As we at Grainews have spoken to you, farmers, about machinery over the years, one thing always seemed obvious to us. Almost everyone has fond memories of one machine or another that ranks as their lingering favourite. So, we decided to embark on a mission: to find out just which piece of farm equipment stirs more producers’ hearts than any other. To do that, we launched the Grainews All-Time Favourite Farm Machine competition back in April.
We invited everyone to nominate the machine that still gives them that warm and fuzzy feeling. And the entries came from as far away as Europe. So nominations covered a wide variety of brands and models, but they all had one thing in common: passion, which was exactly what we were looking for.
The trouble, of course, is our judges had to first whittle down the many and various nominees on the list in order to pick the finalists, which left them with some tough calls to make. Only three machines in each of the tractor, combine and general equipment categories could make it onto the ballot. If yours didn’t, please don’t hold it against us.
The judges took a few primary factors into consideration when choosing the finalists. First, they looked at how many nominations each machine received. Second, what kind of reputation did it gain over the years. Third, how did the engineering built into it advance agricultural machine technology. And lastly, to be fair, the model had to be one that was no longer in production.
Visitors to Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina in June voted for their selections. So you, prairie farmers, have now spoken and picked your winner.
With all that said, the envelopes please.
The winner by a landslide in the tractor category was the 30 Series line of John Deeres. They beat out the 9030 New Holland bi-directional and 835/875 Series II Versatiles.
There were more nominations for 30 through later 55 Series Deeres than for any other brand. Those later tractors were all updated incarnations of the 30 Series. Launched under great secrecy and with much fanfare, the 30 Series began production for the 1973 model year and clearly placed an emphasis on operator comfort and safety with their new Sound Guard cabs.
We don’t know what the overall production numbers of these tractors ended up at, but you still can’t swing a cat in Saskatchewan without hitting at least one of them.
In the combine category, the race was tight. But the 410 Massey Ferguson edged out the IH 1482 and original transverse rotary Gleaner.
The 410, which debuted in the early 1960s, was a gigantic leap forward for MF combine design, leaving behind the outdated models MF had been offering. Engineers built it on a unit-body design instead of a traditional frame, a concept not even many sports car of the day had yet moved to. MF even built a brand new factory in Brantford, Ontario, to build them. The factory was based on the most modern automotive assembly lines of the time. The 410, and eventually the larger 510, were roaring successes for MF, building a solid foundation for the brand that eventually allowed it to capture more than a quarter of the entire North American combine market by the 1970s.
In the general equipment category, the skid steer loader proved to be your most loved machine. It beat out the Spra-Coupe and the air seeder.
The nominations for this machine type included multiple models from different brands. So it seemed obvious to the judges that in order to be fair, the entire category of skid steers be named rather than one model.
The insiders here at the Grainews home office were betting the air seeder would be the clear winner, so we were a bit surprised with the final results in this category. Our crystal ball is obviously flawed.
U.S.-based Melroe’s website claims that company took over a three-wheeled skid loader concept and morphed it into a four-wheel design that went into production as the now-famous Bobcat in 1962. Of course, that skid-steer configuration is now being built by numerous brands, and it has found work in everything from construction to agriculture, making it a real crossover hit.
That wraps it up. Those are your winners.