Contractor Innovator of the Year
Sponsored by Kuhn
Paying tribute to the men and women working around the clock to deliver their set targets to support farm businesses.
Rob Burtonshaw, Farm Services, Warwickshire
Farm Services is a drainage contracting business based in Warwickshire, formed 78 years ago. One of three working directors, Rob Burtonshaw has completed a Nuffield scholarship, looking into systems employed across North America, with many ideas bought back to use in the UK. Increasing capacity while lowering the cost for customers has led the company to purchase a 428hp Mastenbroek 40/20 drainage plough. With GPS grade control, accurate depth and location is achieved, as well as the ability to map the position and depth of laid drains.
Ashley Luke and Chelsea Steel, A.J. Luke Contracting, Somerset
What began as Luke with one tractor in 2005, is now a multi-contracting enterprise with his partner Chelsea managing the office and seven employees. The business now operates services including manure and slurry spreading, cultivations, drilling, baling, hedge cutting and groundworks, employees are busy year-round. Communication and a professional approach are key to establishing good relationships, says Ashley. Employees, who mostly come from family farms themselves, are trusted to make judgment calls over ground conditions, seed bed prep and crop fitness. The company recognises the importance of meeting customers in a social capacity, hosting several events in quieter periods to build communication and rapport.
Angus Newton, Aon Services, Norfolk
Established two years ago, AON Services is based out of Norfolk and owned by Angus Newton, specialising in spreading as well as other agricultural and construction projects. A range of products, including muck, lime, compost and beet spoil is spread with three identical units, comprising of John Deere 6215Rs coupled to 15-tonne Bunning Lowlander spreaders, loaded by a JCB 419S loading shovel. The company puts an emphasis on accuracy of spread, using GPS and weigh cells, while employee safety is of paramount importance with several protocols in place.
Stephen Rolfe, Stevie Rolfe Cattle Services, Lanarkshire
Stephen Rolfe’s contracting business started in 2004, specialising in a range of cattle husbandry tasks. With a focus on a personal and tailored service, the company caries out some 28,000 cattle freeze brandings each year, up to 4,000 pelvic measurements and 40,000 straws of semen are distributed, among other operations. Several farms trust the company to select bulls for use across their herds, with a focus on quality of genetics and performance, while demand is growing each year for pelvic scoring, which is carried out by hand.