FAMILY FIRMS CELEBRATE DOUBLE ‘FIRST
Two long-established South West family firms have helped each other notch up notable firsts. Scorrier-based Mitchell and Webber, one of the region’s largest independent oil distributors, has invested £400,000 in setting up its first Devon depot, at Holsworthy. And one of its first fuel deliveries was to local firm Luke Furse Contractors for a newly-purchased harvester that is the biggest of its kind in Devon and Cornwall. The Mitchell and Webber expansion includes the creation of three new jobs and the acquisition of a new tanker – one of an initial two to be based at Holsworthy, with that figure hopefully doubling in the coming months. The company provided the first fuel fill, of 1,300 litresof gas oil, for Devon and Cornwall’s first Krone BIG X 700 harvester with a 12-row maize header. Lloyd Furse, head of the company’s agricultural division, said the new 700 hpmachine, with output of up to 140 tonnes per hour, represented a big step forward for the business and its customers. Benefits included significantly improved fuel efficiency without any increase in weight, together with less compaction, wider tyres, wider cutting widths and fewer wheelings around fields. “We are delighted that two long-established family firms have joined forces in this way,” said Mr Furse. “We know from previous business with Mitchell and Webber that the quality and speed of their service is first class, which is of paramount importance in this industry.” Mitchell and Webber managing director Robert Weedon said a big boost for the North Devon area would be the promptness of deliveries that the base would guarantee. This would be especially welcome for farming operations in an area which until now had not been easily served, especially in bad weather, Mr Weedon added
The company’s Holsworthy depot has storage capacity of up to 300,000 litres of derv, gas oil and kerosene. Mitchell and Webber is this year celebrating its 45th anniversary, although its origins date back more than a century. Its business was largely confined to Cornwall until seven years ago, when it established a Saltash base to serve new customers in West Devon.
The Luke Furse business dates back to the late 1970s. Today the company’s agricultural business offers the complete contracting package, from plough through to combine. It has some 200 farm customers and is a finalist in the Farmers Weekly Contractor Of The Year award scheme.