For Neil Dallyn, entering the Contractor Innovator of the Year in the 2019 British Farming Awards presented an ideal opportunity to thoroughly appraise his business and justify of his decisions to a third party. Winning the award was an unexpected bonus and was, in his own words, a great way to reward his hard working team who do so much all year round to support the firm’s customers.
Based at Waltham Park Farm, West Sussex, and trading as R. and A. Dallyn and Sons, Neil’s comprehensive farm and countryside contracting business has grown organically over 20 years or more offering all grassland related work, cultivation, combining, fertiliser and chemical applications, fencing, digger work and general estate maintenance, plus the supply of labour.
It was the desire to farm more efficiently himself, and with better machinery, that he exploited the area’s need for good operators and equipment.
Customers range from large estates to smallholders, but all are made to feel equally important and if someone requests work that he has not done before, he is keen to find an efficient way of doing it.
Neil has always had at least one KUHN machine is his fleet and currently runs several, including a GMD 600 that was his first mower when he started the business in 2001. It remains a trusty workhorse to this day, operating on some of his smaller jobs such as wildflower meadows cut for hay. He’s also still running a longstanding MDS 1141 fertiliser spreader, recently taking delivery of new vanes ahead of the 2020 season.
Neil is onto his fourth KUHN tedder, currently running a GF 7802 Gyrotedder, and says in all the years he’s been making hay and silage he’s yet to find a machine that will spread grass as well as a KUHN.
He’s also a devotee of his SW 4004 bale wrapper, which in Neil’s view is the only machine that can bale both round and square bales well.
Three and four metre Venta pneumatic drills run in combination with HR power harrows complete Neil’s KUHN line up, with these being described as ‘amazing pieces of kit’.
“Kuhn machines are built well and tend to be long-lasting,” he says, “and they hold their value when its time to trade them in.”
Expansion of the business has been focused on some of the smaller contracts which at the time, larger operators did not want to take on and while this increases the administrative burden, Neil says it pays.
“We could double in size, such is the demand, but I want to keep true to my core loyal customers,” he says, adding that key measures of the success of his business have been hard work, listening to people, having good team members, and organising ‘days out’ to strengthen team bonds and goals.