Contractors from Bude were delighted to accept the Farmers Weekly award on Thursday night (October 5) for Contractor of the Year 2023.

Contractor AJ Heywood & Sons collected their award in front of a packed audience of farmers and industry representatives at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Brave investments in the latest forage harvesting and slurry spreading technology have given Kevin Heywood’s customers greater insights into their businesses than ever before. His maxim “we measure it, so customers can manage it” reflects this approach of providing detailed data to inform future cropping decisions. 

Four years after taking the reins from his father, Kevin broke new ground in the South West by becoming the first to invest in John Deere’s Harvest Lab System. While others questioned its cost benefit, the venture has proved invaluable in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. AJ Heywood & Sons now runs a pair of Harvest Lab-equipped Deere foragers alongside two ejector trailers with weigh scales.

Inevitably, the growing workload has forced Kevin, albeit reluctantly, off the forager seat and into the office. But he still finds time for the occasional stint, giving him a chance to catch up with customers and map out future plans. 

Contractor of the year independent judges said: “The early adoption of new technology has been central to AJ Heywood & Sons’ success, supported by an on-site mechanic and engineering division that keep the wheels turning.”