A dairy believes they have found an ideal use for the talented Unimog. It replaces a high-speed tractor and can travel up to 250 miles a day towing milk tankers.
Why not buy a ‘normal’ truck?
Firstly, everyone wants a Unimog – you can turn it from left hand drive to right hand drive at the flick of a switch, for example. How cool is that?
Secondly, the Unimog has other work to do around the 250 acre farm. There are hedges that need trimming, trailers that need moving across fields and operating the pumping equipment for the milk.
Better than a Tractor
Hayfields Dairy’s new Mercedes-Benz Unimog is significantly faster on road and a lot more economical than the ‘high-speed’ agricultural tractor it used previously to collect milk from suppliers – yet the 4×4 implement carrier is also every bit as capable as its predecessor when venturing onto rough ground.
Proprietor Rob Huntbach revealed: “The Unimog has cut journey times by as much as three hours, and is also saving us more than 75 litres of fuel on some working days. In financial terms, it’s a ‘no brainer’!”
The Unimog Specification
The U430 was supplied by Dealer Lloyd Ltd. It is powered by a 7.7-litre six-cylinder engine which produces 220 kW (299 hp) and is paired with a fully synchronised electro pneumatic transmission that allows drivers to switch between manual gear shifting and automatic mode at the press of a button, even while on the move.
Hayfields Dairy’s 12.7-tonne GVW Unimog is a Short model – a Long variant of the U430 is also available. It has a factory-fitted tipping body, while the front-mounted linkage and DIN plate, and an engine PTO (power take-off), allow it to operate with a variety of attachments.
The Unimog’s Duty Cycle
Hayfields Dairy collects the high-quality milk it uses as a raw material from selected farms located throughout Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. This task is now undertaken by the Unimog, which can cover anything up to 250 miles in a day – its hydraulic system is also used to drive the pumps on the 16,000-litre milk tank trailer it tows.
Managing Director Rob Huntbach, a grandson of the founders, explained: “If this was its only role we’d run a conventional truck, but I need a multi-talented vehicle that can also be used to undertake a wide variety of other tasks on the farm.”
He recalled: “We tried Lloyd Ltd’s demonstrator before we committed to buy the Unimog, and if I’m honest I wasn’t sure it was going to be up to the job. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Our new Mercedes-Benz is incredibly versatile. When it comes to road work the Unimog has a 56 mph cruising speed which makes it significantly quicker than the tractor we’d been using to pull the tanker. It’s also more nimble, more comfortable, and much more fuel-efficient.”
Mr Huntbach continued: “We have about 250 acres at Hayfields. I rent all my ground out now, but there are still plenty of jobs to do around the farm, and here, too, the Unimog excels. We’ve also used it with hedge cutting attachments, and for pulling a silage trailer over the fields – we couldn’t do any of that with a standard truck. It really does offer the best of both worlds.”
Hayfields Dairy’s Unimog also benefits from the optional VarioPilot system. This allows the driver to swap between left- and right-hand drive, moving the steering wheel, instrument panel and pedals from one side to the other in less than a minute. It is ideal for tasks such as mowing and hedge-cutting, which are more easily and safely completed from the verge-side of the vehicle.
Lloyd Ltd’s Unimog Sales Specialist Simon Holmes arranged a two-year extension to the Unimog’s standard three-year warranty. The vehicle will be maintained at the customer’s base by the one of the Dealer’s dedicated mobile technicians. “I’m chuffed to bits with the Unimog, while the service has been first class throughout,” confirmed Mr Huntbach.
The Huntbach family has been farming in Audlem, Cheshire, since 1949. For most of that time Hayfields was home to a dairy herd, although the first cheese was produced here as long ago as 1957. Since 2018, when the last dairy cow left, the business has been fully focused on its passion for making and selling award-winning cheeses and butter, which are hugely popular with customers of pubs, restaurants and shops throughout the area. Launched in June, its online outlet has also made an important contribution to revenues in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.