Monday, 24 June 2013


anzanian a land of contrast - hot dusty plains where lions and zebra roam set against the green shores of Lake Victoria where hippos laze in the crystal water.

Nestled in North East Tanzania, on the shores of the Lake, lies the town of Musoma.  This is where 

Andrew Oram, son of Sam and Karen and employee of Masterco Compact Tractors in Somerset, headed this Spring. You may have seen Andrew under the bonnet of a tractor in the workshop or arriving with the lorry to deliver your machine. Andrew has taken 3 months away from Masterco to work with a group of 12 young people in Tanzania with GoMAD (Go Make a Difference) Tanzania

He has been helping on a number of projects working with the local church amongst the rural community building clean water tanks and healthy toilets and washrooms, as well as working amongst the children and orphans - it's amazing what a football can do even in a different language!
Health is a major concern in this poor community and the team have acted as health worker and ambulance driver in some critical situations.  Reliable transport in the Bush is vital and Andrew has been able to combine his college engineering as well as his experiences with Masterco to keep the 2 old land rovers – the Green Machine and the Red Rocket on the road! 

As well as this, Andrew's farming experience has come in useful, as the team help the local farming co-operative - the Rafiki group with planting, tending and irrigating seedlings and crops. Their enthusiasm and ingenuity were stretched to the limits after a major hailstorm wiped out much of the nursery seedlings and severely damaged the wheat crop. The team helped by getting to work replanting, replacing the seedlings and encouraging the dismayed farmers to start again.

Whilst we have missed Andrew in the workshop and out on deliveries, we know he is doing a vital job in Africa amongst the local community in Musoma. There are going to be so many stories to tell (and hundreds of photos to see) when he returns in July, but for now we know he is really making a difference with GoMAD Tanzania. Well done Andrew from Masterco Uk Ltd.

If you would like to know more about GoMAD or Andrew's Tanzanian adventure please contact us through the Masterco website for an update

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What's the point in Chain Harrowing?

So it’s the time of year when grass paddocks need to be chain harrowed.

Its all about timing. From mid February to late March is the prime time to use the chain harrows. The ideal conditions are not that easy to find. The ground needs to be soft but not wet. If its too hard the results are often not great.

But what do chain harrows actually do?
Well it’s a mixed bag of results but the results are worth while.
Removing dead grass or thatch from the surface
Breaking the soil open to allow oxygen to get to the base of the grass
Levelling mole hills
Restoring poached ground around gate ways
Disturbing new weed shoots
If timed right the results of harrowing in terms of stimulating new grass growth can be quite remarkable.  I use the trailed type of harrow and find them very good.

What type of chain harrow to use?
You can buy Fixed point chain harrows or flexi type. Without a doubt the flexi ones are the best. You can also buy the chains as trailed or mounted. The mounted ones are easier to use and are ideal to move from paddock to paddock. It depends what you can afford and how much of an area you have.

Can chain harrows do any other type of jobs?
Chain harrows have been used with good results as ménage or arena levellers. It depends on the surface but they are usually good on sand based arenas.
Chain harrows are commonly used in seed bed preparation and are ideal for use before and after sowing grass seed.

Masterco Compact Tractors stocks a range of heavy duty flexi time chain harrows available is 2 sizes and great value from £200

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Compact Tractor Servicing - part 2

Service guide
After the engine oil and filters are cleaned/changed, as part of a service, you should check the following items:
  1. Check and top up hydraulic oil. I use the Total agri oil NOT Hydraulic oil in my tractors. Its worth noting that some tractors have a spin on Hydraulic filter so change that as part of a service. Many have a strainer or gauze type filter buried deep in the back axle. My advice is only change or check the hydraulic filter if you have poor hydraulic response or a lack of lifting power.
  2. Check and top up antifreeze.
  3. Check fan belt.
  4. Grease all grease points - often on the steering or brakes.
  5. Check steering box for oil level and use gear oil if low.
  6. Check and adjust brakes.
There are many other things you can check over but if you complete all of the listed points at least once every 2 years or every 500 hours you should be able to keep your tractor running ‘spot on’ for many years to come.

Masterco Compact Tractors are experts in their field and are always happy to help so please talk to Sam at Masterco on 01278 686352 if you need advice or get in touch with us via our website if you want us to service your tractor for you. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Compact Tractor Servicing - part 1

Often when speaking to customers Masterco get asked about servicing “Grey Import” Japanese compacts. It seems many people feel that you can’t get service parts for these tractors.  There are no problems with parts although it’s not always best to run off down to your local Kubota Dealer. I recently meet a chap who was charged £14.50 for an Oil filter by his local dealer! I buy them in for about £4.00.....
This is how we service a tractor............ Grey or Not!
 There are normally 3 filters to deal with here. Oil, Air and Diesel. Many different Japanese tractors use the same filter. Often Shibaura and Iseki use the same unit and some Yanmar filters will also fit Kubota.
Oil and Filter.
If we know the correct filter number it’s easy to swap. If not we remove the original filter and cross reference to MANN filters. If the numbers don’t work you can measure the filter and find a unit.   If you go to a motor parts factor with your original filter they will often find something compatible for you.
Once you filter is sorted you will need between 2 and 4 litres of engine oil. I use Total 15 w 40 Multiagri oil. However any equivalent should be fine. We always use a mineral oil.
Air filter.
Virtually all tractors have a cleanable air filter. You will often find the cleaning instruction on a label on the filter. Various methods can be used to clean the filter. Sometimes just a good tap on the front tyre is enough. Or use an air line to blow the dust out. It’s also possible to wash the filter in warm soapy water and allow to dry.
Diesel filters.
Most tractors have a clear bowl with a filter element inside. These elements come in different sizes and are quite cheap to buy. (Often on eBay for a few pounds they are easy to change and worth doing.) If very blocked, the engine may stall or lack power. As a “keep you going “measure filters can be washed in soapy water and reused, but it’s not the best thing to do long term. Some Kubota’s and Hinomoto use a screw on canister filter - these are available from Mann filters who in their parts book actually list Kubota Fuel Filter - so it is easy enough to get. The only thing to note is that you may get air in the system when changing a filter and therefore you will need to bleed or purge the air. I will deal with this in my next article.

In the meantime, feel free to contact Masterco Compact Tractors if you need any Compact Tractor help or advice.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Japanese Compact Tractors and Hydraulics

Do you want to use a hydraulic Tipping trailer for your compact tractor? Operate a log splitter? Use a post knocker? You may have the tractor but no hydraulic connections. Many of the Japanese compacts, particularly the imported tractors, do not have external hydraulics. However virtually all tractors have internal hydraulics.

So how do you get the oil that’s inside to come outside?

Depending on the compact tractor, it’s often very easy to do. It needs to be done correctly to prevent any damage to the pump and done in such a way as it actually works. Basically all compact tractors have a hydraulic pump that sucks oil from the back axle to the pump which is driven off of the engine. The oil, then under pressure, is returned to the back axle and rear hydraulic system.  As the operator chooses, the rear lift arms can be raised or lowered. If no movement is needed the oil is simply released into the back axle.
As a by the way: OIL.  Most compacts share the oil in the back axle reservoir (maybe 10 or more litres) with the rear diff and axle, gearbox and pto gearbox. You should not use hydraulic oil but a Multi or General Purpose agricultural oil.

So you want to tip a trailer: Well most compact tractors have a screw in plug or cover that, if removed and replaced with a feed pipe will, once the arms are fully raised, pump the oil along this pipe. If you attach the pipe to a tipping trailer then the ram will extend and the trailer will tip. Different makes of tractor have different locations for this plug and some require new parts to make the system work.  For example Kubota B7100 and the various derivatives are easy to do. Masterco stocks the feed pipe and return for these tractors. We can supply fitting details and it’s pretty straight forward. Yanmar are usually straight forward, however Hinomoto are a bit more tricky!

Please contact Sam at Masterco if you require further details or any advice on 01278 686352 or 07590 443499.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Turf and Agricultural Tyres for Compact Tractors; swopping over isn’t as simple as you might think

Despite having a yard full of compact tractors I never seem to have the correct tractor and tyre combinations. I regularly meet a customer who really likes a certain tractor: all the right features; the right power; ideal for their needs and perfect in every way - EXCEPT “We need turf tyres” or if it already has turf tyres “We need agricultural tyres.”
This seems so easy to amend. But unfortunately - NO. Let me explain......

UK spec and Japanese grey imports have a normal tyre size but some sizes such as 22” rears and 14” fronts are not readily available in the UK. Also there is something called rolling radius that comes into play and is vital in 4WD tractors.
The outside measurement all the way around the tyre needs to be the same as the original tyres on front and back if 4WD. Turf tyres rarely match up ! If the tractor is 2WD it’s a lot easier.

Masterco is, if nothing else, very resourceful. Faced with this problem on a regular basis we now have a number of switched on suppliers who offer us great trade prices. We often have used or part worn tyres in stock. If we need to be creative we have a well equipped workshop and we regularly cut out rim centres and weld in new centres to suit customer’s tractors.

Please remember turf tyres, particularly new, are very expensive. They don’t usually go on the same rims, so it’s often easier to simply remove the agri tyres and fit some less aggressive alternatives. If you need advice on turfs for compacts please ring us on 01278 686352.