Tom Stockil, North Yorkshire

Reliability and build quality were the key reasons Tom Stockil and his father Michael chose to break a long-held relationship with their hedge trimmer supplier. Having found those qualities by switching to a Shelbourne Reynolds Powerblade VFRT, they have been able to cut the trimmer fleet for their contracting business from three machines to two, while maintaining the same amount of work.

Tom Stockil

“We cut the hedges on around 15-16,000 acres each year within a ten mile radius of home,” explains Tom, who is based at Markington, near Harrogate.

“With that amount of land to get round, as well as our own dairy herd to look after, the reliability issues we were enduring with the McConnel machines that previously made up our whole fleet were causing us big problems.

“We were finding that they simply weren’t heavy-duty enough, and we were experiencing hydraulic problems with seals, pipes and pumps.

“Aside from the cost, with that much land to get round, contracting customers to keep happy and our own farm to look after, we couldn’t afford to lose that sort of time.”

The issues led to the Stockils reconsidering their choice of make, and after assessing the design and build quality of others on the market, they purchased a Shelbourne Powerblade HD775 VFRT from local dealer Jackson’s Motor Engineers.

“They’ve always given us fantastic support, so we were confident in the back up we would get, despite the fact we were moving to a new make,” Tom says of the family’s dealer.

“Apart from the build quality of the Shelbourne machine, it was the design and the specification fitted as standard that were the key attractions. Features such as a head and boom float were part of the basic specification on the Shelbourne, making verge mowing much easier and tidier.”

But it’s the combination of variable forward reach with a telescopic extending boom which really appealed to the Stockils.

“When considering a new machine, we really wanted forward reach, but didn’t want to give up the telescopic capability of our existing machines. The idea of having the two together with the VFRT was a big attraction, and it works really well – it’s one of the features that means the Shelbourne has taken on the work of two machines.  

“The forward reach is brilliant, and makes so much difference to vision. With the McConnel I had to look back what seemed like a long way over my shoulder, whereas with the VFRT the head is right alongside.

“The reach to the rear is also really good – it makes cutting behind poles and into corners much easier. With two-year growth, I tend to do one top cut at a fairly fast forward speed, then cut on the angle, then do the side, leaving just a final top trim to finish off.

“I can do that by cutting once around with the boom in its forward position, then on the next pass set the boom back to do the awkward bits. Once the boom is set up for a pass, there’s little need to move it again.

“And the hydraulic nose cone fitted to our machine is really handy. I can open the hood up for mulching brambles and close it down for hedge work.  The Powerblade makes a really neat job, which I put down to the head design and the heavy T-flails.”

The success of the Shelbourne addition to the Stockil hedgetrimmer fleet means it’s likely to be joined by a similar machine in the near future. 

“Our first Powerblade VFRT has been totally reliable and its design has enabled us to get through more work in a day. On current experience, when our other hedgetrimmer comes due for replacement, it will almost certainly be for a Shelbourne.”

Follow us on facebook Follow us on twitter View our Youtube channel