In the second of our series looking at how farmers and contractors manage their machinery, Emily Padfied talks to Somerset farmer Clive Snell, who runs a dairy and arable farm near Mudford with his brother Martin
Clive Snell, Yeovill, Somerset
Dairy: 120 Holstein Friesians
Cropping: 80ha grass, 60ha cereals and peas, 14ha maize, 4ha fodder beet
Other activities: 6,000-7,000 big square bales made a year, 10,000 conventional bales a year
Staff: One full-time plus one relief cowman
What’s in your machinery shed?
Tractors: MF6470, MF6265, MF3075, two MF240s
Telehandler: JCB 527-58 Loadall
Combine: Claas Dominator 86
Balers: Claas 1150 square baler, NH376 small baler
Sprayer and fertiliser spreader: Hardi mounted sprayer, Amazone 1500 fertiliser spreader
Plough: Dowdeswell 5-furrow plough
Other: Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix feeder wagon, Kuhn twin rotor side rake, Claas single rotor side rake, MF30 drill, Krone 2.8m trailed mower, Kidd straw chopper, McConnel hedgetrimmer, two Collins 10t trailers
More from our What’s in Your Shed series
How loyal are you to individual brands?
We are more loyal to a local dealer than brand, but in our area we are well off for every brand, really, so I would say Massey Ferguson. My father bought a 35 in the 60s and we have stuck with them ever since.
Highwood at Yeovil for MF, Marston Tractors (also at Yeovil) for Kuhn and Vaughan Agri at Frome for Claas. All are reliable.
MF6470 is a vast improvement, and the Sisu engine is marvellous. We’ve found it to have a fantastic lugging ability, better than the Perkins.
Biggest machinery mistake?
An MF6150 we bought ex-demo. The reliability wasn’t great and we couldn’t wait to get rid of it.
Oldest piece of machinery still in use?
The 1979 NH376 baler is a bit like the proverbial broom and has probably had three new heads and five new handles. The two MF240s are about the same age – we bought them in 1980/81 and both are still in regular use. The Dominator, which we bought in 1981, cuts our and a neighbour’s corn, totalling 250 acres every year.
How long do you keep your machines?
The tractors usually do about 8000 hours. But for other pieces, it’s when we get a gut feeling. We’re tending to buy bigger, second-hand to last longer and enable us to help other farmers out. If we see it and it’s at the right price, then we’ll trade up.
What’s on your wish list?
We’d like to move up to 21m tramlines, so a bigger sprayer. And a Kuhn Alterna 4m mower.
Most embarrassing incident?
I fell asleep rolling some ploughing near Purbeck, Dorset. When I woke, I was looking at Portland Bay and the lighthouse, just metres from the cliff.
Best piece of machinery advice you’ve ever been given?
My father said to me: “Always put it away working.” Which is a great piece of advice because you’ll always need it in a hurry.
Most awkward grease nipple?
The one on the yoke of the Claas 1150.
What couldn’t you live without in your workshop?
A milking stool for thinking time.
Best second-hand bargain?
The Dowdeswell plough. We just happened to be in the dealers when it came in and we got a good deal. We don’t go to sales – people tend to take their cheque books and leave their brains behind.
What would you buy if you won the lottery?
A larger farm with a nice shoot.
Favourite (and least favourite) jobs?
Drilling – it’s looking forward to the next harvest and we farmers are ever-optimistic. Least favourite? Unblocking drains.
Where would you rather be – on a tractor, in the workshop or shopping with the wife?
Luckily, my wife doesn’t like shopping. I enjoy the challenge of mending things, so perhaps the workshop.
What’s your everyday transport?
A Land Rover 90 station wagon on a T-plate. It’s done 91,000 miles and is still going strong.
If you’d like to reveal the contents of your machinery shed to us, email email@example.com