Steve Osborne of S&J Osborne took a leap of faith moving away from his trusted tractor brand, in favour of Finland’s finest - Valtra. Read more...
That was five years ago, and what started with just one model has since escalated into four Valtras among a seven-tractor fleet. His latest two, a metallic white T214 Unlimited and a metallic grey T174 Unlimited, were supplied by Crawford’s newly opened Billingshurst depot.
“The cost of kit has risen quite significantly in recent years, and we needed to look at the bigger picture rather than simply buying the same again,” he says. “And I must say, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by what the Valtra’s offer our business.” That business operates from Broad Bridge Farm, Ashington, West Sussex, where the father and son partnership of John and Steve Osborne continue to meet the needs of local livestock producers with silage-focussed contract operation.
While 84-year old John prefers working slightly less hours than the rest of the team, he does it in style – at the helm of one of two Fendt 724’s in the fleet, leaving grandsons Sam and Daryl to step-up with their customised Finnish rides. “The boys really like the attention to detail that the Valtra’s provide,” says Steve. “Everybody comments on how comfortable these tractors are, and the SmartTouch terminal on the newer models teaches us something new every time we hook-up an implement,” he says. “And having a tractor in a different colour scheme helps us to stand-out without needing to add sign-writing.”
When it comes to details, Daryl’s metallic white T214 wears wheel nut pointers for easy safety checks, and the interior sports a seat cover, plush carpet, mats, plug-in fridge, and an array of cleaning products that would shame most truckers. “It’s a boots-off job when we’re on long days in the cab,” says Daryl. “Our cabs are our offices, so comfort, cleanliness and having a fresh environment is important to us – just like the service and support we get from Crawfords.”
While the jury is out on the colour of S&J Osborne’s next tractor – one operator favours metallic orange, while another fancies pink as a tribute to a recently lost family member – one thing is certain. “I enjoy the straightforward honesty that comes from dealing with a family-run firm like Crawfords – there’s no-nonsense, just trust and integrity,” adds Steve. “We all know where we stand.”