What’s in your shed? East Yorkshire contractor reveals all

In the third of our series looking at how farmers and contractors manage their machinery, Emily Padfield talks to East Yorkshire contractor Colin Martinson

Farm factfile

Colin Martinson, East Yorkshire

Contracting: 125 customers ranging from 12-690ha

Combining: 18 combines each averaging 200ha a year

Drilling: 800ha a year sown with 6m Accord, 4m Vicon and 4m Lely drills

Other activities: Rape swathing, hedge cutting, cultivations, muckspreading

Staff: Three full-time men plus five seasonal staff

What’s in your machinery shed?

Combines: five New Holland TF78s, five NH TX68s, Five NH TX36s, two NH TF46s and one NH TX32

Headers: Nine Shelbourne Reynolds headers, nine draper headers and two 6m (20ft) pea headers

Swathers: two Claas Maxi swathers, one Shelbourne Reynolds Mentor, four Stemas and two Hesstons

Tractors: four New Holland 7840s, one MF6499, five MF8250s, three MF8240s, one MF8160, one MF3080, one MF8220 and one MF8260

Power harrows: eight 6m power harrows (3 Lely, 3 Maschio, 1 Kuhn, 1 Pegoraro)

Drills: 6m Accord, 4m Vicon, 4m Lely

Ploughs: Two six-furrow and one five-furrow Dowdeswells

Other: Simba discs, Bomford and McConnel hedge cutters, four 10t muckspreaders

More from our What’s in Your Shed series

20 questions

Favourite dealer?

* RD Webster, the New Holland dealer, are just down the road and they look after me. We used to get the MFs from Clayton and Sons, who have now packed up, and everyone misses them. Now we go to Peacock and Binnington, who are a larger operation, but still very good.

Favourite tractor?

Our MF6499 is very nice to drive and travels and performs well on the road and in the field.

Favourite other piece of kit?

The 4wd New Holland TF78 combine when it’s dualled up. A good tool which looks great.

Least favourite piece of kit?

Muckspreaders. They take some keeping going and maintaining them can be a full-time job. The lads don’t like working on them.

Oldest piece of machinery still at work?

An MF3080, which has been on power harrowing this year. Usually, she’s on lighter duties like rolling, but this year she had to be draughted in for heavier duties. We have an F-reg combine still going, too.

Biggest machinery mistake?

A County 1454. It was the biggest heap of rubbish, but looking back we should have kept it, as it would have been worth a fortune now. Everything went wrong at least once and we had to have a new clutch every year.

How long do you keep your machinery?

We are changing things all the time, but really it depends on what the budget is. This year, we’ve got three fresh tractors alongside the new MF 6499 – and 8250, 8240 and 8260, all second-hand.

What’s on your wish list?

A new Holland CR980 combine. But I have to think where I could take it that would be able to manage the output. And two TX78s can manage the same amount, so why spend more than £50k? Some of our customers have a small acreage, some large, so we have to fit the combine to the acreage.

Most embarrassing incident?

We once managed to derail a train en route to Hull. Thank goodness there were no casualties. Our Track Marshall crawler was going over a steep, unmanned railway crossing when the mole drainer dropped down and dug up the track. The crawler driver ran down to try and stop the train, but the driver didn’t stop. Luckily, the train didn’t overturn.

Most awkward grease nipple?

The PTO shaft on the Bomford flail. And the one in the New Holland grain tank – as soon as you get in, the grease gun runs out.

What couldn’t you live without in the workshop?

The hydraulic press as we use that on a regular basis. Another handy machine is an ex-railway petrol-driven 1in drive hammer gun – great for changing wheels in the field.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given to do with machinery?

My father once said: “You’ll never make any money underground. You’re better off stopping on top.” So, we’ve made our business on the basis that we can cover more ground each day and not burn as much diesel.

Do you buy second-hand?

We mostly buy second-hand. We just can’t justify buying new, as we’d lose more in depreciation. We have more than we need. But this year every combine has been used, and it’s no good not being able to do the jobs that come up. We use numbers to increase work capacity for example, with four 6m power harrows, we can manage 200 acres a day, which this year has been a blessing.