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This is my new concept farm which will be a combination of mostly classic tractors in a modern day set up using modern implements.   Theres no point trying to set things back in a golden era as there are so few old style tools to pull behind the tractors and its very limiting.  So having bought a 2500 acre farm and having very deep pockets my intention is to enjoy farming and not be overly concerned with making a profit.   No excessive technology will be used and only tractors I consider to be classics will be bought.   The farm hands are fellow enthusiasts who prefer to work hands on rather than sitting in the cab reading a book or texting as the tractors computer system takes over.   250hp or close to it will be the main classic workhorse and no tracks will feature on the farm either.

Cropping....................Nice and simple....800acres of Winter Wheat, 400 acres of Spring Wheat,  300 acres Rapeseed, 250 acres Barley and 150 acres of Winter Beans.   These are the combinable crops.

350 acres of Maize,  200 acres grass and 50 acres down for hay.

We will combine all our own crops and will seek to find a suitable machine(s) in time for 2018.   The previous landowner is just finishing clearing his planted crops from 2016s sowing campaign.  Fortunately we were able to start farming on the land put aside for Maize back in the spring and got a contractor to drill in the 250acres............we will be drilling our own next year.     This maize will be harvested by a contractor, but we will be supplying all the tractors and trailers for haulage to the clamp.

The tractor fleet will be mostly John Deeres with a few other favourites.   As we have to hit the ground running we have just this week started ploughing up the rapeseed beds using a fully restored 1991 JD 4955 with one of our two 6 furrow ploughs.   Our tractor fleet is coming together slowly so we will use hired kit where needed to ensure timeliness.  The Rapeseed is being drilled with a subsoiler combi set up which we had hoped to pull behind a 246hp CASE Magnum 7240, but the red tractor is not quite ready for action yet so a modern JD8360R was hired in to do the job so far.   And following behind it on a set of rolls is a refurbished 1986 John Deere 3640............its 115hp is just about enough to do a decent job.

We have also bought two mint condition JD 7810s from private collectors for a premium.  The first one on a year 2000 X reg with 3500 hours on its clock has just arrived and is out pulling a 6 metre Lemken cultivator to chit the fields behind the combine.  The other 7810 will be here soon hopefully.

We also have got two other 3000 series JDs coming although they will be mostly bit part players until next years grass and hay cutting comes round.

The newest classic on the fleet has been bought to do the farms spraying and fert spreading plus haulage work.  This machine was originally launched at the Smithfield show in 1998 and remained popular in an expanded range right through until it was superceded by an all new design in 2012.  It is of course Fendts  716, and we decided that a late 2011 version would qualify as a classic due to the models 14 year run with little cosmetic change.   Also a wee bit of technology is important with the roles the tractor has been bought to do.............Spraying, Fert Spreader & Carting

Tractor fleet so far.

CASE IH Magnum 7240........250hp

John Deere  4955 mk1..........230hp

John Deere  7810.................175hp  x 2 off

Fendt 716...............................160hp

Case Maxxum Plus.................125hp

John Deere 3640....................115hp

John Deere 3350.....................100hp

John Deere 3050 2wd..............95hp

The barns are being rebuilt and should be ready soon as well.






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  • 2 weeks later...

We made a start on the wheat drilling this week and have bought a shop soiled Horsch 3TD to do our acres with.....................its an ideal match for a JD7810 and although we will probably only cover 40 acres a day it can be worked hard up behind the plough in a weather proof system.   6 weeks drilling should leave us with just a couple of hundred left to plant next Feb/ March on land that has blackgrass issues.

The second 7810 has arrived and is creating some stale seedbeds using the 6m Amazon centaur.   I suspect we may need a bit more power to pull it on the steeper ground and to that end we have retained the services of the hired JD 8360R used for Rapeseed drilling which is supporting our cultivations efforts whilst we wait for other classic machines too arrive.



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Hi Joe, I have a six furrow Amazone which has a very good  working vari width set up,  whereas the KV doesn't move at all unfortunately.  (See pics)

Also my five furrow KV  Britains plough is fixed at full width and is wider than the 6 f  KV  UH model...........................so that's why I'm getting rid of it, which is a pity as other than that its a lovely model.




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Well after weeks of waiting our CASE Magnum 7240 has finally been restored and will join the fleet later next week.....................also we have just taken delivery of a classic CASE Maxxum 5150 plus which we have already hitched up to our hedge trimmer.  This very nice example has had a respray and new decals, and once we  sorted its rear track width out it is nearly as good as new....................we are looking forward to putting her on a silage trailer in the next few days when the Maize contractor arrives to do his first days of cutting this years crop.   We have 350acres to do, and half of it will be done in the first visit which will go to our neighbours farm for their beef herd.   The remainder heads into our own clamp and the modest AD plant built several years ago by the previous farmer.

The main concerns we have with our classics is putting too many hours on them to soon, and over stressing them in some brutal conditions we are facing currently due to poor weather. I think we are going to have too support them more than anticipated with some more modern kit.  We have had the use of a nice conditioned hired 4 yr old John Deere 8360R this autumn whilst the Magnums arrival has been delayed and its helped keep us on schedule in difficult conditions.  As the 8R is the only range JD currently make that I would consider as a potential future classic, we might see if the hirer is interested in doing a deal for the 3000hr machine.

We had been considering a classic combine or two from the 90s to do our harvesting next year but we are quickly discovering that theres not many big combines from that era about in the UK.   A Claas 228 was under consideration but the example viewed wasn't in very good condition and the straw samples behind these old rotaries isn't up to scratch and with nearly 2000 acres to cut we will require reliability.   I suspect we will have to look at something more modern that fits our needs.  I'm not keen on Lexions in general as they are too numerous,  however perhaps a nice New Holland CR might be the charismatic answer.





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Its a very busy time on the farm this coming week,  with the Maize contractor arriving on Monday with his brand new Krone harvester.   Luckily we have a 100 acres or so near the clamp so we can put on four tractors and trailers for the carting.   One 7810,  the Maxxum 5150 and Fendt 716 are all hitched up and ready for an early start and we will probably give the JD 3140 a run out as well. 

The CASE Magnum 7240 has joined this week and is in very good condition and we have had her on the subsoiler to lift wheelings for a couple of days.  The JD 4955 is continuing on the plough and has done 400 hours for us so far, so I will probably put her through another weeks work and then give her a rest as we want these classics to last for years. The JD7810 on the drill has done well and we are meeting our planting targets for next year as well.

The purchase of the JD8360R has gone through and I have to say we would have struggled without this powerhouses efforts so far.  Its great to have the classics but with 2000 acres of crops to get in you do need a spine of more modern machines to support the older ones.

Ive been to look at a few New Holland combines this week and was considering an early CR980 but having checked over a mint 5 year old CR9090 on wheels I think I'm nearly ready to make my decision.    The original CR980 is a classic design and just like the claas Lexion it was a radical departure style wise from its predecessor the TF78.   The hammerhead shark style cab roof was a revelation when it came out and I'm afraid they have rather spoiled that on the current machine.  That makes the CR9090 the classic NH machine imo with its high sided grain tank and I still prefer wheels to tyres on the CR combines.   1500 acres will be a breeze for it but combining is one area where you cant take risks with to old a machine.



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  • 1 month later...

Well the end of the year is fast approaching and its time to look back on the hits and misses with the farms experiment to run a mainly old classic workforce................it hasn't quite worked for us.  We have had reliability issues with our old Deeres as you might expect and the catchy weather forced us into the hire market where we took on a very nice JD8360R.  Its output meant we got the job done and decided to accept a decent offer from the hire company too buy it........................I think the current 8R will be a future classic although probably not the 7 and 6Rs.

Maize has really caught on around here now and we have gone from a handful of acres grown in the region 5 years ago to multi thousands this harvest.............and to that end we are growing more next year, especially where we have had to battle against blackgrass these past two years.

We will be growing 1500 acres of cereals again and have bought a nice 2014 New Holland CR9080 to do the job....................we did look at a couple of 9090s but realistically the 9080 should be big enough to comfortably handle our acreage.

We are also considering whether to buy a forage harvester for 2018,  we did use a contractor with a new Krone 580 this season, but although he was timely on our first cut of 150 acres he did rather get delayed on the second 150 which was annoying.  I will consider what to do after we know how much maize we will be growing.........................also a neighbouring farmer has told me he is selling up and will give me first refusal provided I can match market land valuations.  That would be an additional 500acres plus and certainly means I would require a bit more new gear.

As for tractors, the classics that did well and we shall be keeping in a supporting capacity were the John Deeres 3050,3350, 4955 and 7810 used on the trailers..................the 7810 used on the drill had a few niggles, higher hours and we got a very good offer which we decided to accept from a local JD enthusiast.  The 3140 has been sold along with the 3640 which is now up for sale.  Both were surplus to requirements given that we will be buying some newer kit.

We will also be retaining our smart little CASE Maxxum 5150 which performed well on the hedge cutter and rolls....................The other CASE machine Magnum 7240 lasted two days!  It clearly had been sold with a major issue and after a frank discussion with the former owner it was returned with a full refund.  Maybe we will try and find a 7250 for next year.

That brings me to the main kit for 2018,  The JD 8360R will remain as flagship of our fleet and we have already purchased an ex demo 2016 JD6215R to take over the 7810s duties.

Our Fendt 716 is also being traded after less than a year...................its a nice little classic but it did struggle just a wee bit on maize haulage up some of our steeper hills and to be fair local Fendt dealer TNS offered us an exchange deal we couldn't refuse on a new 718 which should be perfectly matched to our sprayer and haulage tasks.   This will arrive right after xmas to get on with winter fertilizer.  Although I'm not a fan of the front windscreen design I have to admit the 700 ranges high popularity is due to it being another future classic.

Although we put some of the old classics on the maize trailers this year they simply couldn't keep up with the Krone and highlighted how farming has changed...............so to avoid a repeat next year and to make us more flexible to increased maize workloads I have bought a two year old Fastrac 4220 which I am 100% certain will probably be THE classic tractor of the current era.

If I do decide to buy a forage harvester I will also need to hire in a tractor or two at harvest time, but those decisions can wait until new year.

Known January Tractor fleet.

John Deere 8360R  360HP   2013

John Deere 6215R   215hp   2016

JCB Fastrac 4220   215hp    2015

Fendt   718               180hp    2018


John Deere  4955   230hp  1991

John Deere 7810   180hp    2000

Case  Maxxum  5150  125hp  1995

John Deere   3350   100hp    1990

John Deere  3050 2wd  95hp  1990

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Most big units have no classics at all,  I wanted to get the balance right  but went a little too far in the classics direction this year.  So the new machines arriving should balance things a bit better.  Jobs like hay making give the old kit a nice run out in summer before the serious action begins.

I'm actually about to sell the 4955 as I need to raise funds for other purchases, but I already have another rhino bonnet schuco in bits which I will have ready to takeover for next season.

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Not the same but theres a contractor not far from here who runs 2 7810's, 2x 7710's plus New Holland/Ford 8970 and 8870 and also a Ford TW-15, and 7910 (possibly others).

I thought the idea of your farm with classics was great Phil, though as you say most big farms would run up to date stuff  - though you do hear about some classics remaining in fleets.

Theres an interesting farm blog here:


They run a big 72xxR Deere (and a 6R I think) but their 7810 is the favourite.  Farm size is approx 1400 acres.

I was trying to find one of the fleet profiles to base my own 'display' on, ideally using McCormicks but I seemed to be copying a real farm and becoming very fickle with what I was adding to the fleet - and there are quite a few gaps in the line up to have a realistically mixed fleet (no X5 or X6).  So have swapped makes for the display and will keep the McCormicks for the shelf.

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I too am quite fickle though i do try and keep to the less popular brands...much as i like New Hollands they are too common...whilst Claas and McCormick arent exactly rare they are certainly not the norm...hence my collecting habit (at the mo)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well we have reached years end on the farm and washed down the tractors and put them to bed in the shed.

A few late deals were done in December and the current 4955 JD  has been sold on to another enthusiast, the main reason for letting her go is the agreed purchase of an even better lower houred 4955 and that will arrive in the spring from its current owner who has a couple of shows he wishes to take it to before handing over the keys.

A brand new Rolland trailer was bought as well and will be arriving in January along with the new Fendt 718.

Theres no decision on the SPFH yet as Maize contracts are still being finalized, but the acquisition of a new drill is certainly looking a possibility, we will view contenders at Lamma in a few weeks.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Our new Fendt 718 was delivered on Thursday and we took a few pictures to mark its arrival....................the land is too wet presently so it will be sat in the shed for a while......................hopefully we can get it rigged upto the Amazone spreader and sprayer in the weeks ahead.

We are keeping busy carting maize from poly tunnels to our digester plant with the Fastrac 4220 and now have plenty of slurry and digestate to put in the tanker and muck spreaders once the land dries out a bit.




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  • 4 weeks later...

We are still making decisions for the year ahead with regards to maize, grass and hay contracts and this will affect the area of spring wheat we drill or not.

Some things we have progressed with,  our grass and whole crop forage contractor has been retained for this year as we are still deciding over our maize contracts and if we should buy our own harvester for it by September.

We decided to switch our Claas rear mower for a brand new Kuhn, which we were offered at a price we could not refuse!   We also got a second hand Claas Volto tedder which will sit behind one of our classic John Deere 3000s and be ideal in the various horse paddocks we cut grass in for our local equestrian customers.

We bought ourselves a ex demo Rolland trailer with optional silage sides to cater for all this years carting jobs.........................we are pleased with its quality and are mulling over a second one in time for spring as we are definitely replacing our existing  two old Marstons.

My fellow farm director and tractor enthusiast Goodie has bought himself an ex demo CASE Puma 175cvx in Red Power trim....................He couldn't resist it and it will be joining his CASE Maxxum 5150 classic on our fleet in a week or twos time.

The Puma gives us 5 modern tractors on the fleet now including the new Fendt and Fastrac, plus the two JDs which may need to be switched for more power and flexibility.  The 8R is too big for trailer work and may be traded for a 7310R and that means the 6215R may have to be upgraded power wise for a new 6250R. Decisions decisions.................I think 5 modern machines and the 5 classics are enough but we may need to hire in another machine depending on workload.

Currently we are not doing much land work due to wet weather, but that has given us a chance to get our construction kit out and do some ditching and debris clearance.  Both machines fit neatly on our lowloader and the JD6215R does the hauling duties.................that's all for now.






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  • 2 weeks later...

We took our big Deere down to the dealers too pick up a 4metre Vaderstad Topdown cultivator on Monday just before the snow struck!  We have a couple of biggish 6m disc based cultivators but needed a tined option for working the soil at deeper depths and the Vady ticked all the boxes for us.  We also have replaced our 6 year old monosem maize drill with a Vaderstad Tempo which should arrive on farm later this month in time for Aprils drilling campaign to begin.

We are still trying to make a decision on tractors for the year ahead and at this point I think we may just hire what we need from Hawk..............weve got good rates quoted for both JD and CASE machines and will probably have a mix of the two unless a sharper deal comes along.



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  • 5 weeks later...

We have made a u turn on some of our tackle due too an unforeseen financial matter,  in a nutshell we are going to sell four recent purchases and use the funds to deal with a legal matter. Our company accountant has recommended only short and long term hire on expensive machines from now on, so the New Holland CR9080 combine, the Fendt 718 and CASE 175 red power and a John Deere 6215R which were all bought and paid for in full will be sold soon.

We have moved forward with our hire requirements for 2018 and Hawk hire will be providing us with new 2018 John Deere 7310R  and  CASE Puma 240cvx tractors on 6 month agreements starting in May.

GJ Peck have come up with an excellent 12 month hire contract for a pair of smaller CASE Pumas which starts in mid April.

We are also in talks with Manns Combine World too find a suitable machine to take the New Hollands place and cut 2000acres+ this harvest.

We will retain our JD8360R for the heaviest cultivations work and our JCB 4220 for transporting bales to the power station at Ely and maize to the AD digester.

Our 5 classic tractors (4 Deeres, 1 Case) will remain on farm, our soon to arrive new 4955 will be on the show circuit this summer before we give her a few hundred acres of ploughing to do after harvest.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We are preparing our grass mowing kit for the beginning of this years grass campaign on one of our local stud farms,  and have a few paddocks too maintain.  Our Puma 175 has been rigged up with front and rear mowers and will be followed around by our classic JD 3050 on the Claas Volto tedder.   Then the JD3350 will row it all up with our Liner rake, and Newcut contractors will follow behind with one of their forage harvesters and a couple of trailers to fill the customers pit. 



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Our three CASE Puma hire tractors are all on site now, with one of the smaller tractors on the mowers and the other one dedicated too Spraying and Fertilizer applications.

The larger Puma 240cvx has gone straight onto the slurry tanker and will be busying itself on covering many of the fields destined to be drilled with maize over the next six weeks.

This will be followed by our JD 6215R and soon to arrive JD7310R using our Lemken and Amazone cultivators.



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