Business Rural Winter 2022

52 | RURAL SERVICES » Pankhurst Contracting Ltd No job too big or small for Pankhurst Sheep and beef farmers make up the lion’s share of customers in the region. Richard Loader Growing up around wide-open spaces, big tractors and the smell of freshly cut summer grass, there was never any doubt that Ben Pankhurst would follow his passion for machinery and become an agricultural contractor, a life he continues to love. Ben’s been part of his family’s North Canterbury business, Pankhurst Contracting, for the past 15 years in partnership with his parents David and Diane. “Mum and dad started the business about thirty years ago with a medium square bailer, one of the rst in North Canterbury. Bailing is still a huge part of the business but we have evolved into cultivation and direct drilling.” Based in Greta Valley, the business operates from Amberley through to the Hurunui River, and up to Hawarden — stretching a little further a eld on occasion. “We have a lot of loyal customers who have been with us for years, some right from the start. There are a number of clients who are now into the second generation. I’ve lived in the area my whole life. I’ve gone to school with some of the people and grown up with them, so you’re working with friends.” Sheep and beef farmers make up the lion’s share of customers in the region but there are also a number of vineyards in Waipara that the Pankhursts do post driving for during the winter months and there’s a growing number of lifestyle blocks around Amberley. “There’s no job that’s too small or too big — we will t everything in,” says Ben. The family’s impressive line-up of modern and well-maintained agricultural machinery includes three Case tractors up to 270hp, with a fourth hired during the busy summer season. Two of the tractors run GPS autosteer, making direct drilling between 5% - 10% more accurate, a nice neat job and ultimately saving the client money. A Case Medium Square LBX Bailer sits with a McHale Fusion Vario round baler/wrapper combo. Direct drills, roller drills, precision planters for fodder beet, multi-discs and power harrows add to the capability of the business. Over the years Ben has observed that the sheep and beef sector have become increasingly business focused and conscious of farm costs. “That has meant we also have to be more professional in our approach and more ef cient with machinery. Clients want to see modern machines and they want the con dence that we know what we’re doing. All our machinery is modern and well maintained. If you don’t keep up with modern machinery you skip behind and lose ef ciency.” Re ecting on what has been the key to the success of the family business, Ben says it is being reliable and doing the best job you can all the time. “I think it helps being reasonably small — the person on the job can make the call about what needs to be done. Farmers are also very busy people and it can be hard for them to keep up with farming trends. A lot of the time the farmer will ask us about ideas and what we think should be done in respect to their land. They rely on people to give them the right advice.” Amberley 03 314 9055 Ashburton 03 307 8027 Leeston 03 324 3791 Timaru 03 688 2179 A family owned and operated agricultural machinery business, Cochranes have been providing excellent customer service and support to South Island farmers and contractors for over 65 years. Like us on Facebook We are registered and quali ed contractors doing all cultivation and baling work, post driving and recycling of Ag plastics. The family’s impressive line-up of modern and well-maintained agricultural machinery includes three Case tractors up to 270hp. • Precision Machining • Fire Fighting Equipment • Aviation Accessories • Fabrication of new Equipment • General Engineering: Repairs - Modifications Welding of most metals Sheet Metal work Eagle Engineering Specialists in Machining & Welding 03 314 6843