Tractor win helped Shropshire farm in a tricky year Four generations of the Morris family of Clun, Shropshire are pictured with the Case IH Maxxum 135MC, at the end of its 6-month loan. Pictured (l-r) back row - Western Farm Services Ltd director Ian Mills; Case IH area sales manager Andrew Davies; Vic, Graham, Brian and Neil Morris and in front; Margaret, Ewan and Ed Morris.
Winning six months’ use of a Case IH Maxxum 135MC tractor this year meant the Morris family of Clun could make the most of weather windows. David Williams reports. The competition, arranged jointly by Case IH and Farmers Guide, offered one lucky winner use of the tractor complete with front loader from late spring until autumn. The Maxxum range includes models from 145– 175hp (max) and is a firm favourite with mixed farms, capable of yard work where manoeuvrability is a key requirement and for field work where the specification allows high work rates with miserly fuel consumption. The Maxxum 135MC has up to 169hp available and allows easy set-up and system management via the Multicontroller armrest with its touch-screen and joystick. The LRZ120 loader supplied has suspension and auto-levelling, lifts up to 4.07m, and carries up to 2.3t. Trading as SJC Morris & Sons, three generations are involved running Whitcott Evan Farm and future
succession appears no problem with the fourth, youngest generation already getting involved at every opportunity. Approximately 400ha is farmed between five sites, most of it grassland for feed and grazing. A 180-head suckler herd and a large flock of sheep keep the family busy. Arable crops account for 80ha, grown for feed and straw mainly on the flat uplands above the valley at up to 1,300ft. Farmers Guide visited the farm in late autumn, joining local main Case IH dealer Ian Mills of Western Farm Services Ltd and Case IH area sales manager Andrew Davies at the end of the loan period, for the tractor’s return.
Made life easier “This year has been quite tricky weather-wise and as a mixed farm we juggle tasks between the cattle, sheep and arable crops to get things
done when we can,” Brian (Wilf) Morris explained. “The extra tractor made a big difference and, with the benefit of hindsight, the biggest advantage was being able to get stubble turnips planted with one tractor while the Maxxum was available to load and spread manure. Usually we can only do one or the other and the time saving meant we completed time-sensitive field tasks between periods of wet weather. We were also very fortunate that just as our crops were ready to harvest the weather turned dry, then we had a period of dry weather again when we were ready to drill.” Most of the tractor’s early work was yard and transport tasks including corn and bale carting, but it also did almost all the baling and later carried out most cultivations. “It really was impressive in the field,” said Brian. “It did all the ploughing and handled our heavy Kuhn 5f reversible well. Usually this is on our 6-cylinder tractor so I was surprised the 4-cylinder Maxxum was so capable. We left the loader on as ballast rather than fitting front weights
and it had no trouble at all on the headlands or travelling to and from the field. There was no shortage of power either. Adblue consumption increased, but it wasn’t an issue.” With the Maxxum ploughing, the farm’s own large tractor remained on the mixer wagon, which in turn meant another tractor was available for the hedgecutter all autumn. “It’s not just the time each task takes,” explained Graham Morris. “It’s also the time spent hitching and unhitching implements or trailers so the additional tractor made it easier to make the most of work opportunities.” Cab comfort is rated high by all the farm’s users and the passenger seat comes in for particular praise. “We often carry a passenger and noticed the difference between the comfort and space of the Maxxum compared to our other tractors, but additional storage space for odds and ends would have been handy,” commented Graham. The slopes of the Clun Valley continued over...
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Farmers Guide Magazine February 2018 Issue