Okoroire is well known for its Hot Springs, but also home to some of the best dairy farms in the Waikato. One such operation, trading as JV Mitchell is run on a day to day basis by James Mitchell, the third generation to do so in the fifty years the family has been involved with the property. Running to around 60 ha of rolling to steep terrain, the fam supports 180 milking comes and around 80 followers.
Having run John Deere tractors in the past, latterly in the shape of a model 5085, when the decision came to upgrade from 80 to 100hp, Mitchell quickly realised that the John Deere 5100M tractors looked like the ideal solution.
Offering 100hp from its 4-cylinder PowrTech E engine, then mated to a 32F/12R speed Powr Reverser transmission, the final clincher for giving dealer AGrowQuip the nod, was a high specification cabin that offered many benefits. These included, comfort, weather protection and a quiet working environment, complimented by an ergonomic layout and a dedicated loader joystick.
With loader operations playing a major part of workload, that joystick allows precise, logical control of the factory-supplied H310 front-end loader that sees duty carrying a range of attachments from buckets to bale forks and soft-hands bale grippers.
The tractors suitability for dairy operations stems from the design layout that sees a compact footprint that offers great manoeuvrability, with a 4-metre turning radius, but also stability, imparted by a ladder frame chassis and the 4.5 tonne operating weight- both a must for operation in the tricky terrain.
Now with around 700 hours on the clock and two years’ worth of experience, Mitchell sings the praises of the nuggety JD by commenting “the change from the ROPS tractor to the JD 5100M cabin was certainly a sharp move, as it offers some creature comforts that make it a great place to be, whether it’s during the cold, wet days of winter, or hot, dry ones mid-summer.”
Typically, the workload on the farm centres around the livestock, so includes loading and feeding out maize silage with a wagon- a task complimented by an after-market weighing system built into the loader. Additionally, the 5100M gets called upon to carry out mowing duties, carry the farm’s mounted sprayer, and of course, apply fertiliser to grazed or harvested paddocks.
Mitchell comments on the torquey engine, noting he typically sets the throttle to around 1500rpm for most jobs “then I pick the right gear for the job, knowing I can use the splitter to change down if we hit any tough spots- whatever we encounter, the engine just seems to hang on.”
On a day to day basis, the one-piece lift up hood and fold-down radiators mean daily checks are easy, so are carried out regularly, while also being mindful of the need to keep an eye out for nesting birds during the spring and summer months. Routine servicing is carried out by AGrowQuip, situated just about 20 minutes away, quickly and without fuss, and always at the end of a phone if any advice is needed.
James Mitchell sums up the arrival of the John Deere 5100M Cabin quite simply, by describing as the complete all-rounder. “At the time we were looking to upgrade, we quickly realised that the 5100M ticked all the boxes. Add to that, the availability of a 5-tear Fleetguard comprehensive warranty package and some exceptionally cheap finance, then I really didn’t have to think about saying yes for too long-it was certainly one of my better decisions.”