Whereas in the past a tractor used to collect the milk from farms, now a new Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 430 is in operation. Although the predecessor was a high-speed tractor, the Unimog is considerably faster – and more economical. "The Unimog has reduced journey times by up to three hours, and on some days it saves us more than 75 litres of fuel," says Rob Huntbach from Hayfields Dairy. On rough terrain, though, the Unimog is just as powerful as its predecessor.
Hayfields Dairy collects high-quality milk, which is used as a raw material, from selected farms in Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. The work is now done by the Unimog, which can cover up to 250 miles per day. The pumps on the 16,000-litre milk tank trailer are powered by its hydraulic system. The end product is a variety of award-winning cheeses.
Managing Director Rob Huntbach, a grandson of the founder, explains: "If transporting was the only job we had to do, we'd use a conventional truck, but I need a multi-talent that can do a load of other jobs too, all the things that need doing on a farm."
The Unimog at Hayfields Dairy also benefits from the optional VarioPilot system. It means the driver can switch between left-hand and right-hand drive: the steering wheel, the instrument panel and the pedals can be moved from one side to the other in less than a minute. That is ideal for work like mowing and hedge cutting, which can be carried out more simply and safely from the co-driver's side of the vehicle. The Unimog also sometimes tows a silage trailer over the fields. Rob Huntbach says: "With a standard truck we couldn't do any of that. The Unimog really gives us the best of both worlds."