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Using ATV’s to Diversify Your Farm

Allistair Freeland-Cook and his family run 5500 ewes and 140 cattle over 6500 acres across their own land, tenancy and contract farming agreements. The land ranges from heather to herbal leys, with the majority of Black Face ewes lambing outside before coming down to pasture land to be crossed with Leicesters which produce the scotch mule that then provides faster growing fat lambs for sale.

“We have grown RP&A Freeland-Cook to include a variety of contracting services. My brother Daniel and I farm in partnership with our parents. Daniel runs the Saler cattle with my son Thomas and I work with them, my wife Claire and our daughter Emma to manage the sheep. We also have a forestry arm to the business, clearing land and road building,” Allistair explains.

The only way to cover the land and manage such a diverse business is to use ATVs. The family has worked closely with local dealer Frank Gibson ATV, where Euan Gibson has been helping them all to keep moving.

“We have had machines stolen in the past which is real problem for us, especially if we are lambing or calving. We can’t afford to be without wheels, but Euan has always kept us mobile. The Yamaha Kodiak ATVs we have from him are worked hard and perform superbly. We rotate them every year and change them every four years, by which time they will have done more than 11,000 miles,” he says.

Following the theft of ATVs from the farm he has fitted trackers which also double up as a safety measure.

“Safety and security are paramount in farming, and having these trackers helps us to deter would-be thieves. However, we have been more impressed with the ability to track the movements of the ATVs, because knowing the location and whether the ATV is moving helps us to understand if the rider is safe. The tracker also signals if an ATV is overturned, which means we can act quickly to sort the problem,” he says.

The ATVs help to move sheep in a rotational grazing system using a variety of tandem trailers. The Yamaha Kodiak 700 EPS has more than enough power to carry 140 kilos and tow 600 kilos, but Mr Freeland-Cook suggests that the steering system and automatic gearbox also make these realistic figures when working on steep terrain.

“The Kodiak is powerful and compact which means it has an excellent power to weight ratio. It also has power steering and excellent suspension which makes it a comfortable ride. It is really important for us that we can manoeuvre through tight spaces whilst towing trailers, and potentially a ewe or lamb on the ATV with us. This is one of the reasons we decided to choose Yamaha; we need stability on the hills,” he says.

Yamaha’s CVT transmission provides constant and smooth engine braking on hills which, when carrying heavy loads, instils confidence in the rider. It is also a significant help when using implements such as his C DAX sprayer, Logic weed wiper or Chapman snacker.

“Being able to keep a consistent speed without changing gear means I can focus on the task at hand. Whether it’s weed wiping or spraying fence lines, I want the job to be made easier, not harder, by the ATV and that is where the Yamaha CVT transmission really helps.”

To ensure the family can operate through the winter he purchased tracks for one of his Kodiak 700 EPS’s. The tracks enable the Kodiak to travel in the snow and are also helpful when the ground is saturated and slippery.