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Interview • From foundation to finish

From Foundation to Finish

Plant Planet’s Hannah Bounford sits down with farmer and construction plant operator Jonny Darbyshire to learn more about the day in the life of a heavy machinery operator. better you get, the more machines you’re allowed to use and they get more and more sophisticated

telehandler: ‘It really does depend on the time of year so at harvest time you could be sat in a tractor doing the same job for the whole day, carting corn, cultivating, but then in the winter and spring you’ll be using the telehandler to muck out manure or load trailers with corn stored over winter.’

I would basically do all the technical stuff where you need to be accurate in your operation. It was all ‘By the time I left farming I was before drilling the crops and spraying the Darbyshire left his the time of GPS, chemicals. Basically doing all the work in agriculture autosteer technical stuff where you need to a couple of years or ago, ‘I now be accurate in operation.’ anything work for a small like that construction company so it was all self doing small new build operated.’ developments. We do everything Darbyshire and his son, eli from foundations to finish. For Darbyshire explains that the Plant works that’s usually a ‘typical day’ on a farm groundworks and foundations, but doesn’t really exist. During also landscaping. So it can go from onny Darbyshire has been harvest he could be sat in a tractor using quite large diggers to the working in the agricultural and for up to 18 hours a day, sometimes smallest digger you can find doing plant industries for over almost 10 clocking over 100 hours per week. all the little finickity stuff at the end years, recently the tractor driverHe informs me that this is down without wrecking the house you’ve turned-plant-operator made the to the fact that farming has more just spent a year building. change from farming to construction. flexible working Working with a small construction hours than The machines I use company in based in South East 'Groundworkers sometimes have a range from 8 tonne construction, England working on new build ‘in construction bad name and are seen as the lowest to 0.75, basically developments. you’re expected in the pecking order but you do need to the smallest we can to work between find. I’ve found that After graduating university in be pretty good at what you do.' certain times the bigger they are, 2010, Darbyshire started working whereas in the easier they are in agriculture driving tractors and farming there are less to operate. The bigger telehandlers before training and guidelines so you get worked a lot machines have more technology, more becoming qualified to drive heavier harder.’ money has gone into making them. machinery such as sprayers and Sometimes when I go from driving a big combine harvesters. Darbyshire says: In the winter months Darbyshire one to driving a little one it can be quite ‘There’s almost like a hierarchy, you would swap the tractor for a jerky and it’s hard to be quite as precise.’ start driving tractors and then the


44 • Feb 19 • Plant Planet

Profile for Plant Planet UK

Plant Planet - February 2019