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By MICHAEL POLLITT, Agricultural editor
Saturday, November 24, 2012
For many farmers, a tractor is more than just a working tool; it is also something to enjoy owning; to cherish even.
Two Norfolk farmers in the heart of Broadland have gone just that further – they have five tractors on their 250 acres near Acle.
Father and son Paul and Nick Farrow have just taken delivery of their latest machine from the east Norfolk McCormick dealer, Stalham Engineering.
“We like tractors and don’t like selling them, so we collect them,” explained Nick Farrow. “And we don’t just like modern tractors – we’ve a collection of 10 vintage models that we take to shows, rallies and road runs; tractors give us a lot of enjoyment.”
There is a more practical consideration too. Their modern, all-McCormick fleet has several power units, which means no time is wasted changing wheels and implements for the varied work undertaken by the tractors.
They handle all field work at home. The father and son also provide local contract services for crops of cereals, peas and sugar beet as well as handling the yard work involved in running their 20-cow suckler herd. They also finished about 150 beef animals a year. The latest addition to the fleet is the biggest yet – a McCormick TTX210 six-cylinder tractor with up to 198hp available for draft work and 213hp for powering pto-driven implements. It is destined to spend much of its time on a five-furrow plough preparing land for sugar beet.
“It’s a big tractor but I wanted 200hp at the wheels to handle the plough on stiff ground and to give us the productivity that would allow my father to ease off a bit,” said Nick.
“The XtraSpeed gearbox with its eight powershift steps is ideal for ploughing, especially when you move from light land into clay holes - being able to change down several steps without de-clutching is great.”
He also liked the speed matching feature for road travel, which selected the correct powershift step for moving off after slowing for a roundabout or junction. A further attraction was auto shift, which moves between all eight steps in the top range to make life easier when hauling a heavy load.
“We also made sure the TTX has McCormick’s independent suspension on the front axle because we know from our MTX what a nice ride it provides,” Nick Farrow added. And the cab suspension and air seat provides further comfort after a long day in the field, he added.
The new tractor takes over a 152hp 2007 McCormick MTX150 which will earn its keeping with the subsoiler and also pull a four-furrow plough. Parked alongside in the yard at Whites Farm is a pair of 136hp MC135 Power6 tractors.
The 2003 unit is the drilling tractor – it handles a 3m power harrow-seed drill combination while carrying a ring press on the front linkage, and also gets to haul a 14-onne load of sugar beet into the Cantley factory.
A younger 2009 example is equipped with a loader for winter feeding chores and bale handling, and is also used for mowing and baling grass for hay and silage.
The baby of the team is a 90hp 2008 McCormick CX95LP that works a swath turner and bale wrapper, and carries out the spraying and beet drilling operations.
All the tractors have been supplied by the Nicholson family’s McCormick dealership. “It’s nice to work with a family business that gives personal service with good advice whenever you need it,” he said. “They stood by us when we had trouble with a telescopic handler and we’ve bought our tractors there ever since. We like the tractors and we like the dealer; it’s as simple as that.”
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.