The Massey Ferguson legacy stretches back 175 years, a figure always worth celebrating, and when the party is combined with raising money for cancer services in Co. Kerry then no further excuse is needed.

In this case, the party – Threshing Cancer – was hosted by Brendan Ferris of Beaufort, Co. Kerry, who is both an enthusiastic tractor collector and a raiser of funds for good causes surrounding cancer care and cure.

Backing all cancer causes

On the day, there was a tremendous turnout of visitors with at least €30,000 being raised at the gate and more still to come at the time of writing.

Brendan has been instrumental in raising over €200,000 since his wife was diagnosed with cancer around 10 years ago. The money does not go to any one particular charity, but is, instead, distributed to both individuals and organisations who are deserving of funding.

Tractors at the Threshing Cancer event
110hp and and 25 years separate these two machines, underlining the massive development of tractors from the forties onwards

Vintage tractor rallies are a regular method of fundraising on Brendan’s farm, which is situated along the banks of the River Fossa, west of Killarney.

Although the theme for this latest event was Massey Ferguson, there were plenty of other makes present, including a good smattering of German machines, with Deutz being particularly well represented.

Massey Ferguson’s galore

The day was for Massey Ferguson and a good selection turned up in the field. Although the numbers might have been a little down on what had been hoped for, the variety of machines present made up for it.

Massey Ferguson tractors
In between the Ferguson TE 20 and the Massey Ferguson 35 came the FE35 or Gold belly. It retained the Ferguson grey for the tinwork but a bronze finish for the engine and transmission. 74,000 units were produced before it was painted red and sold as the MF 35
Red tractors vintage classic Massey
Massey Fergusons are dear to many hearts as can be seen from the excellent condition in which many are kept. The smaller MF 35X in the foreground was an update to the MF 35 introduced in 1962 while the latter MF 165 appeared in 1964 with 58hp on tap
Machinery at the Threshing Cancer event
Introduced as a replacement for the 59hp, three straw walker 685, the 307 arrived in 1967 with the same 2.5m cut but it hah an additional walker and a 2,300l grain tank. Engine power is increased to 76hp although the drum retains its width of 810mm

Machinery at the Threshing Cancer event
With tractors often struggling to provide power enough to tow implements auxiliary engines were a feature of many machines. This baler made in the Kilmarnock factory is fitted with a two cylinder Armstrong Siddeley engine making 21hp, which is as much as many of the tractors of the era
Massey Ferguson baler
From more recent times comes this 7S.180 coupled to a 313CF combination baler. This tractor was brought along by Kerry Tractors of Tralee who were major supporters of the day. Despite now being considered a mid sized tractor it offers nine times as much power as the original Little Grey Fergie of 70 years ago

Never far from a Ford

Ford is another company with strong ties to Ireland, with production of the Fordson starting in Co. Cork in 1919 and many farmers having stayed loyal to the brand over the years.

Vintage Ford tractor at the Threshing Cancer event
The Fordson E27N emerged from the war still as a petrol powered tractor of 27hp, which was starting to be considered underpowered. Perkins adapted its famous P6 engine, down tuned to just 45hp, and offered it either as a factory or dealer conversion, as this example appears to be
Ford 7000 tractor blue
Perhaps the two most classic of classic Fords are the 5000 and its derivative, the 7000. By the late sixties the need for a tractor more powerful than the 75hp 5000 was being recognised and so, by the simple expedient of fitting a turbo to the 5000, the 89hp 7000 was born in 1971
Ford 5000 tractor
Fords were always popular subjects for conversion and the fitting of a powered front axle was not confined to County Commercial Cars ltd. Although it is known known who fitted it, this front axle appears to be a Selene unit which became synonymous with Roadless tractors
Tractors at the Threshing Cancer event
Often considered as a rival to the County conversions, Muir Hill tractors relied on the Ford straight six industrial engine. However, they differed from County in that they were designed as dual purpose machines for both agriculture and construction purposes

Green machines

Other than the Massey Ferguson red and Ford blue there were a number of other tractors of great interest that tended to be in green, although not all of them by any means.

Deutz intrac at the Threshing Cancer event
Something rather different is the Deutz Intrac 2003. Offering 59hp it was created as a competitor to the MB Trac which itself only had 65hp at first. It was a futuristic machine, launched at a time of great experimentation, but forward control tractors are still a niche market
Fendt tractors green machines
A pair o lightweights from Deutz. The older is a D15 from around 1960. IA single cylinder engine of 800cc boasts a whole 14hp although it did come with six gears. The nicely finished D4006 has three cylinders and 35hp. They were produced from 1968 all the way up to 1981
Waterloo boy john deere Billy
This is where it all started for John Deere, the Waterloo boy which has a horizontal twin engine, a formula they stuck with until 1960. This example is the pride and joy of Billy Donegan, a highly respected collector and restorer of all vehicle types from Co Limerick
John Deere tractor Co Kerry
Originally known as the M Series the stunning Art Deco styling of Henry Dreyfuss is very much in evidence on this JD 40 from around 1954. It’s thin, streamlined shape harbours a vertical twin of 25hp and it was intended to chase the Ferguson in North America
Oliver tractor Cancer threshing
Although carrying the bold claim to be the Oliver 2255 of 163hp, this tractor is more likely to be the 1255 of 42hp, built by Fiat and shipped in the bright green of the American company between the years 1969 and 1971
Having a 100 horses under the bonnet was a big deal in the late seventies and the IH 955 and Lamborghini 1056 would have competed in this same bracket at the same time. However, European based brands recognised the need for four wheel drive while the Americans took a lot longer

Thanks for Cancer support

Brendan Ferris is naturally delighted with the result and would like to thank all those that helped in bringing this event together, as well as the visitors and sponsors alike for their support in making it such a success.