyards need materials handling equipment, and that’s where Haynes’ JCB franchise comes in to play. The telehandler range runs from the all-new 514-40, which can lift 1.4 tonnes to a height of four metres, through to the 560-90, capable of raising six tonnes to a height of nine metres. 

“The 514-40 will be the ideal size for our customers as it is light enough to transport easily between sites and has the right spec for vineyards, together with JCB’s renowned build quality and reliability,” said Richard.

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