I’ve been thinking positively about the farm lately. But I wish I could say the same about Ukraine, which is being horribly mauled by Putin’s forces while the rest of the world fearfully watches.
The effects of this brutal invasion will be felt for years to come, not least by agriculture with a huge escalation in grain, fertiliser and energy costs.
COVID-19 and Brexit, the two issues which have dogged our lives for the past two years, may pale into total insignificance by comparison as the world enters a new era of instability, not seen for decades.
It is a great pity that one man can so corrupt the world
Putin may yet become the Hitler of the 21st century and we are now seeing what happens when an autocrat becomes too powerful and has the ability to bring his puppet regime along with him.
It is a great pity that one man can so corrupt the world.
But that’s for another day and with the great luxury of being able to put all these awful thoughts aside for the present, let me tell you why I’m feeling chipper.
It recently came to my mind that we have never been in such a good place machinery-wise on the farm.
You see, it depends on what age of machinery you’re happy with and how much you like spanners or, alternatively, if you’d prefer your bank statement pulsating with new machinery direct debits.
If you’re like YouTube’s Farmer Phil (and certainly Father Phil) and love getting your arms deep inside the back end of a Massey Ferguson, then a fleet of non-electronic classics are the right choice for you.
A breakdown is, as Father Phil says, a case of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter
A laptop will not be needed as there will be nothing you can’t fix with a bag of spanners, a monkey wrench and a belt of a hammer. A breakdown is, as Father Phil says, a case of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
Unfortunately, I’m hard-wired differently and I do mind. Part of me would love to be as easy-going but I’m not. I don’t really like spanners and I greatly dislike breakdowns.
With that said, neither am I particularly keen on needing a laptop and a follow-up call to Rolls Royce power systems for a silly engine code (the Claas combine) to get me threshing again.
Nonetheless, it is for these reasons that I keep our machinery fairly fresh. The two key Fendts are a nice mix – one a 2018 extended-warranty 724 and the other a low-houred 718, bought new in 2009.
As a spare we have a big classic 1997 Fendt which is enough to put me off any more classics, as it has a spanner addiction. I thought of getting rid of it when the 724 arrived – it’s doubled in value since.
Combine-wise, I’m also happy to keep the secondhand 2017 Claas for a long time
The loader is a 2012 JCB which has given excellent service but is now beginning to run a few bills. I’ll keep it for, maybe, another two years and go new again. It’s the only wheeled machine that I plan on replacing in the next six years. That’s why I’m positively H-A-P-P-Y.
Combine-wise, I’m also happy to keep the secondhand 2017 Claas for a long time. At least I’ll have to because it won’t be paid off for about 20 years.
The decidedly classic 2002 Bateman is a simple old girl but 3K a year should keep her going until I retire or die, whichever happens first. Either way, Max will be calling Wiltons for a big skip. If I hang around too long, I could be thrown into it as well.
However, being stuck up to your tonsils in a classic Bateman is a million times better than being stuck in a Ukrainian tank and surrounded by Russian firepower.