Working on a remote farm in Lanarkshire on a bright and cold January day, THE VOICE caught up with David Reive, proprietor of David Reive Plant Ltd who was putting his recent acquisition of a fourteen-tonne Volvo EC140E excavator through its paces. The job in hand was quite labour intensive involving the excavation of old drainage pipes and the laying of continuous perforated plastic piping in an extensive farmer’s field.
But before getting into the detail of the job, it was quite interesting to talk to David to find out what he liked about his Volvo and the reasons he chose to select the EC140E.
“I’d been operating a variety of plant for many years, before setting up on my own, working for several plant hire companies. Over that time I operated dozers, scrapers, excavators – in fact, you name it I’ve probably driven it!” says David. “When I did have the chance to drive Volvo excavators, I certainly took to them and found them to be very responsive, comfortable and reliable to operate.”
Making the decision to set up a business for himself in 2008, David matched his machine operating experience with a good many contacts he had within the farming community in Lanarkshire. “I’d also had a lot of experience working on farms doing ditch cleaning and general maintenance work and had built up good relationships with many of the farm owners, so this helped me enormously getting set up on my own nine years ago,” says David. Starting out with just a five-tonne mini-excavator David quickly added more machines as the work opportunities increased and his next purchase was a couple of second hand Volvo sixteen-tonne EC160s, followed closely by the larger EC210B.
“The machines were pretty much bullet proof in terms of their reliability and I had no problem putting them to work in fairly remote spots on forestry tasks maintaining tracks and forest roads, without having to worry too much about them,” continues David. “That sort of peace of mind helped me decide on choosing this latest EC140E which I’m using primarily for land drainage work for local farmers in here in South Lanarkshire.”
And on the day we caught up with David, he was carrying out land drainage in a large boggy field. “The idea is to get the land back into a condition that is fit for grazing sheep and cattle which entails laying new plastic perforated piping in trenches approximately three feet apart across the width of the field,” explains David. “That will then allow the farmer to plough the field ready for reinstatement.”
“Initially, a large trench is dug at the bottom of the field to lay the main collection pipe. In doing so, the old clay water-collection pipes which were originally laid across the width of the field are exposed, giving a marker as to where the new trenches should be dug. Digging down three feet with a bespoke 9-inch bucket and following the line of the original pipe run, the old clay pipe sections are then uncovered and cast away. In their place, a continuous run of perforated plastic piping is then laid, covered with a layer of stone and then it’s done. But the job is labour intensive to say the least - once the trench has been dug, the soil cast, the new pipe laid in and covered with stone for protection, the sticky boggy subsoil has to be back-filled. “It’s certainly a big old job!” says David.
On examining the original clay pipes, it was interesting to hear David’s comments about them. “Sometimes when we’re on these jobs, the original pipes we find can be anything up to 100 years old. I reckon in this field they’ll be around 60 years old which probably dates back to WWII and the need to use as much of the land as possible for growing crops for the war effort. Over time, they’ve naturally deteriorated and the ground has become marshy and boggy once again.”
David Reive Plant Ltd specialises in all types of land drainage covering South Lanarkshire, East Lothian and the surrounding areas from its base located at Biggar.
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