In the first of a series looking at how farmers and contractors manage their machinery, Emily Padfield quizzes Lincolnshire contractor Tim Russon, who runs a farm and contracting business with his father Peter near Burton
Farming: 90 pedigree Holstein dairy herd plus 300 acres of cereals
Combining: 325ha cereals plus 200ha grain maize
Silage: 1000ha of grass, 730ha maize and 120ha wholecrop
Drilling: 1200ha maize drilling
Other activities: 6,000-7,000 bales, rape swathing, muckspreading, spraying and cereal drilling
Staff: Five full-time plus three/four seasonal
In the shed
Forager: Claas Jaguar 900 Speedster
Combine: Claas Lexion 420
Tractors: Two JCB 2135 Fastracs, New Holland T7040, TM140, TM120, TS-A115
Handlers: JCB TM310 telehandler and JCB 412 loading shovel
Sprayer: Chafer Clayton
Rape swathers: Claas and Hesston
Other: Seven Bailey trailers, Kuhn twin rotor rake, Samco six-row maize drill, two Kverneland six-row maize drills, 4m Moore Unidrill, Kelvin Cave crimper, Ag-Bagger, Lemken plough, Front + rear Deere mower, Claas Cornspeed header, Kemper 4500 header
The Jaguar 900 Speedster forager was new on the farm this year
Claas Maxi Swather
The farm’s flagship New Holland T7040 pulling a Lemken five-furrow plough
Chafer Clayton self-propelled sprayer
More from our What’s in Your Shed series
How loyal are you to individual brands
Our forager is vitally important and we’re loyal to Claas. I like to buy British kit wherever possible, though, hence the JCB, Bailey, New Holland and Moore kit.
Marsh’s for Claas are extremely helpful, especially as we own the biggest of only two foragers running in Lincolnshire. We mostly deal with Lyons of Gainsborough, who are NH as well as Kuhn dealers and Lincs Motors for tractors.
Our New Holland T7040. I’ve been impressed with how comfortable and fuel-economic it is. As our main tractor for mowing, ploughing and drilling, it’s important to have a tractor you are happy driving.
Favourite piece of kit?
A New Holland 8360. It was a good, reliable tractor for more than 10,000 hours of work, and I drove most of them myself. I felt as if I had moved up in the world from the Fiat Winner we had before.
Least favourite piece of kit?
The rape swathers. I’ve had more heartache over those machines than any other in the yard and I swear they shorten your life. It’s the time element – when rape is ready to be swathed, you have to go. That’s why we have three machines, so that if there’s a breakdown, we can keep going.
We got the Jaguar 900 in June and it’s proving its worth. We are managing 15-20 acres a day more than the previous Jaguar 870. When we get into the thick of the season, we’ll be cutting 100 acres a day easily.
Oldest piece of machinery still at work?
A trusty 1976 MF135. We use it as our scraper tractor and it’s still going strong.
Biggest machinery mistake?
A TM175. It’s the worst tractor we’ve had in terms of reliability and heartache.
How long do you keep your machines?
The forager we generally keep for four years. Tractors do between 7000 and 10,000 hours or when they become uneconomical to repair. The last hours tend to be the cheapest, when you’ve had the depreciation and the machine is still reliable.
What’s on your wish list?
A combine on tracks to cut our grain maize. We’ll probably upgrade our combine before the next maize harvest.
Most embarrassing incident?
When an inexperienced trailer driver forgot to open the tailgate. When he tipped the trailer, it lifted the tractor off the ground
Most awkward grease nipple?
The one on the crimping machine pto shaft.
What couldn’t you live without in your workshop?
The MIG welder. We’d be stuffed without it.
Do you mostly buy new or second-hand kit?
The forager is always bought new, but the combine acreage we do means it’s not worth buying a new machine. Most tractors are bought new, but both Fastracs were second-hand.