No shortage of work for contractors

No shortage of work for contractors
Codd Contractors is one of the largest contracting companies in the Hawke’s Bay.

After several decades as an agricultural contractor, 73-year-old David Codd, of Hawke’s Bay’s Codd Contractors, is starting to take his foot off the gas – a bit. “I’ve still got a lot to do,” he says.
“A lot of book work, running around and chasing everyone, I still load the trucks with the loaders. But I don’t start at 5am and work 10 hour days anymore.”
This form of semi-retirement has David working seven days a week to manage one of the Hawke’s Bay’s major agricultural contractors.
Co-owned by his son Michael, and their wives Linda and Mechelle, the family partnership operates from two depots in Tutira and Putorino and covers an expansive area from up country in Wairoa, the northernmost town in the Hawke’s Bay right down to Napier.
Codd Contractors provides the full range of contracting services with an extensive fleet which includes seven Claas tractors, a 940 harvester and an 870 harvester. “The range of gear we have means there is always work on.”
Codd Contractors runs nearly all Claas gear and that comes down to the quality of service he receives from his local supplier Glen Dear of Claas Harvest Centre Hawke’s Bay.
“I attribute our success in part to the back-up we have from our suppliers,” David says.
“Glen provides us very good ongoing support and maintenance. He understands how important it is, when the season gets underway and the weather is right, that we can just get on and do the work.”
The reliability of Codd Contractors’ fleet also comes down to the maintenance it undergoes once the season has quietened down after April.
“It is critical our machinery is kept up to scratch. Health and safety standards are very high in this industry, in fact becoming higher, and I have an obligation to ensure my team of drivers are in the safest possible situation when working on the land. That starts with fleet maintenance.”
Codd Contractors runs a steady team of seven experienced drivers through the peak of the season, which climate change and an increase in maize silage is seeing stretch out longer from October to April.
As one of the Hawke’s Bay’s largest agricultural contractors, one of Codd Contractors’ biggest challenges is finding good drivers to operate the machines.
“Who sits on a tractor valued at well over $150,000 is critically important and we are fortunate to have a great team of drivers.” Codd Contractors’ team of drivers include UK and Irish farmers and contractors who head home for their own peak season.
“They are all trained and do a season here then a season there,” David says. “I’ve got one guy from Ireland and when the All Blacks lost, I made him pick up every stone in the yard. He took it in good heart!” In the past two years David and Michael have employed local married couple Lou and Tony Farquar son as drivers as well.
“I don’t put them together – the RT can get a bit stressful,” David jokes. But really, he likes having a female driver. “They’re just so reliable.”
Codd Contractors’ customers today are wanting more from their agricultural contractor. David and Michael try hard to provide it, which can be difficult to achieve on the first dry day after 10 days of rain.
So they’re focusing on what they can provide, and last season they included a portable weighbridge to their plant.
“That makes it really handy for weighing grass or dry matter,” David says. It folds down, the trucks drive on the farm and each truck is weighed. The farmer we’re harvesting for knows how much is coming off, and the farmer who’s buying it knows how much he’s getting. It makes it so easy.”
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