Berkshire arable and beef farmer George Brown is the latest to reveal the contents of his machinery shed
|Farming||1,150ha of arable – 200ha is owned and the rest is contract farmed|
|Cropping||310ha winter wheat, 130ha winter oilseed rape, 15ha winter barley, 135ha winter oats, 60ha rye, plus 500ha spring cropping.|
|Livestock||74 store cattle and 46 heifers in calf|
|Other||Snow clearance, baling and high-clearance spraying|
|Staff||One full-time, two part-time and a number of casual workers at busy times.|
|Tractors||John Deere 6190R, John Deere 6140R, John Deere 5100M, Fordson Major Diesel|
|Combine||John Deere CTS 9780i with 25ft cutterbar|
|Sprayer:||Gem Sapphire with 24m boom and 3,000-litre tank|
|Baler||Claas Quadrant 2100|
|Baler||Claas Quadrant 2100|
|Other||18t ECE muck spreader, 4.6m Farmet Duolent cultivator, Gregoire Besson 6-furrow plough, John Deere 331 mower, Reco Mengele SH30 forager, Takeuchi 145 digger|
1.How loyal are you to individual brands?
I’ve been pretty loyal to John Deere over the years, but it’s more to do with the dealer backup rather than the machines themselves.
2. Who is your favourite dealer/dealers and why?
R. Hunt is consistently the best dealer in our area. Backup is fantastic and you can always rely on the guys there to help you out of a fix. Oakes Brothers is also great to deal with and I get a lot of my supplies there.
3. Favouite piece of kit?
That would have to be the 6190R. It’s got a big, comfortable cab and the suspension is just that bit better than the old ones. The engine has also got bags of torque so you can run it at lower revs.
4. Least favourite piece of kit?
The pto-driven roller mill – it’s a horrid, dusty, noisy machine.
5. Latest purchase? What do you think of it?
A Quicke MultiBenne bucket grab. It’s brilliant and I don’t know why I didn’t buy one years ago. It’s an essential bit of it for any livestock farmer.
6. Oldest piece of machinery still at work?
The Gem Sapphire sprayer is the oldest machine still working full-time. It’s a 1993, 3,000-litre model with about 3,800 hours on the clock. It’s been fantastic, and reliable, but I am thinking about trading it in for a trailed one. It just seems a bit silly to sit in an old sprayer cab when there’s a new tractor parked in the yard.
7. How long do you keep your machines?
I tend to trade any any front-line machines in when they get to about 5,000 hours. The two newest tractors have got a 4,000-hour warranty, so they’ll probably go when that’s up.
8. What’s next on your wish list?
Another sprayer. At the moment my options are still quite open, but Berthoud, John Deere and Knight are the front-runners.
9. Most embarrassing machinery mistake?
Attempting to drive the tractor on to the A40, but taking the slip road for the M40 instead. I was stuck on it for 10 miles and had to weave in and out of the hard shoulder to dodge broken-down vehicles.
10. Most awkward grease nipple?
The one in the top of the drying bin – it took four years for me to realise it even existed.
11. What’s your best invention?
Probably the twin log splitter I built using an old shear grab and the shins off a scrapped Howard Paraplow. It took about a day to put together and cost £140. I also designed an aluminum hard top for the Hilux.
12. What couldn’t you live without in the workshop?
My Cemont arc/tig welder. It was one of the first inverter welders to come out and I’ve had it for about 10 years. It gets used almost every day and hasn’t given an ounce of trouble. My collection of special homemade spanners for those hard-to-reach places is also pretty handy.
13. Do you buy second hand?
Yes, as long as it’s been well looked after. I bought an old Cat 75A last season and it did 500 hours on the cultivator. Everyone found it knackering to drive though so it went to make way for something a bit more modern.
14. Favourite job/ least favourite job?
Drilling is my favourite job followed by mowing – mainly because I love the smell of cut grass. Operating the roller mill is probably my least favourite, followed closely by shoveling out grain bins.
15. What’s your everyday transport?
A Toyota pickup. It took 12 years of driving Land Rovers to realise what I really wanted was a Hilux.
16. Best tractor you’ve ever had?
The one I’ve got the fondest memories of is a John Deere 6910. It was a bullet-proof tractor with plenty of power and it was nice to drive. That said, I wouldn’t trade the 6190R for it.
17. Biggest machinery bargain?
A John Deere 7720. It had 2,200 hours on the clock and I managed to get it for £32,500.
18. Biggest myth to do with machinery?
JCB Fastrac dyno figures
19. What would you buy if you won the lottery?
10,000 acres of neighboring land, a small plane and some stables for the wife.
20. Any machinery toys/ classics lurking in the shed?
On the toys front I’m building a single-seater hill climb car. I’ve got a few classics, too, including a Fordson Major diesel, a BMC Mini diesel and a Fordson E27N.