The Red Diesel rumour mill is in full swing! The government announced in the budget in 2020 that it would remove the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022. A consultation followed entitled, "Reforms to the tax treatment of red diesel and other rebated fuels" and a summary of the responses to this is available online. The broad headings of the sectors that will be entitled to use red diesel are: Agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fish farming: Rail: Non commercial heating: Boats: Travelling fairs: Non-commercial power generation: Amateur sports clubs.
There are reports of letters or emails purportedly alleging that the use of red diesel, for example, during road runs and ploughing matches is now permissible , but I have yet to see a copy of any such letter. I have contacted both the Federation of British Vintage Vehicle Clubs and the dedicated government email site for clarification and will report their reply when received. Meanwhile, my advice is to assume that there are no extra concessions, and just a note of warning please remember your vehicle can be seized if you are caught breaking the law.
Vehicle registrations: The number of members registering tractors continues unabated, and I spend much of my time on this. It would make my life a great deal easier if, when asking for help, I was emailed the name and address the vehicle is to be registered to and their contact number together with the make and model and whether it has previously been registered. Please don't send photos at this stage, I will then reply setting out what I need to satisfy the DVLA's requirements giving a reference number, please do quote this number when replying as I often receive the information from a different email address and sometimes months after the initial enquiry. It can make life very confusing and I'm easily confused!
While talking about registrations, we all make mistakes, and I am no exception to this rule, but neither is the DVLA. If they reject a dating letter that I have written, please contact me before replying to them. It is often easy to sort the problem at this stage, which may or not be of my making, but is neigh on impossible if the owner has tried first. On no account alter a dating letter yourself as it will then be automatically rejected, if in doubt do ask.
The Somerset Tractor Road Runners Road Run:
The Somerset Tractor Road Runners organised a New Year's Day Road run around the lanes of South Somerset. Over 75 tractors took part in the event which started at Thorney Lakes, Muchelney, headed towards Crewkerne; they had a lunch stop at North Down Farm, Haselbury Plucknett, then went to Ham Hill and back towards Martock finishing at Thorney Lakes.
The event was well supported by local Young Farmers and there were a few notable Ford classics on the run.
Well done to Nick Gilliam, Zachary Anderson and team for raising £1,568 for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Report from Pat Bryne.
Shepton Mallet Tractor Show, 29th - 30th January - Phil Gibson writes:
I look forward to the season opening show at the Bath & West showground and I was not alone judging by the attendance over the weekend; the event is organised by FFA representative Mike Mitchell and family.
This year we were in the large lower hall with tractors and traders all around our club stand; larger walkways had been left due to Covid regulations which made viewing the tractors much easier.
Nick Bryne and family brought us four very original Fordsons. For me the E27N P/P was the one I could take home, with 9" rear wheels, rear wings patched years ago and running like the proverbial sewing machine - the amount of people taking photographs of it must have shared my views as a proper tractor.
Graham Farmer had been spending time over the Covid period by restoring a Pre force 4 & 5000, very nice.
A tractor you do not see often was a Fordson Major badged as the Ford 5000 Diesel which is an American version of our New Performance Major.
Local man Mr Sheppard brought his Roadless 75 and New performance Major both older restorations, but immaculate and went home with 2nd prize for the Roadless.
Organiser Mike Mitchell a Roadless collector brought various tractors to exhibit. Another Fordson Major on display had been converted with a Perkins V8.540 engine which sounded awesome, but ear defenders would be needed for a day's work, it was also painted bright yellow, not every one's choice but if the owner likes it that is all that matters. Some of the larger Fords i.e 8210, TW30 were outside due to lack of internal space.
Club member, Mike Lawrence, exhibited something I had never seen before, not blue but a red Jones
self-propelled baler, only 6-8 were built in 1954 with a price tag of £1125, a high price in its day.
Massey Ferguson tractors were the main show theme, some of which also had some interesting implements attached. With a large auction on the Saturday and all types of traders makes it is a good day out.
For our club it was an excellent start to the year meeting up with members some not seen for a few years, good merchandise sales and, above all, 13 new members joined who we thank and welcome to our club. We have a large space at Tractor World, Malvern in May, have a think if you can join us with a exhibit, details for booking in are in the magazine. Hope to see you there - Phil Gibson.
Malvern 4x4, Land Rover & Vintage Spares Day Plus Tractor World
Parts & Spares Day 27th February:
Pat Pawsey writes, Phil Gibson manned the Club stand in the Avon Hall. On the way down Sue and I were met with flooded fields; déjà vu of Tractor World two years ago, but the Sunday dawned bright and stayed nice all day.
The stand was between Pam of the Nuffield Club (I very tardily renewed my membership) and our president Nick Battelle for Old Twenty, across the hall were Chris Tranter and Edward Price publicising the Old Timer Rally, 6th - 7th August 2022. It was good to get out and to catch up with friends again. The Wye halls were full of traders with many outside as well, plenty to browse.
Phil met Mark Woodward before I arrived and discussed arrangements for Tractor World that this year will be held later than usual on May 21st - 22nd. The Link Marquee is to be erected by the show ground for the year but without its sides; we have booked half the area for the Club. Hopefully in late May the weather will be much warmer and drier than for many Malvern's of past years.
Andrew Green from Devon writes:
By the time this article reaches you, we will be well into next year and hopefully by then the current Covid peak will be receding and it would be great to think that the whole problem could be starting to fade away. I am led to believe that this is what happened with the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19 which accounted for between 50 and 100 million lives, on the backend of WW1 - what a humanitarian disaster, far too awful for words. Let's hope that the increasing day length may see a diminishing Covid risk.
As there has been little to report of recent activities down here in Devon, I thought that I would chat a little more about my early farming days. In issue 105, I was recounting about the exciting arrival of our first Ford 7600E to which we fitted a Schindler four-wheel drive conversion kit. This transformed this tractor into a most useful workhorse which could cope with the challenges of our newly acquired tenanted farm. However, it wasn't man enough to fulfil all the requirements of the considerably extra acreage which we now had to work. So, in March 1982 we took delivery of a Ford TW20 tractor complete with four-wheel drive.
This was an 153hp, six-cylinder engine machine with Dual Power and air conditioning as standard. Well, this really gave us power a plenty and this tractor spent most of its life on soil engagement, either ploughing with a Dowdeswell 5 furrow reversible and pulling a Flexicoil furrow press or subsoiling with a 3-metre-wide McConnell Shakeaerator.
This tractor stayed with us for 9 years, was trouble free and only did 4500 hours in that time but the three-point linkage was pretty worn as you can imagine with all that rear mounted equipment. I have included a photo of it at work, ploughing out a grass ley after hay harvest on some very strong ground.
As the area of land that we farmed increased, then we needed help to get the work done. To this end, we were very fortunate that we had 3 lads all called John and one called Ian. They were a great team and stayed with us for a very long time and nobody left in 15 years! I have always said that good staff are a business' biggest asset and I think this still applies today, in fact probably even more so! It is so important to look after them and then in return they will be loyal and supportive to you. This is not rocket science! I have strayed off the story here, so with more people around, we needed extra tractors.
We were fortunate to find some low houred good second-hand machines, a Ford 7600 2wd and a Ford 6600 also with 2wd and our first Ten Series arrived in May 1983, a 4wd 7610 with only 700 hours on the clock. The 2-wheel drive machines did most of the on top of land work and they ran on dual wheels nearly all the time. As some of you will know, the only problem with duals was keeping the wretched wheel studs tight! At that time we didn't have a compressor with all the attachments so we had to weld up a special T bar through which we could use scaffold pipes to obtain serious leverage. That did the trick!
As we got into the mid 80s, we had our first trial with the concept of a truly low ground pressure machine and we briefly had a second-hand petrol engined Frazier Agribuggy for crop spraying. I think this would deserve inclusion as although this first machine had a 1275cc A series BL engine, the later models all had Ford 1800 diesel engines! It had a box chassis with used Land Rover axles and wide 31/15.5/15 tyres and a pretty basic operator's cab. The sprayer pump was driven by a Honda donkey engine. But for us, on our heavy land farm, on banks as well, it was a huge advantage as we could travel in adverse ground conditions without making a dreadful mess. It also had the added advantage that you could drop off the sprayer and mount a fertiliser spinner in its place. It also had another advantage that later in the season you could replace the wide tyres with 6.00 X 36 rowcrop narrow wheels, great for working in tramlines and which of course gave you extra high lift clearance and an underbody sheet minimised crop damage still further. This early machine was soon traded out to be replaced by a new Frazier 2D in August 1986 with a hydraulically driven PTO unit with variable speed and a decent cab, such a huge improvement and with 16 metre booms.
We supported this machine with a back-up water bowser cum spray mixer unit which improved our work rates significantly. I have included a photo of the Buggy being refilled with big bags of fertiliser from a Ford 6600 with a DAB loader. We stayed with the concept of LGP spraying for many years. It was always so good picking up bales with a flat 8 bale grab in the harvest field and being able to drive through tramlines easily without losing bales.
Sometimes, things do go wrong and one day our 7610/4 was emerging from our farm drive at about the same time that a chap was travelling down the public road in his 4 X 4 Sierra. Sadly, there was a coming together and as you can imagine neither vehicle came off too well. Our tractor was a pretty sorry sight, and the car wasn't much better! PC Plod was called and when I first arrived on site, a chap who witnessed it said that our driver Ian didn't stand a chance as the car was travelling far too fast.
Plod initially had ideas of prosecuting us for driving carelessly or without due care and attention, but I calmly pointed him in the direction of the witness and fortunately that problem went away. However, the tractor had to be hoisted up by our telescopic handler back to the farm. Insurers decided to repair it, but it needed a new engine and some front axle parts. I think it cost nearly as much to repair as it would to have been written off. Sadly, however, that tractor was never the same again, the new engine never seemed as powerful and it was beset with oil leak problems. We ran it for another couple of years and then it was traded out for something much more exciting. But that is a story for another time!
Miguel's dexta restoration progresses - he writes:
On the planning side, I have revised my restoration schedule, as I will not be able to finish before the summer. I have fallen behind because I am starting work in the house which will oblige me to spend less time on the Dexta.
The goal is to let readers follow the progress of my work even if it takes longer. At the moment I'm working on the engine and have removed the cylinder head to change the gasket and then plan to lap the valves and will also check the injectors before reassembly. I also plan to change the lower engine seals.
Regarding the supply of spare parts, customs costs are excessive which is a shame because the cost of good quality parts at Agriline is much cheaper than in France.
I have an English neighbour and have discussed with him the possibilities of bringing back parts by car. Brexit is really bad for trade with the UK. I am also researching which decals are correct. Do take care of yourselves in this, a very tormented time....Miguel.
Paul Kinsley, a Fordson fan, who spent years working on tractors and combines writes: I'm still repairing and restoring majors in my spare time, I've been at it for fifteen years now. Sometimes I get the chance of one that isn't a 'bitser'- this one was in a yard being prepared for the beach at Mundesley and had a rotten cab and odd wheels, no link arms or draw bar. After looking I released that all the casting codes matched, and, as the engine is S coded, it's a Fordson rebuild so this didn't put me off. By the time I had trailered it home the cab had nearly fallen off! She is a 1963 NP Super Major late October by the production codes, if my book is correct. The last one I did for myself was another a Super I made into an American 5000 diesel replica, it was exhibited at Roger Desborugh's show 2015 on the FFA stand. I do plenty of restorations of other people's majors but not for myself, so the ones that are mine always take forever.
When I go to runs or shows there could be lines of blue and red or grey majors but if something different is in the line people stop and look, that's why I enjoy restoring something that's different. I hope to get it to a Ford & Fordson show this year and meet up with fellow enthusiasts.
MEMBER TRACTORS ARE NEEDED FOR LARGE DISPLAY AREAS AT MALVERN IN MAY
AND AT NEWBY HALL IN JUNE
Please contact PHIL GIBSON on 07713 251155
PRICE INCREASE - please note that our merchandise prices will increase from
1st May to recognise increases being passed to us by suppliers
Something to celebrate, a pleasant change. The family country wedding of Andrew and Lyn's daughter, Sarah, finally took place in July on a rural Devon farm when she married Zac after a year long delay.
The old cattle barn was hosed down and decorated with hessian lining the walls and swede netting adorning the roof trusses. It made a cosy venue for the wedding breakfast. The bridesmaids arrived in a restored Martin Markham trailer decorated with flowers and towed by a Fordson Major KFD 52.
The bride arrived in a 1930 Ford Model A accompanied by her father. Despite the storm the night before, the farm made a perfect setting for such a special day!