Farm Weekly

Tough Kioti tractors get to work on this iconic Queensland plantation

Marion and Ian MacLaughlin pictured on the grounds of "Skybury". Picture: Supplied

This is branded content for Kioti Australia.

Just over an hour west of Cairns, sitting more than 500 metres above sea level in Queensland's lush and verdant Atherton Tablelands, lies "Skybury", a tropical fruit and coffee plantation.

It is home to Ian and Marion MacLaughlin, members of their family, staff, tree snakes, exotic bird life and an astonishing quantity of produce grown all-year around on 300 hectares.

Established in 1987, the property produces some 40 tonnes of green coffee per annum, 10,000 tonnes of red papaya, and increasing quantities of other varieties.

"It's mainly coffee and papaya but we do other things as well - avocados, limes, lemons and passionfruit," says Ian.

"A lot of effort and investment goes into research, especially around single cell cloning, as we're looking for variety in growth. Each month, we plant out 1000 plants of multiple crops, looking for that variation.

"At any one time we have around 150 staff working here, made up of 17 different nationalities, 17 different eating habits and 17 different ways of talking! We have very talented people here; our nursery manager speaks eight languages."

It's tough work in the sub-tropical conditions. There are inclines and declines to deal with, narrow plantation laneways and all manner of changeable weather.

Ian has relied on Daedong and Kioti tractors for years, with multiple models in his fleet. For heavier work he uses Kioti's RX Series, powered by Daedong's high output and low noise diesel engines, and for lighter and tighter work, Kioti's ultra-versatile 50+ horsepower EX range.

"Some of our Daedongs and Kiotis have done 10,000 hours and they're still going strong," says Ian. "On the property now, we have three of the RX Series Kiotis, the 7620s, and they're about mid-life; I'd say they've done 5000, possibly 6000 hours. Plus, we have three RX 8030s and three new EX5810 models on order.

"They're very reliable tractors and we're pleased with them. The bigger Kioti tractors we use for spraying; the 8030s pull about 3000 to 3500 litres behind them. Each week I'd say we'd put about 50 hours on each tractor. With the new 5810s on the way, we'll again use those with the three-point linkage to connect a sprayer. They'll carry 600 litres behind them. We'll also use them for hauling - they'll be good for carrying a tonne and a half."

That Kioti has forged a reputation for toughness and reliability in challenging terrain and applications is no surprise, backed by genuine innovation and refinement.

The new RX Series tractors, with outputs ranging from 60hp to 80hp, feature expanded fuel capacity, improved hydraulic flow, faster road speed, larger tyres and a significant boost in lift capacity.

James Fisher (left) from NQ Ag in Tolga delivers another Kioti for Ian MacLaughlin. Picture: Supplied

Available as a ROPS or cab version, each RX has 24x24 fully-synchronised transmission, 4WD power steering, forward-reverse shuttle and independent rear PTO. There's a step-through platform, a streamlined hood and the anti-vibration tech in the cabin enhances driver comfort - important when carting a trailer of papayas! Standard dual remote hydraulic valves accommodate multiple attachments and implements.

Ian buys his Kiotis through James Fisher at NQ Agricultural Services in Tolga.

"James is amazing," says Ian. "He understands our business and our needs. His service is excellent, particularly with parts, although we don't need many, which is why I choose Kioti. Other tractors need a lot of work but these Kiotis survive on oil and water."

For more details about Kioti please call 1800 186 866 or visit

This is branded content for Kioti Australia.