I’m really not big into machinery. I keep just enough to do the jobs that I need to. I have my own slurry agitator and spreader, cattle trailer, a few other trailers, couple of tractors, an old telehandler, a quad and a quad fertiliser spreader.

The quad fertiliser spreader is a Port Agric, bought new in 2005. I can still remember the day I collected it from Robert Kee’s in Letterkenny.

Pulling it down the road behind my then boss’s Land Rover Defender, feeling only delighted with myself.

Step up

I’d only just bought a quad the year previous, so the prospect of being able to spread fertiliser with it, along with the fact that I would now be able to use bulk bags, as this spreader held half a tonne compared with the old five bag D-shaped Vicon that I had been using.

The whole thing felt like a big step up in the world. From then until now the wee Port Agric served me well and apart from a period of three or four years when I took a notion that I needed a 1200kg Vicon wagtail for the tractor. A machine which eventually got left in the shed as I slowly reverted back to the quad.

The Port Agric has spread all the fertiliser here for the past 16 years. She has got many a new bearing, a new disc and one new tyre as well as a slight make over 5 years ago, when I cleaned her down and gave her a lick of blue paint.

No half jobs

However, when the fertiliser season was over last year I stood and looked at her in the shed one day and thought to myself it was definitely time for another make over, but this time no half jobs.

The wee spreader deserved to be fully reconditioned and that’s what she would get. I had neither the time nor the inclination to do it myself but I knew a man who would do a good job and that he did.

I thought the spreading disc that was on her would have gotten me away for another few years but an encounter with a high pressure washer deemed that not to be the case. A new disc was obtained and doctored to fit as the original discs can no longer be got.

Every bolt and bearing was changed along with being glass blasted, primed and fully resprayed. The spreader came out of the shed looking as close to the way she came out of the factory 16 years ago.

James Strain's Atchison spreader along with his 2005 Port Agric spreader.

New owner

Of course, when I got her back home, the cogs in the back of my head began to turn. If I was ever going to sell her, now was the time, she was never going to look better or be worth more.

I decided to put her up on DoneDeal. If I sold her all well and good and if I didn’t then hopefully, she’d last me another 16 years. Sell indeed she did, to my good neighbour who live less than two miles down the road.

I hope he gets many a trouble-free year of work out of her and off I went shopping and bought myself a new Atchison spreader. Not really sure if collecting a fertiliser spreader in February is deemed to be an essential journey, but the guard at the checkpoint I drove through seemed happy enough.

Not really the outcome I had intended when I began my restoration project back in November, but I have to say I’m as good as a child waiting for Christmas morning to get out and spread the first spreader full.

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