For these two Lincolnshire farmers, working their Challengers this way is a deliberate business decision and key element of their farming strategy. To a significant extent, confidence in a Challenger’s longevity can be attributed to its heritage from CAT construction equipment, where 30,000hr design life at heavy duty loads is standard, and ‘disposable engineering’ are still considered dirty words . Of course, for all kinds of machine, longevity and reliability are also critical to maintaining good trade-in and second hand values, which in turn have a major bearing on the cost of ownership for buyers of new machines.
Farmers Challenger tractor Testimonial Case Study – Andrew Branton
Lets hear it for the ‘million-mile’ owners club!
One of the Challengers featured here is a 2003 model with more than 12,000 hours on the clock. For context, a taxi driver in Stirling recently told me with some pride that the 2007 diesel saloon in which we were travelling had 360,000 miles on the clock. Apart from a dodgy gearchange from 2nd to 3rd, it seemed to be running ok. But before getting too impressed by this, the Challenger’s 12,705.3 hours, operating at or close to full power most of the time, is equivalent perhaps to the taxi doing a constant 100mph for 1.2 million miles ! At that time, would it still have the original engine and gearbox? This Challenger does.
Andrew Branton – Challenger Owner – Purchased New, and run since 2003
It is one of a pair of 765s operated by WD Branton from their base at Willow Tree Farm, Deeping Saint Nicholas, near Spalding in Lincolnshire. Potatoes, sugar beet and combinable crops are the cropping mainstays on 1,822ha (4,500 acres) of land that, according to farm partner Andrew Branton, ranges from grade one silt, through black peaty soils, grade two clay loams to some “very heavy, grade three stuff”. Across all these soil types, the two major concerns are compaction and organic matter depletion. “After a wet summer or autumn, it can take more than two years to restore soil structure to normal,” he says. “And in this part of the country, there is a strong case for returning to mixed farming, as much for a ready supply of manure as additional financial margins.” However, this is ruled out by Andrew for the time being because the family firm’s management horsepower is already fully occupied looking after supermarket supply contracts for potatoes, which he says demand significant attention to customer care as well as crop husbandry and store management.
Challenger MT765 year 2003, with 12,700hrs and counting !