It’s probably safe to assume that Les Gudgeon knows his farm well, given that he was born and raised there and still farms it today. With his wife Dolina, the couple milk 220 cows on the 81ha property situated at Hinuera, around halfway between Matamata and Tirau, in the heart of Waikato dairy country.

Like most dairy farms, its all about the cows, with a large part of each season focussed on growing good crops for grazing, while conserving the surplus for use in the winter. That means there’s always a need for reliable tractors and machinery to address the tasks that each new day brings. Having run John Deere tractors previously and looking for an upgrade, Les decided that the JD 6 Series were a little too large, so settled on the 5100M in a ROPS configuration and ideally suited to dairy operations.

Now with two years and 1200 hours under its belt, the 4-cylinder 100hp tractor has certainly lived up to expectations, handling tasks with ease and certainly earning its keep.

Whilst complimenting the ease of access offered by the flat-platformed ROPS layout, Les pays note to the stability of the tractor on the farms rolling to part-hilly terrain. Shod with supplementary duals to further help the cause, the cast frame design helps keep the centre of gravity low, imparting confidence, even when handling baleage of up to 1000kgs /day, especially in awkward areas.

Up front, a factory fitted John Deere H310 loader finds plenty of work each day and certainly comes into its own when handling heavy bales of Lucerne grown over 4ha and cut up to eight times over a typical season.

Mowing is taken care of by a heavy-duty 3.2 metre cut disc mower, easily handled by the 100hp utility, that despite its compact size can still handle 4400kgs at the rear linkage, while the already mentioned front-end loader is quickly removed to reduce weight, wear and tear and to keep things quieter.

Once paddocks are grazed or harvested, the prime mover couples up to a 4.5 tonne trailed fertiliser spreader, that utilises the excellent torque offered by the PowerTech E engine and complimented by the 32F/12R PowrReverser transmission, that offers clutch-less forward or reverse movement, splitter and a 40kph maximum speed.

Les also notes that the open-centre 70 litres/min hydraulic system delivers to three pairs of rear remote valves, with flow adjustment on the first valve meaning the hydraulically driven spinners of the fertiliser spreader can be easily adjusted to control the spreading width

Day to day living with the 5100M is made easy with a one -piece engine hood allowing access to key components like the air cleaner, dipstick and oil filler, while fold-down radiators allow thorough cleaning and air flow kept to the optimum. Likewise, the flat platform is easy to keep clean with a hose across the rubber matting, with an additional nod to protection offered by the heavy-duty seat cover “donated” by the dealer.

That dealer, AGrowQuip, is conveniently situated just twenty minutes away on the new Cambridge by-pass is praised for great service, reacting quickly to any issues that might develop and offering sound advice when it comes to considering any new tractors or equipment

Les sums up his John Deere experience by commenting “the 5100M has been an extremely reliable tractor, it’s easy to operate and always performs far better than you would expect for a tractor of its size.”