Sipho Mbatha is one of the Ensemi tractor operators extremely adept at manoeuvring his Kubota M9540, with heavy tanks full of spray, between the orchards and up and down inclines treating every tree.

Responsibility for the daily care and needs of 1 200 people in a confined area is no mean task for any organisation, but that is the daily responsibility of the KwaSizabantu Missionary Station, 50 km east of Greytown in KZN. The dynamic German missionary, Erlo Stegen, founded the station in 1970. Since then it has been a haven for people in need of spiritual and physical care.

Today Emseni Farm, on which the station was established, has its own radio station, drug rehabilitation centre, church seating 7 000 worshippers, a school and its own tertiary training centre. To generate income, a supermarket, restaurant and the well-known aQuelle water bottling plant were erected. However, it is the 180 hectares of avocado orchards, 8,5 hectares vegetable tunnels and a milk processing factory that makes the station self-supporting.

The farm is in a mountainous region and it is no easy task to manoeuvre irrigation machines between the avocado lands. The orchards are still expanding and the farm manager, Dietmar Joosten, plans to establish a further 100 hectares in the near future. The need for a powerful but small and agile tractor soon became clear. Kubota was the only tractor company that could offer them the absolute number one solution.

“I have always regarded the Kubota as good tractors fitted with dependable engines,” says Dietmar. “I can’t do my work with a big, cumbersome machine. We have to move 4 000 litre spray tanks up steep inclines and need to make tight turns between the orchards. We mow grass and spray between the trees during harvesting, when heavily laden trailers are towed between the orchards. The nifty Kubotas with their small turning radius fits our requirements like a glove.”

The first Kubotas were taken into use eight years ago when Dietmar decided to buy only the M9540s. Today six of them work on the two farms. The latest four tractors were ordered with cabins – Dietmar believes the operator should be protected against the elements; a pampered operator becomes a much more positive asset. Today Ensemi is the biggest Kubota client in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Kubota U50 hole digger, with its brush cutter attachment, makes careful and accurate work of mowing the grass and weeds amongst the trees and leaving a mulch which eventually turns into compost and prevents topsoil of washing away during a typical Natal thunderstorm.

More reasons for Kubota

The Kubota share of the South African market shows a healthy graph with excellent sales figures. When Kubota lowered their prices appreciably about 18 months ago, Dietmar became even more addictive to the Kubota trade mark.

“Last year I also bought the multi-purpose Kubota 5-ton U50 post hole digger. This has proved to be one of the best buys ever. The relatively small compact machine grades the raised avocado beds, in which the trees grow, with the greatest ease. With the brush cutter attachment it also mows the grass and weeds between the trees accurately and quickly. One can see the trees grow much better now that the raised beds are kept so immaculate. Since we began mowing the grass and weeds instead of spraying weed killer, we are creating additional compost material in the orchards and making an end to erosion and soil loss,” says Dietmar.

The Kubota dealer, Valtrac KZN in Pietermaritzburg, services Emseni. They also arrange tractor driver training, maintenance servicing and spares supply. “They really look after us. Some of our tractors already have 6 000 hours’ hard work on the clock and they still perform problem free,” says Dietmar.

The Kubota M9540 deliver 71 kW, which makes them powerful enough to work a dam scraper. This made it possible for Dietmar to undertake the Herculean task of levelling the 8,5 ha of land in the vegetable tunnels with his bright orange stalwarts. “I have already ordered my second U50 and it will be here before long. If I could afford it, I would have bought many more Kubota workhorses,” says Dietmar.

Sameer Sheik on 082-326-5473 and Robert Keir on 011-284-2024 (or on email) can tell you more about the tough and nifty tractors. You can also visit the Kubota website for more information.


The Kubota U50 with brush cutter has no problem in transforming brush and brambles with up to 50 mm thick branches into composting material.