STONE FARMS LTD ANSWER THE CALL WITH BRYCE
Stone Farms Ltd is a small family business based in East Kent under the North Downs, currently run by brothers John and Matthew Whitehead.
“Unfortunately the M20 motorway and more recently the channel tunnel/high speed link drastically reduced our acreage, therefore diversification was essential for the survival of the farm.”
“In 1986, we managed to convince the Ministry of Defence that we would put up fences quicker and cheaper than the contractors they were using. This led to our first post knocker purchase – a very basic ‘Parmiter’ – far better than hand tools! Then came the ‘Shelbourne Reynolds Parmiter PPD200’ which we still use today.
We recently secured a 15km contract on sometimes steep land but on very hard ground ranging from very tight chalk with flints, to clay with flints. Hard at the best of times, but with recent dry summers making ground conditions even worse.”
“We also had a 360 digger in our lineup with an Augertorque auger mounted on it and we used 6” augers for pilot holes and 10-12” augers for straining posts which were backfilled by hand. This was costing us time on the job and we also had to transport the digger to every job. Despite using specially made rock augers, we were wearing out the cutting head and auger flights within a month because of the severity of the ground conditions and it was expensive to maintain these augers on a regular basis. We also had problems with auger penetration and with big flints – the auger would not go in or the auger tip would sit on top of a big flint. Sometimes by moving the digger jib in different directions we could get the hole bored, but it was time consuming and costly with wear on digger and auger. The augers had to be refurbished on a monthly basis – inconvenient and costly.
We simply had to move away from working like this and our focus switched to post drivers capable of dealing with these conditions. We needed a post driver that would drive in lots of minimum 150mm top strainers fast and without damage and it would also need to be suitable for our Ford 7710“. Jock Bryce said, “When I initially spoke to Matthew he described the current working procedure with equipment they were using and the severity of the ground conditions. My first reaction was to propose the Bryce Magnum, however this was quickly excluded because of the Ford 7710 tractor available and the often steep ground encountered. The Forest Supreme was the obvious solution as it had all the features and the hitting power of the Magnum but weighed 900kg less. This suited the tractor down to the ground and has subsequently proved the perfect fit.”
The Whitehead brothers said, “Our first port of call was to go to Bryce Suma – a brand that stands out. This has proved to be a very wise choice. Jock was incredibly helpful and we decided to purchase a ‘Bryce Powershift HD2 Forest Supreme’ with a 500kg weight and a 95mm rock spike. It is simple, straightforward, very robust and puts strainers into ground as hard as concrete. We can now work efficiently on the hardest land you can work on, because we now have the right machine.
It has without doubt been well thought out and is very well- engineered. It has been tested to the limit, driving in hundreds of strainers, and it still performs as well as the day it came out of the factory.”
Matthew continues, “very, very pleased with it. Probably the best thing we have bought for many years, it’s 100% and can’t fault it and can only sing its praises. The Bryce with the rockspike makes it all so simple and does it in a fraction of the time compared to the machines we had in our previous line-up”.