What’s in your shed? Steve and Nick Johns open their doors

Cornish contracting duo Steve and Nick Johns are the latest to let us snoop round their machinery shed

Farm factfile

Kea Contractors, Truro, Cornwall

Foraging: Grass silage – 900ha of first cut, maize silage – 500ha, wholecrop – 250ha

Ploughing and cultivation: 1,000ha

Slurry spreading: A lot

Staff: Steve, Nick and one other full time plus a number of part time workers at busy times


In the shed

Forager: Claas Jaguar 950

Tractors: Fendt 828, 724 and 716, John Deere 7530 and three John Deere 6930s

Telehandler: John Deere 3200

Ploughs: Five-furrow Lemken and five-furrow Kverneland

Slurry tankers: Two Pichon and one Joskin with attachable trailing shoe

Ploughs: Five-furrow Lemken and five-furrow Kverneland

Grass kit: Claas triple butterfly mowers, Claas tedder, Class 3100 rake, Claas round baler and five Richard Western trailers

Other: 5m power harrow and cultivator, Rolland rear-discharge muck spreader and two Shelbourne Reynolds side-discharge spreaders

John Deere 6930

One of the farm’s three John Deere 6930s complete with Quicke loader

Slurry tankers

Slurry spreading is a big part of Steve and Nick’s business.

Forager additive tank

Forager additive bowser with air line for faster filling

Fendt ploughing

Steve and Nick plough and cultivate about 1,000ha of ground every year

Forager crash

This is what happens when you back a forager into an empty trailer

More from our What’s in Your Shed series


20 questions

How loyal are you to individual brands?

We’ve got a few brands that we tend to go back to, but that’s usually because we’re fans of the machine, rather than the maker.

Who is your favourite dealer/ dealers and why?

We’re lucky that we’re surrounded by good dealers down here and we’ve had dealings with all of them over the years. Our Claas kit comes from Hamblys, John Deere from Cornwall Farm Machinery and Fendt from Alan Snow. We also like dealing with Truro Farm Machinery.

Favourite piece of kit?

That would have to be our set of Claas butterfly mowers. It’s amazing how much grass you can knock down with them in a day and they do a really tidy job too.

Least favourite piece of kit?

We bought a second-hand John Deere roller baler a few years ago and it just refused to roll a bale.

Latest purchase? What do you think of it?

We’ve just bought a Fendt 716. We haven’t had a chance to properly test it yet, but it’s got a great power-to-weight ratio so we’re expecting it to go well.

Oldest piece of machinery still at work?

Our John Deere 3200 telehandler is the oldest machine with an engine still at work. It’s a 2002 model with 6,600 hours on the clock and it drives like it’s almost new. We’ve had it for about five years and haven’t had any major breakdowns. It’s nice to drive too.

How long do you keep your machines?

We don’t have a fixed policy for changing our machines, but we try and keep them as up-to-date as possible. We take engine hours and reliability into consideration, but we’ll also think about changing if we’re offered a good deal.

What’s next on your wish list?

We’ve got a lot of work stacking up this year so we’re thinking of buying a four-rotor rake to work alongside our existing two-rotor machine.

Most embarrassing machinery mistake?

Steve: The day I backed the forager into Nick’s tractor and trailer. The trailer went over, but luckily the tractor stayed upright.

Most awkward grease nipple?

Pto grease nipples are always the most irritating to deal with.

What’s your best invention?

The additive bowser for the forager. It’s made out of an old sprayer tank and sits on a handy A-frame on the front linkage of the tractor. The best bit is that you can plug the forager’s air line into the tank to force the water out faster.

What couldn’t you live without in the workshop?

The arc welder

Do you buy second-hand?

We’ll often buy smaller equipment second-hand and we sometimes buy used tractors if there’s a good deal to be had. We recently bought a second-hand John Deere 7530 that’s been good so far.

Favourite/least favourite job?

Steve: My favourite job is driving the forager and my least favourite is round baling. I can’t stand all that reversing.

Nick: Cutting grass with the butterfly mowers is the best. Cleaning out the slurry tanker is definitely the worst.

What’s your everyday transport?

We’ve got an Isuzu D-Max automatic. It’s not a bad truck but the electronic throttle has an irritating delay before you take off. We had a Rodeo before which was much more responsive.

Best tractor you’ve ever had?

Steve: My International 956 XL. It was the tractor that got us started and it didn’t give an ounce of trouble.

Biggest machinery bargain?

Our old Lemken plough. We bought it for £2,500 and traded it in for £3,500 after 10 years of service and several thousand acres worth of work.

What would you buy if you won the lottery?

Another farm and a Range Rover Evoque.

If you’d like to reveal the contents of your machinery shed to us, email fwmachinery@rbi.co.uk