A major silage harvesting display was hosted under clear, sunny skies yesterday (Sunday, July 23) at Lismore Castle Farm, Co. Waterford.
Organised by the Melleray Vintage Club, the focal event comprised a vintage silage cutting display – or even an “extravaganza” as it had been described. Running alongside was an exhibition of vintage stationary engines, tractors and cars, as well as a selection of trade stands. Notably, the Irish Tractor Pullers Association’s ‘Southern Ireland Tractor Pulling Championship’ was also taking place.
An army of single-chop, double-chop and precision-chop silage harvesters was out in force, scything its way through several fields dotted about the site.
For machinery-minded people, there was plenty to see. Tractors ranged both in age and colour. The field was, however, largely dominated by ‘blue’ Ford or Ford-derived models; next most prominent was the green and yellow of John Deere.
Despite the fact that the GAA All-Ireland (senior) hurling quarter final, between Waterford and Wexford, was taking place on the same day, the site was busy nonetheless – as visitors examined and perused the many machines and contraptions present.
This year, as has been the case previously, entries came not just from the immediate locality but from all over Ireland. It had been stipulated that machines, specifically for the silage cutting feat, should be pre-1992.
The machines, where possible, all worked together in the same field – with parts of each field having been mown in advance to facilitate the precision-chop harvesters. There was no need to rake two or three swaths into one; these older machines were more than content with a single windrow.
No self-propelled machines were present; all the harvesters working at the event were either side-mounted or trailed units. There was even a vintage (or classic) silage wagon – a Taarup 1015 working eagerly behind an aging Ford tractor.
Among the trailed harvesters was an unusual Krone in-line (rather than offset) machine. It tagged along behind a Ford 8210, which positively dwarfed the little MF 135 running behind it and the Krone. The 8210 was just one of a significant number of 10 Series Fords on-site.
Below is a collection of pictures and captions, detailing some of the many machines in action on the day. Regardless of age or colour, there was something to peak the interest of even the most seasoned machinery aficionado.
If she’s not blue, she just won’t do: This muscular-looking 156hp Ford TW-25 (Force II) dates from the late 1980s. She was mated with a Mengele flywheel-type trailed harvester
The now-famous Fiatagri (and later New Holland) 110-90 has practically achieved cult status in recent years. This example belongs to Grady Bros (agricultural contractors)
This purposeful-looking 2WD 92hp John Deere 3050 was hooked up to a 3765 precision-chop harvester – also built by John Deere. There were several SG2-cabbed tractors from the ’80s and ’90s at the event. Check out the last four digits of this tractor’s registration
Perkins muscle: There were surprisingly few Massey Ferguson tractors at the event compared, for example, to the wealth of Fords. This articulated MF was gainfully employed hauling grass away
Many Ford 8630s (132hp) had a Funk full powershift transmission. This example had the more basic Dual Power gearbox. It had a harvester and a locally-built Lee trailer in tow
The 101 was Muir-Hill’s first agricultural tractor. First launched in 1969, it was based on a Ford skid unit. This was not the only Muir-Hill at the event in Lismore; there were others too
Case IH tractors were scarce at the event, unlike some brands such as Ford and John Deere. This 1990 (105hp) 1056XL, built in Neuss (Germany), was a tidy example
Golden oldie: This Lanz Bulldog must have been the oldest working tractor at the silage extravaganza. Interestingly, these tractors were built in Mannheim – now the site of the production of John Deere tractors in Europe. Indeed, John Deere acquired Lanz in 1956
This 153hp Ford TW-20 was mated to a Taarup double-chop harvester at Lismore. It was one of several TW models at the event. The TW-20 was built from 1979 until 1983, at which point it was replaced by the TW-25
If she’s not red, leave her in the shed: This little, Perkins-powered (3-cylinder) MF 550 (47hp) was teamed up with a side-mounted harvester for the big task that lay ahead. It appeared to be the only 500 Series tractor at the event
There was no shortage of ‘blue’ tractors at Lismore. This gleaming 2WD 5610 Force II (black stripe) has an AP cab (in place of the more expensive Super Q). It was drafted into service during the day, alongside a brace of other 10 Series and earlier models
This sharp-looking 68hp John Deere 2030 was on silage-drawing duties. It was one of the oldest John Deere tractors working at the event; it was accompanied by a cluster of 50 Series models – all built in Mannheim (Germany)
The forerunner to a New Holland T7 and a Halfpipe combo? This 4WD Ford 8200 and Kane trailer pairing was also called into service during the event. The beefy-looking 8200 looks as though it might have been able to handle something bigger
What event of this kind would be complete without a 6-cylinder 50 Series John Deere. This 4WD 92hp 3050, clearly a hedge-cutting tractor judging by the mesh guard on the nearside window, was teamed up with a Taarup harvester. This tractor is owned by Jim Hennessy Plant Hire
This 1985 2WD Massey Ferguson 699 is fitted with a 5.8L, 6-cylinder Perkins engine. It was built in Beauvais (France). This example is exceptionally sharp and tidy, especially considering the fact that the SIAC cab on the 600 Series was quite prone to corrosion
This Mannheim-built John Deere 3040 (OPU cab) was coupled to a Kidd silage harvester, as it lay in wait for the event to kick off. Powered by a 90hp, 5.9L, 6-cylinder engine, it was a comparatively big tractor in its day. 40 Series models were built from 1980 up until 1987. Nowadays, tractors such as the 3040 have invariably been relegated to lighter duties
Doors are optional! This ‘original’ Ford 5000 was part of the fleet of equipment needed to ferry grass away from the harvesters – an army of single-chop, double-chop and precision-chop machines
What tractor-themed event would be complete without the omnipresent Massey Ferguson 135. With its canvas-topped cab, this tractor was busy drawing away from a trailed, in-line Krone silage harvester (powered by a 110hp Ford 8210)
True blue: There were a couple of Ford 7600 tractors at the event, including this fresh-faced example. The 97hp, 4-cylinder 7600 was manufactured from 1975 up until 1981. This Q cab version was once a very popular tractor here in Ireland; they were once a common sight in silage contracting fleets up and down the country
Nestled alongside a bright-eyed 7610 Generation III Super Q was an unusual beast – a Massey Ferguson based Moffett MFT (Multi-Function Tractor). With its rear loader attached, this machine might well have tackled the (silage) pit. Alas, without its loader arms attached (as pictured), it was given the more mundane task of towing a trailer. Some 390T-based MFTs were fitted with torque converter transmissions; others had 12F 12R mechanical shuttle boxes
The only Same tractor at the silage extravaganza was this 2WD Tiger Six 105. Fitted with a 5.4L, 6-cylinder Same engine, it has a rated output of – you’ve guessed it – 105hp. It has a 12F 3R gearbox, with a ‘dry’ clutch. This was the only tractor present from the Treviglio-based manufacturer
A classic wagon outfit? This ‘original’ Ford 7000 was eye-catching; so too was the Taarup 1015 silage wagon running behind. Who ever said that silage wagons were a relatively recent phenomenon here in Ireland?
A cluster of 4-cylinder John Deeres: This attractive 86hp 2850 is a well-proportioned tractor. Its SG2 cab, with its ergonomically-positioned gear levers and hydraulic controls, was the lap of luxury back in the 1980s. In fact, some modern cabs still don’t compare. However, the single (curved) door can be awkward to access
This 4WD Ford 6610 Force II was one of many ‘blue’ tractors of its era at the event. It’s getting increasingly difficult to find such tractors, especially one with a Super Q cab still in good or even salvageable condition. With the advent of Generation III models, this tractor was replaced by both the 6410 and 6810 and, later, in the early 1990s by the new-from-the-ground-up 85hp 6640
This was the only Universal tractor present at the event in Lismore. Universal tractors were built in Brasov, Romania. The entity began building tractors under license from Fiat. Since its foundation up until 2000, the factory produced about 1,320,000 tractors. For a period, Curley Tractors in Kiltormer, Ballinasloe, was the main Irish importer
This plucky-looking Ford 7600 wasn’t the only such model at the silage extravaganza. Indeed, this 4-cylinder tractor was one of a veritable army of Fords at the event – right up to the likes of an 8830 and even a Canadian-built 8870
Zetor tractors – and indeed any Eastern European models – were very much in the minority at the event. This active 2WD 61hp 6211 was one such entry; it was kept busy side-filling with its trailer and hauling grass back to the pit, where an occasional traffic jam was encountered
Ford 7810 Jubilee tractors are very collectible. These ‘silver’ 7810s were limited-edition models, to celebrate 25 years of tractor production at Ford’s factory in Basildon (England). It is thought that about 150 ‘Jubilee’ versions rolled off the line. These models boasted a very high specification with, for example, air conditioning, four spool valves and twin assistor rams. Ford actually struggled to sell them all at the time; buyers preferred the usual blue livery. Now, however, these tractors are sought after
It wasn’t just Ford tractors that populated the event. Ford-derived variants also featured prominently. Alongside a batch of Muir-Hills was an impressive selection of County tractors
This 2000 Series Massey Ferguson clearly got confused, amidst all the excitement – not knowing whether to turn left or right. In the end, it opted for both directions – or none as it turned out. This tractor was one of the few ‘mechanical’ casualties; after some field surgery it was quickly reinstated and up and running
Tractors didn’t necessarily need to be ‘restored’ or even meticulously tidied up for inclusion in the event. Practical, working vintage and classic models were welcome – even those in need of some TLC
This Krone in-line, precision-chop forager was one of the more unusual trailed harvesters present at the event. This machine was teamed up with a 110hp Ford 8210 tractor and filled trailers in a variety of configurations. At one point during the day, it was blowing grass into a tractor (MF 135) and trailer running directly behind the harvester. Later on, it was side-filling the same tractor and trailer combination (with the ‘little’ 135 running alongside the ‘big’ Ford)
This contraption did not partake in the so-called silage extravaganza. It, as you may have guessed, was part of the tractor pulling event, which ran alongside. The quick-witted owner, referring to the tractor on which this ‘puller’ is based, has christened his creation ‘Major Hardship’. With that level of insight, he is clearly an experienced ‘machinery man’
Refreshingly, the tractor pullers were not solely ‘blue’. This International Harvester (IH) inspired machine was also put through its paces, rearing up its front wheels and bellowing black smoke from its ‘red hot’ exhaust pipe
There were also tractors of a different stature on display at the event, including 1:16 and 1:32 scale models. This miniature John Deere 4440 mimics the proportions of its real-life equivalent. The 2WD 4440, which was manufactured in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was an especially-popular tractor in the grain-belt of the USA. A small number of 4440s were also sold in Ireland; they were considered very powerful machines back then
We’re looking forward to the next such event and, indeed, to other silage cutting demonstrations around the country. For more, stay tuned to