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Fixing and maintaining farm machinery is no simple task. As machines get more high tech, the specialist skills to look after them get more refined. Andrew Frampton from AF Agricultural Engineering is a specialist in Massey Ferguson and Kubota equipment and has been helping farmers keep their machinery in good shape for more than 35 years. From annual checks to emergency call outs, here’s what you need to know…
I started out in MST Group in 1981. Then I worked for CR Willcocks where I continued my college work and got a class one HGV licence. That’s when my career changed direction to working working with commercial vehicles. I went back to MST in 1990 and then later began working for a plant machinery company in 2005.
After an accident in which I broke my back I had to stop working for a while and after going back I eventually got frustrated working for other people and decided to start working for myself again. I’ve always had a good rapport with customers, and have found that they often contact me directly, so it was a natural progression.
I provide dealer level diagnostics for Massey Ferguson tractors and compact Kubota machinery, which I have been working with for 30 years. In short, whatever you see on a farm, I fix. I am independent, but I have dealer level diagnostics. I work with big machinery like combine harvesters, but I also do a lot of the ground care and look after smaller equipment as well, like the ride on lawnmowers that the council use.
It’s the agriculture industry first and foremost, but as mentioned I also do ground care and smaller machinery. I do everything from JCB overhaul to power quad on a John Deere - any kind of grounds maintenance machinery.
It’s just me! I have lived in the South Hams all my life. I live in Holbeton between Mothecombe, Modbury and Yealmpton. I spent my early years in the pub that my grandfather owned. He was the last publican to brew his own cider in any real quantity - around 10,000 gallons, and it was potent too!
What do people often not realise about your business?
The variety of things that I do, and the breadth of the area that I work in. I cover all the South Hams and it really is all grounds maintenance equipment, whether it’s regular maintenance or emergency call outs. I was out with a combine harvester at midnight in August in East Portlemouth, for example. I think it’s important to be available when people need you. During harvests, people are pushed to get the crops in and if something doesn’t work then it fixed straight away.
I carry a hospital kit for Massey Fergusons in general, complete with controllers for hydraulics, a pressure whip, and an array of spares so that I can go and fix things quickly. My aim is to fix in one visit.
Over the winter it’s all about service work on combine harvesters and ride on mowers in particular; making sure they’re working properly for next year. There’s a seasonality to some of the work - for example, in the winter when no crops are being harvested it’s a good time for winter services on compact and ground care items.
For me it’s providing a service that people want, but often can’t find. I also try to save people some money as well if possible. That’s the big thing and because I have 35 years of industry knowledge I know where to get parts and how much they should cost or what alternatives will help people.
CONTACT AF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING
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