Journey from peat to silage: Classic John Deere gets new lease of life

This John Deere 4055 has been given a new lease of life after it was picked up at a Bord na Mona machinery auction two years ago.

Now owned by Michael Hoey, who runs agri-food company Country Crest alongside his brother Gabriel, the tractor is in the process of being fully restored and brought back to its former glory.

Getting its first proper day out earlier this month at the Border Counties Vintage Grassmen event, the tractor was also on show at the Flavours of Fingal County Show in Co. Dublin yesterday and Saturday.

Vintage, John Deere

Hoey, who is based in Lusk, is renowned for his collection of classic and vintage tractors. Generally preferring the colour (Ford) blue, he took on this project as a result of some banter among friends.

She was parked up for over five years. There was never an implement on the lift arms; all it ever did was draw one of the peat harvesters.

“When we took all the different panels and pieces off – a lot of the panels were already missing off it actually – it was all caked with peat,” he said.

“The mudguards had to be removed as they were rotten, but the tractor is still sitting on its original tyres – thanks to having predominantly worked on peat.”

However, the tyres are damaged on the inside (the sides closest to the body of the tractor); damage that could have easily been avoided, according to Hoey.

“They never tied in the lift arms and you can see where they have taken lumps out of the tyres when they were reversing.

Vintage, John Deere

“But it runs and sounds beautiful. They were American draft tractors really,” he added.

The 128hp 4055, which was only in production between 1988 and 1992 before being replaced by models such as the 130hp 6900 and larger 7600, was equipped with a 7.6L, 6-cylinder John Deere engine.

Hoey says the tractor is still a work in progress, as the cab still has to be properly refurbished – but it has progressed significantly since it came into his possession.

The mudguards were rotten, all the lights were missing off it, the exhaust was gone, the breather was wrong and there were different things like that amiss. But the engine was running perfectly.

vintage, john deere

Vintage, John Deere

John Deere, Vintage

Finding the perfect harvester

Having already sourced the tractor prior to the Flavours of Fingal County Show last year, Hoey turned his attention to finding a harvester to go behind it.

He purchased a John Deere 3765 trailed forager from David Cowking, a silage harvester specialist from Clitheroe in Lancashire in the UK.

Vintage, John Deere

vintage, john deere

Image source: RM Agriphotos

Having purchased his ideal harvester to go behind the 4055, both the tractor and its implement were given a full respray.

On its first public day out at the silage event at the beginning of this month, the John Deere tractor and trailed harvester combination turned plenty of heads.

“This one [a Ford-derived County 1474 pictured below] is actually rarer, but the John Deere got a lot more attention,” Hoey said.

Hoey’s Ford-based County 1474 was also on display at the show

Once the cab has been refurbished, the 4055 will join Hoey’s collection of cherished vintage and classic machines. But he does plan to work it when the second cut of silage is being harvested later this year.

Apart from that it will be destined to attend a range of vintage shows and ploughing matches around the country.

The 4055 will not be the only Deere in Hoey’s collection; it will join a smaller 2850 model as well as a classic, pivot-steer 8430, which is equipped with equal-sized dual-wheels.