In the third of our occasional series on machines that have worked above and beyond the call of duty, Andy Collings talks to Ian Giles of Lancashire’s Ashworth Contractors about his John Deere 6830.

When did you buy it?

I was keen to have the tractor on an 09 plate so it arrived on the 1 March of that year. It was the second John Deere 6830 I had bought and it joined our tractor fleet which also includes a selection of Case Pumas, a Claas Axion and a Kubota M128X.

What’s good about it?

The 6830 is a comfortable tractor which my staff enjoy driving – which is essential when you consider the hours the tractor has done. Visibility is good and the transmission offers a range of gears which suit the type of work we use it for.

What’s not so good about it?

The cab is a tad on the small size and is rather cluttered. I think Deere could at least give the appearance of more space even if it did not actually change the dimensions.

What are its main tasks?

For 90% of its time this tractor is employed to operate a mixer wagon for a large dairy herd. It is a day-in, day-out job with no respite and one that sees the tractor in operation for up to 15 hours a day – every day of the year. The tractor has two drivers working in shifts.

During the silaging season, we often put the tractor on mowing duties after it has finished its day on the mixer wagon. At other times of the year, it could be hitched up to a slurry pump to supply our umbilical spreading rigs. In freezing weather conditions we like to operate the slurry injector for 24 hours a day to keep the umbilical pipe and pump from becoming clogged with frozen slurry.

Do you look after it well?

The tractor is serviced every month with an engine oil change and new filters. It’s a schedule which is strictly adhered to.

How about fuel consumption?

On a full tank of 250 litres we can get 28 hours of operation when operating the mixer wagon. This is about nine litres/hour and means we have to fill her up every two days.

What about reliability?

The pto sensor, which detects whether or not the pto is rotating, failed one Saturday afternoon. We couldn’t engage the pto drive, which was not good news when operating a mixer wagon. We had it fixed by tea-time and, other than that, it has behaved well.

The tyres are starting to wear after all that running about on concrete – the fronts now have about 10% and the rears have 30% left in them.

Will you keep it?

We trade them in for new machines after two years – that way our fleet remains up to date and the running costs remain reasonably low.

The 6830 is just coming up to completing its two-year stint with us and will be traded in for a new model, which will be another 6830.

The strange thing is that John Deere tachometers only go up to 9999 hours and then start at zero again – is this a subtle hint for customers to change their tractors?


John Deere 6830

• Hours: 10,342
• Age: 23 months
• Power: 145hp
• Engine: 6-cyl Deere PowerTech
• Transmission: Five ranges with four shifts in each


Company details

• Ashworth contracting
• Main services offered: Forage harvesting of grass, wholecrop and maize; umbilical and tanker slurry spreading; ploughing and drilling; willow harvesting
• Tractors: 2 x John Deere 6830, 4 x Case Puma, Claas Axion, Kubota M128X
• Forager harvesters: New Holland FR9060, Claas 850
• Working area 60 mile radius of Mitton, Clitheroe, Lancs.