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Since moving to Esgair, Llanidloes in 1950, the Rees family have become accustomed with the use of dual wheels. “We’re pretty much in the heart of Wales, on quite a steep hill farm, battling against the terrain to grow grass”, says farmer James Rees. “We are huge believers in dual wheels – apart from the wheel barrow, everything has dual wheels here”.

Mr Rees and his family; parents Dilwyn and Sylvia, wife Danielle and their three lads, Drew, Teifi and Luke run 6 tractors, featuring four New Hollands. “All four run on 30” wheels, and all run on Stocks Ag dual wheels - we made sure that all 4 tractors run on the same wheel size so that all dual wheels could be interchanged depending on what job each tractor had on”. The Rees’s fleet is also made up of a “Massey Ferguson 35X and 135, both on studded Ferguson dual wheels”. 

Two New Holland tractors in field fitted with Stocks Ag Dual Wheels

The terrain at Esgair and surrounding farms is challenging. Mr Rees noted, “we have a neighbour whose land is severely steep, when he’s baling square bales of hay with a conventional baler he has to bale across the field - his front left wheel will sit above the row he’s baling”. Mr Rees adds ‘a round baling contractor wouldn’t want to see their farm as they’d “have to reverse to let every bale off”.

New Holland TL100A with McConnel hedgecutter, fitted with Stocks Ag Dual Wheels on steep terrain

Brand loyalty

“Dad has always been known to run on dual wheels, but at the time we used to do a lot of pulling them on and off and the trouble with studded wheels is that the more you pull them on and off the more the threads rub, they get damaged, and then you have to replace twin wheel studs”.

“In 1999 we bought our first pair of Stocks Ag standard duals, they were 16.9x30 with the old red clamp system with the spring clip on the outside to lock them off”, however, it was quickly realised that these standard duals were making some tractors too wide for 10ft gates. “So, we purchased a brand-new set of Stocks Ag step-down duals which reduced the overall width of those tractors to just over 9ft, enabling us to get through 10ft gates”. James discovered the step-down dual wheel version whilst working for a local contractor.

“We’ve kept on buying Stocks duals because we like the ease of use and the safety, we’ve never had an issue with the clamp system – the clamp and power rail design is a terrific system, very effective, we’ve never had a clamp undo or bust…having a clamp system you can rely on is critical when you’re in positions like we are”.

“With the Stocks, they’re so quick to fit, 5 minutes and you’ve got a pair on, we’ve got it down to a tee, that’s all you need is a block of 7x3, drive onto the block, roll a wheel to the side of the wheel, put the clamps on and you’re away”.

New Holland tractor chain harrowing slopes, fitted with Stocks Ag Dual Wheels

One ‘pro-tip’ Mr Rees does disclose is that if “you’re putting them on yourself, you’ve got to be organised, the clamps need to be nearby and be sure to fit the top clamp on first to take the strain”.

In total, the Rees’s have two sets of Stocks Ag standard dual wheels, and two sets of Stocks Ag step-down duals. Although one set was purchased new, and another set acquired through their local dealer, one set came from “a potato grower in Pembroke where the wheels had come off a JCB Fastrac”, and the “final set were bought in the Spring of 2023 from Lampeter, sourced online”.

Day-to-day work

At Esgair, Mr Rees and his father used to employ a contractor to cut their hedges, however the contractor could never complete the job as they only ran on single wheels, “he had a 7840 and a PA96 contractor brusher, excellent for what he wanted, but not much good on steep ground”. Mr Rees and his father would then have to cut what the contractor couldn’t get to with the set-up they had at the time, a mid-mounted hedge cutter on their MF 35X fitted with duals. As neighbours could see the places Mr Rees could get to with dual wheels, fitted to his then New Holland 4835 and McConnel hedge cutter, he managed to get business from nearly 15 local farms in his first season as a self-employed hedge cutting contractor.

New Holand tractor fitted with Stocks Ag Dual Wheels topping steep land in mid Wales

“Stocks standard duals come into their own when topping bracken and hedge-cutting on the steep banks”. With in excess of 55-degree slopes in places, operating without duals is not worth the risk. As such, Mr Rees also invested in some forestry chains to add to the duals when working in certain conditions, “if you see something safer, you tend to want to go for it”, adding to the stability and traction already offered by the duals.

Versatility of application

Although Mr Rees picked up a lot of the hedge cutting contract work because of his ability to go further than others on steep banks, farmers also opted to use him if they’d carried out some reseeding work. The Rees’s tractors fitted with standard duals were able to “spread the weight and reduce damage to the fields”.

Fertiliser application is another instance where the duals get an outing at Esgair - “the fertiliser will always be on the wrong side of the bin, it will always flow to the bottom side, no matter what way you travel”. In addition to stability, duals also offer flotation benefits at Esgair. Mr Rees found that to further minimise compaction in late harvesting seasons, having another set of dual wheels for the loader tractor would reduce the amount of “puddling where you drive up to load the bale trailer, as the harvest ground is quite heavy”. Against the norm, but in wet harvesting seasons, Mr Rees noted that “we have also been known to run duals whilst mowing, it’s not the tidiest job but needs must some years”. Duals are also used when tedding to minimise crop damage.  

Tedding haylage in mid Wales with a New Holland tractor fitted with Stocks Ag Dual Wheels

Although Mr Rees purchased step-down duals to allow his tractors to fit through 10ft gateways, a unique benefit was noticed when harvesting with them on the first year of ownership - the tractor and baler could fit “between two Haybob swaths without trampling the crop…once my father had been around and back on himself with the Haybob, I can fit up between the rows with the TL100A on step-downs and the baler”.

Away from farming, their standard duals have been used on a neighbour’s garden, “she’s got quite a big garden that she leaves for wildflowers, it’s not steep, but we go over it with duals and a topper as to not leave a footprint”.

Return on investment

With Stocks duals having been a huge part of farm life at Esgair for 25 years, Mr Rees comments, Stocks Ag dual wheels are “100%, definitely worth the investment, there’s not a mark on the step-downs we bought new, they don’t deteriorate”. Concluding, Mr Rees said, “we wouldn’t be without them on a hillside farm…the terrain we go on, you’d be a fool to go on there with singles…with my lads coming up now and starting to use tractors, safety is paramount”.


Wisbech is still the home of Stocks Ag. All applicators are fabricated, assembled and painted in the Cambridgeshire factory. Precision assembly and quality control are paramount to the production process.

The R & D team work with both the factory and farmers to deliver a seeding solution that is fit for current farming practices.

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