Last week I was one of the guest speakers at the Selkirk Grain Information Day just outside of Winnipeg. Manitoba’s provincial agriculture department puts this event on each January, and I’ve spoken there several times on machinery topics.
Aside from imparting any wisdom—or reasonable facsimile thereof—to those who chose to show up and listen to me, I always try to use opportunities like that to learn a little something myself. These kinds of events, where groups of farmers get together, are great opportunities for me to survey the audience. For example, I always like to ask how many producers are really using telematics. Depending on who you talk to, some in the industry say up to 18 per cent of growers have tapped into that digital resource. But not a single hand went up when I asked those in their seats who was using that technology now.
That isn’t surprising. Adoption of digital technology will take some time, and growers in some regions are likely to adopt it faster than others depending on the type and scale of their operations.
I also like to find out who has some really interesting iron parked in the back of their machine sheds. Even though the new machinery hitting the market is beyond impressive in its capability, and test driving a few new machines each season is a highlight for me, discovering classic machines still at work—or at least still in working condition—is equally as interesting.
While chatting with several of the attendees, I discovered they were hiding an astonishing variety of old and classic machines in their farmyards.
One grower has six well-maintained 800 Series Massey Ferguson combines that still take off his crop each season. Another had an equal-wheeled County tractor. These machines were built in relatively small numbers by an engineering firm in England who modified a production-line Ford tractor to create their own unique design. Very few made it to Canada.
One person even asked me to keep an eye out for mint condition MF #26 combine, 760 combine and 35 tractor to add to a collection. If you know where to find any of these, let me know and I’ll pass on the leads.
At Grainews, we like to look back at machinery history almost as much as we look forward to what’s coming down the pike in new technology. If you have a classic machine in your yard that you still use or just start up and drive around occasionally to keep it limbered up, let us know. We’re always on the lookout for interesting equipment to feature in our “Keep it going” segment.
If you want to show off your classic, email me.