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Willow Zen

Free range & reliable

Kelvin Slade and his wife Kumi started the Willow Zen Egg Farm in 2014 and have been operating full-time for the last seven years. Located close to the small country town of Willow Grove in Victoria’s scenic Gippsland region, the open pasture free range egg farm uses a regenerative mobile grazing system for the hens.


The farm covers 24 hectares, allowing the Slade family to share high quality, ethical produce with local families in addition to farmers markets and smaller grocery stores across Victoria. Every morning the eggs are collected from mobile chicken trailers and cleaned, graded into different sizes and stored safely in the coolroom. As part of the regenerative farming system, the hens are moved onto a new pasture every week.


To ensure they can move heavy machinery around Willow Zen, the Slade’s need a tractor they can rely on. Mr Slade purchased his first Kubota tractor, the M100GX, seven years ago when he was first starting out. “The most important thing for me on the farm is reliability. When I use a tractor or any machinery, I want it to work and within the time I have set aside for the job,” Mr Slade said.


“I liked the Kubota M100GX tractor the first time I sat in it. It felt like a machine I could easily manage – it didn’t feel complicated.“Over the six years of using the M100GX I didn’t experience any faults and the tractor did everything I asked it to.”


Recently upgrading from the Kubota M100GX series to the M7-151, Mr Slade said the higher horsepower, front-end loader capacity, front three-point linkage and power take off (PTO) has allowed for greater efficiency on the farm. “In order to operate the regenerative farming system, it is essential we move our chicken trailers to new pasture weekly. The Willow Zen farm is on undulating country, so we need a reliable tractor that can deal with all types of terrain and weather conditions.”

The Slades then use a Kubota CD2300 3.0 m compact disc and seed hopper to cultivate the areas the hens have been grazing, to create a tilled seedbed and sow new pasture for the hens to graze next time they’re in the paddock.


“The M7-151 effortlessly manages the terrain and can be easily fitted with a range of attachments, like our compact disc or the Kubota SE6320 mulcher. The 3.2m front linkage mounted mulcher helps thicker pasture to break down and release micronutrients and a biosphere of invertebrates for our hens. This is an important process at Willow Zen, allowing us to produce high quality eggs.”


Completing their Kubota machinery arsenal, the Slade’s also own an RTV-X1120. The Slade’s use the RTV-X1120 to collect and transport eggs across the farm. “Every day of the year, we have to get our eggs from the trailers and back to the coolroom, without fail. The Kubota RTV is our most reliable egg collection vehicle and can get through any mud or rain. In the past we have had other vehicles become stuck but the RTV has never gotten bogged.”


The Slade’s operation needs to be managed year-long, and they take comfort knowing they have access to maintenance support whenever they need it.“When people mention they are thinking of buying a tractor I recommend Kubota every time,” Mr Slade said.


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