Sited on 91ha on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, Thanet Earth is heralded as the largest, most high-tech commercial greenhouse complex the UK has ever seen. It represents an £80m investment in the production of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Kent-based fresh produce supplier, Fresco Group, have teamed up with three specialist large-scale growers for the project that includes the construction of seven Venlo glasshouses, each of over 7 Hectares (10 football pitches). The 91 hectare site will also house a 30,000 square metre pack-house and a marketing company to sell these salad crops, mainly to the UK supermarkets.
Twig Trading of Lamberhurst in Kent recently won the contract for the maintenance of the entire site having successfully completed phase one of the projects. “We have planted in the region of 150,000 trees and shrubs”, said David Eyre, Managing Director of Twig Trading. “We also seeded much of the site with native calcareous grasses to encourage wildlife and to help reinstate a large area of chalk grassland which is in decline in the UK.”
In order to maintain the site efficiently, David chose to purchase a new tractor. Chosen specifically for this contract, David wanted a tractor and implement that was easily transportable on a trailer and one that would weigh under 3.5 tones combined. For this, the Ferrari Vega came up trumps. “I looked at various other, larger tractors with 40 or 50kph gearboxes, but kept coming back to wanting an easily transportable machine. To have 91HP in such a compact machine with a 40kph gearbox makes any job we do effortless. The fact that the Ferrari Vega is available from a company local to us made the decision a ‘no-brainer’. Lamberhurst Engineering’s sales team is very knowledgeable and the decision of purchasing the Vega was the obvious choice for us.”
The tractor has been extremely impressive and manages to cope with a variety of tasks in a multitude of conditions. To date, the tractor has been used for topping and flailing on both flat and banked terrain, fencing with a post knocker, pulling a 6 metre set of Vaderstad rolls and moving heavy materials around with pallet forks due to the high life capacity.
“The articulated steer of the Vega 95AR makes positioning the post knocker for fencing a piece of cake and the powerful engine and low centre of gravity makes for a stable ride on banked areas.”
Lamberhurst Engineering has certainly seen a growth from Twig Trading’s first days as a farming contractor back in the late 1990’s. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength and now boasts clients such as the National Trust and NPower amongst others. “Lamberhurst Engineering is a local business that we have used for many years, originally from when we were farming, but more lately for the majority of our machine repairs and purchases of both new and used landscaping equipment. They are a helpful and friendly business that has certainly helped in the growth of Twig, through the supply of quality equipment and knowledgeable and genuine advice,” says David.