Gauteng Smallholder December/ January 2018 - Page 40

TRACTORS Restore an oldie & save our heritage W hile it is great to own a tractor on a smallholding, in reality they are often grossly under-utiliised and are nice-to-haves rather than necessities. For, think about it: unless you have an intensive farming operation under way on a smallholding of two to three hectares, how much work will your tractor actually do? It may spend a couple of days a year cutting grass, another day or so raking, and baling, a further day or so carting bales from the field to the barn, and in spring, a few days ploughing and preparing for planting, with a bit of cultivation thrown in in summer. Finally, it might help with chipping scrub for mulch, mixing concrete for building work Before and after pictures of a John Deere 820 and carting how are you going to manure, feed, accomplish even those few firewood and building tasks each year? material about. Here's an idea: If you're in Of the 365 days of the year, any way mechanically in reality, how many days' inclined why not buy an older work is this? Not many, and hardly enough to warrant the ~ even a vintage ~ machine purchase of a new tractor, or in working or not working even heavy expenditure on a order and do it up? If you're lucky and choose the right working used machine. But if you don't own a tractor, hulk to begin with the cost of 38 repairs and refurbishment will not be huge, and in any case will be spread over some months (or even years…) so will ease the pain in your pocket. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you're contributing to the preservation of the agricul- tural heritage of the country. There exists a thriving cottage industry in the restoration of old tractors in South Africa, with veteran and vintage tractor and stationary engine clubs dotted throughout the country, including in Gauteng. Some professional tractor mechanics even make specialisation in one brand a workable business. Johan Bouwer of Tractor Mech in Pretoria North, for example, specialises in the restoration and repair of Ferguson Continued on page 39