Editor’s note: It seems nearly every farmer and machinery collector has an interesting story to tell about one machine or another. Melissa Demas originally sent this wedding photo in for the Give Us Your Best Shot photo contest on page four. But we knew there must be a story behind it, so we encouraged her to tell us more.
— Scott Garvey
When it came to finding the right backdrop for my wedding photos I searched for the perfect spot. I grew up on a mixed farming operation less than a mile from Fleming, Sask. My Dad, Myles Fuchs, had grown up and farmed there his whole life with my grandfather, Edmond Fuchs. When I thought about my parents’ operation it soon became apparent that I had forgotten about an old family member that was significant in our farming operation and my childhood. That was my parents’ old MF 760 combine, which is still working today.
My father bought the Massey Ferguson new in October 1980 from Bradleys in Moosomin, Sask. It was the last MF 760 before shipments of MF 860s started coming out. Every one of my three siblings and the first grandchild has napped, played and ridden in this combine. It came into our family before the oldest of us four kids was a year old. In fact, my Mom, Margaret Fuchs, who was the primary operator of this machine had my grandmother, Mary Fuchs, bring my youngest sister Maria out to the combine so she could be nursed (in 1985). So I guess you could say it was “lady driven.”
To date the combine has roughly 6,300 hours on it. The motor in the MF 760 has always been excellent. The hydraulic pump has been replaced twice, along with the injector pump which was rebuilt. The MF 760 was faithfully greased every 10 hours which has been important to its longevity. If any vibrations started, the cause was located and repaired before more damage resulted. Bearings and chains were always replaced as needed. My father replaced the rethresher with a rebuilt one, replaced the concave three times and replaced all the sieves. The elevator paddles were removed and straightened as needed and new rubber paddles were installed. At 4,500 hours the brakes were rebuilt. Every year the combine was gone over before use to see what needed to be replaced or repaired. The oil was changed every 150 hours. The belts were always replaced as soon as any cracking was noticed. In 2007 the left hand final drive was replaced with a used one.
My father’s ability to maintain and repair was key to the longevity of this machine. However, the most important factor in keeping this combine going for over 30 years is that the MF 760 was always shedded in the off-season. The last year this combine was used on the Fuchs Farm was in 2009. In 2010, a neighbour used it to take his crop, and the MF 760 is now owned by that neighbour.
Although it has just recently been retired from our fields, it only seemed right to have a family picture with the old girl on a day that was so important. I have always been proud of my agricultural upbringing. To top it off, I’ve been lucky enough to marry a grain farmer!! †