A lot can happen on a farm. There is often no shortage of jobs to be done and it’s easy to procrastinate on the harder tasks that might require a bit more care and thought. If expertise is required, it’s good to know that help is on hand with experienced contractors – Braddick Contracting Limited.
The majority of their work is based in the rural sector covering an array of common and atypical earthwork jobs that farmers need to get done. They cover all of the Tararua and Wairarapa out to the coastlines of Castlepoint and Tora.
The company was founded by Brendon Braddick and his wife Josie in 2015 after they came back from the mines in Australia. Then in 2017, Marshall Kjestrup brought a 50% share in the business. He knew Brendon from their college days together in the Wairarapa, but they didn’t become good mates until they met by chance working at the same mine in Kagoolee, Western Australia. “Sometimes it’s a small world,” chuckles Brendon.
Brendon feels they relate to farms and their clients because both he and Marshall come from farming backgrounds. “We’re off farm ourselves,” he says, “so having grown up with farming work we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. It’s what helps us out. Plus we’re good buggers I suppose, doing a good job for a reasonable price,” he muses.
The men have genuine deep hearty laughs. The endearing sort that’s found in honest, hard-working, rural people. Both have a passion for being on diggers and getting stuck in. “I just love burning diesel,” says Brendon jovially. “It gets in your blood, and the machines now are nice and easy to drive. They’re very comfortable.”
“I like the on-farm stuff the most,” he says, “Tracks and water tables, stacking debris, pulling posts. I love looking back at the end of the day and seeing what I’ve done.”
The business is busy, which Brendon puts down to doing quality work that keeps them engaged with regular clients, whilst also getting new business through referrals. “We mainly get work through word-of-mouth. And the more work we do, the more we seem to get.”
It’s well known locally that the recent adverse weather of Cyclone Gabrielle greatly affected the East Coast of the Wairarapa, but this wasn’t largely reported by mainstream media. A lot of Braddick’s work has been dealing with the aftermath of the cyclone. “Initially to clear roads when it first happened to create access towards Castlepoint and Tinui because these areas were cut off. It was mind-blowing seeing the damage,” says Brendon. “Floodwater levels were high. Tinui itself, the small township, was fairly underwater. A lot of houses have been damaged and a couple condemned even. They were hit pretty hard.”
Fences were flattened and stock losses from the cyclone were significant too. Like those affected in Hawke’s Bay, the community is still picking up the pieces. A lot of Braddick’s work today is clearing sites and retrieving fences that have been buried in silt. Stacking up silt for removal seems ongoing but it’s rewarding to put in new lines that allow new fences to go up. It’s good, hard, honest work and it’s clear those values resonate with the company’s approach to business.
Most earthworks firms settle on excavators and equipment that they feel meet their needs and the range of jobs that they’re expected to do. Braddick is no different. “Yeah, we really like the heavy-dutiness of the Ram-Tilt. We currently run the A2 Performance Package, so that’s a Ram-Tilt with a few different attachments; the A2 Wide Bucket, A2 Digging Bucket, a Pick, and a Root Rake. It’s good equipment. We haven’t been able to break them yet,” laughs Brendon. “We’ve given it our best shot, but they stand up to it!”
“The Pick is a handy piece of gear, especially digging around tree stumps to bust the roots and loosen them up, or in the metal pit to break it up so we can get in and extract it.”
“The Root Rake is useful to clear debris, It’s good for raking the ground without turning over the dirt too much and picking up sticks to stack them up and make a nice tidy job.”
Changing attachments is easy with the Ram-Tilt and something Braddick is very conscious about as they look to save time and get the maximum return from every job. “It’s only a few seconds to swap attachments over with the Sure-Grip quick-release base and you can drop one off and grab the next, and get straight onto the next job.”
“Because it’s easy to change, I find you do change it as opposed to staying on an attachment that might not be right for what you’re about to do or pushing a bucket too hard.”
Braddick has become so familiar with A2 gear that they run the same Ram-Tilt performance package on all the excavators in their fleet. “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” grins Brendon.
“All four diggers that we have are 14T, CAS CX130’s, and we haven’t had one of the Ram-Tilt hitches let go on us yet. They’re a good size for us. Not too much weight on the hills and big enough to still move a bit of dirt. The newer tapered A2 buckets are quite good too. The dirt seems to come out easily. It doesn’t stick.”
“We’re aware there’s aftersales service too and we sometimes quiz them. We got some seals for some rams once and some cutting edges. It was pretty easy. Just ring them up and with them being nice and local we can just shoot down and grab ‘em. They’ve been real good to us so we sort of stick with them. Like I said, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
“I’d definitely recommend the A2 Performance Package to anyone looking for a hitch and attachments for their excavator. It’s gone well for us, we enjoy using it, and we’ve had no worries.”