A fleet of Kubota tractors continues to provide excellent productivity for De Rustica Olive Estate, located in the Swartberg Mountains of the Southern Cape of South Africa.
According to farm manager Joop Steenkamp, producing quality olive oil is not a straightforward task. “It’s all about making the right choices from the smallest things to the biggest, and when it comes to tractors, choosing Kubota has made a real difference to us,” he says.
De Rustica started with Kubota nearly three years ago. “We were looking for an efficient orchard tractor with a cab and Kubota was the only company in this region that had what we wanted. So, we gave it a try and never looked back,” says Steenkamp.
Today De Rustica has five Kubotas ranging in size. “They are great machines – very fuel efficient, reliable and, importantly, we get the best possible service from Carlu Trekkers, Kubota dealers in George. They go the extra mile for us and this makes a huge difference as downtime is so costly.”
The Kubota that made all the difference in the beginning for De Rustica was the M8540 N with a cab. Boasting advanced transmission and PTO technology, a range of new features as standard and high performance hydraulics, the M8540 is said to be an exceptional workhorse, built on proven technology.
“It was interesting that no other tractor company could provide us with a narrow tractor with a cab. This was essential to us as we spray the trees using these tractors and of course our operators need protection,” says Steenkamp.
On this subject Smith Power Equipment (SPE), Kubota distributors in South Africa, warn that South African farmers generally are not taking seriously enough the importance of a well-designed, safe tractor cab which conforms to international safety standards, which is most especially important with cabs of spraying tractors.
According to SPE’s Deon Engelke, one of the problems is that farmers have become guided by price alone, failing to take into consideration the lifetime costs of ownership. “It is productivity over the life of a tractor that is the most important issue, not the once-off capital cost,” says Engelke.
Steenkamp agrees. “We look at our costs very carefully as any successful farmer would do. But we recognise that sometimes, especially with tractors, that a cheaper initial investment can be expensive in the long run. With our Kubotas there is no doubt that while they were a little more expensive to buy, over time they have saved us a lot of money,” he says.