1 September 1995

A taste of just what hes been missing

MOST committed second-hand machinery buyers will either have forgotten or never experienced the thrill of taking delivery of a new tractor.

An unexpected and rather unlikely route out of the secondhand machinery market for a small farm is to win a tractor in a competition. When, and if, it happens it tends to come as quite a shock.

"Winning a new tractor after buying second-hand gives you a taste of what youve been missing," says Northumberland farmer John Corley, who won an 80hp Massey Ferguson 390 in 1992.

The two moments he remembers most about winning the tractor are the thrill of seeing it for the first time at the Royal Show presentation, and his childrens faces a month earlier as they tried to explain to him that he had won.

"There is something different about running second-hand gear. When it goes wrong or wears out you always tend to blame the previous owner. If a tractor you have had from new breaks down because of abuse, there is no one else to blame."

Mr Corley, who farms 200ha (500 acres) at The Peels, Harbottle, near Morpeth, now runs a three-tractor fleet, two of which he has owned from new – the competition prize and a one-year-old 62hp MF362 4WD fitted with an MF loader. The MF390 replaced a six-year-old Zetor 7245.

Previously a second-hand tractor buyer, Mr Corley admits that winning the 390 gave him a taste for buying new again. He probably would not have bought the 362 loader tractor had it not been for his win in 1992.

"In fact if I had not won I would probably only be running two tractors today – a secondhand 4WD and our existing 47hp MF550. It is a luxury to own three tractors on this farm but at certain times of the year, such as hay making, it is a comforting luxury."

Since delivery by Morpeth-based MF dealer Owen Pugh in 1992 the 390 has clocked up just 700 hours. Most of those hours have been carried out over The Peels extended hay-making season through the late spring and summer. Winter work tends to be left to the two smaller tractors and a Suzuki 4×4 ATV, which is used to feed the farms 550 mule ewes. Now that he has been able to update his two main tractors, Mr Corley does not plan to re-enter the tractor market for some time. Assuming no major deterioration in condition, he hopes to run the 390 and 362 for another 15 years. &#42