FIVE Kioti tractors have tallied up more than 45,000 trouble-free hours of hard work for South Australian vineyard operators, Fleurieu Vintners.
Based in Clarendon with 420 hectares of vineyards in and around the Fleurieu Peninsula, Fleurieu Vintners crushes 5000 tonnes of grapes each year and has its own winery producing high grade wines including the popular Blackbilly and Clarence Hill labels.
Vineyard manager, Mick McDade, has worked for the company for 10 years, looking after the Currency Rise and California Rise vineyards.
“When I first arrived there were some pretty unreliable tractors here,” he said.
“A neighbouring vineyard had two of the South Korean Kioti Daedong tractors and they recommended them as good machines.”
Mr McDade bought his first Kioti Daedong DK90 model in 2002.
“You do your research but there’s always an element of risk when you buy a new machine. You can’t know exactly how it will go. Well, that DK90 has done 18,000 hours for us over 10 years and given us no trouble at all,” he said.
A few months after buying the DK90, they bought a DK80, which has since clocked up 14,000 hours.
The two early tractors played a big role in establishing vineyard beds, trellises and tracks as the property grew from 52ha to 180ha.
As vineyard operations continued to expand, they added another DK90 to the fleet and to date it has given them 11,000 hours of hard work.
In 2010, the purchase of two Kioti DX9010 machines brought the fleet up to five cabin tractors.
Mr McDade said they are averaging 1500-1800 hours a year on all the tractors.
Fleurieu Vintners has a self-propelled Grégoire G120 grape harvester and also a Grégoire G65 trailed harvester which is pulled by one of the Kioti DX9010 tractors.
“We use all the tractors with three-tonne spreaders, turbo sprayers, slashers, chaser bins, three-tonne tipping gondolas and for front-end loader work,” Mr McDade said.
“We work them hard, service them regularly and we only buy genuine Kioti parts.
“The earlier tractors were simple and tough and very reliable. We have many different operators at harvest time and we didn’t want to buy anything over-complicated.”