Farmer Focus Livestock: Bryan Griffiths splashes out on new machinery

2009 will surely be remembered as a vintage year, a solid beef trade throughout, much improved sheep prices and even a small increase in our SFP.

Add to this, lower fertiliser prices and cheap feed grain and it will come as no surprise that we have been in the market for a new tractor.

Apart from our faithful old MF165 yard-scraper, we keep only one 4wd loader tractor for all other duties. The nature of our farming system means that despite almost daily use it rarely does more than three hours on a single task. The last one clocked up just 3400 hours in eight years; consequently, I am reluctant to spend on excessive complicated gadgetry.

Also, since our buildings have their share of tight corners and low roofs it is important to keep the bulk of the machine to a minimum while retaining sufficient horsepower.

After much deliberation, we felt the Case JXU 105 ticked all the boxes. And just after we had placed the order, FW printed the ‘100hp all-rounder tractor test’ that appeared to support our decision. Time will tell if we were right.

We have initiated some drainage work and, as well as ordering our usual amount of compound fertiliser (in the nick of time it seems), we have decided to invest in lime and to give half the farm a generous dressing of a slow-release phosphate/potash product. These measures will hopefully help keep the land in good heart for future, leaner years, which may well follow any deterioration in exchange rates and EU payments.

It seems DEFRA also has longer-term plans. The new holding register that arrived with the EID information appears to have enough lines in the annual inventory section to last us more than 60 years.

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