Posts Tagged ‘tractor’
For a few weeks in winter or early spring, a talisman of sorts rises between the trees throughout rural Vermont. It is many places at once, yet the source, hidden amongst the hills, mountains and hollers, is not so disparate. On days when the wind is relatively still, these specter-like columns, comprised of smoke and vapor, can be seen for miles, beaconing those in the know.
They drive and trek, and as these seekers near their destinations, a faint yet familiar scent of something sweet intensifies the allure and further reinforces behavior learned from parents and grandparents, many of whom visited these same sites.
As is the tradition, these visitors are welcome. In from the cold and great outdoors, they enter the confines of cozy huts, known as sugarhouses, where the senses are greeted by steam and fragrance percolating off maple sap at the boiling point, and by the warmth of friends.
“It’s kind of like a big visiting contest,” says Hope Colburn, who along with her husband, Mark, runs Colburn’s Village View Maples, a sugaring operation near Glover, Vt. “During sugaring, people here drive around town to look for the steam and smoke from the sugaring, and they go from sugarhouse to sugarhouse … to be a part of this tradition, to witness it and visit. Of course, it dates back to … ” she pauses and laughs, “till who knows, but it’s definitely part of the heritage.”
From Vermont to Eastern Canada and across the prairie’s northern tier, sugaring—which typically lasts three to four weeks, beginning as early as January and ending as late as April—has signaled the end of winter. When daytime high temperatures reach the 40s (Fahrenheit) and nights dip back down into the 20s, a pressure is created in several varieties of maple trees, forcing the trees’ sugary sap to rise and flow out of breaks in the bark, whether natural or man-made.
Natives of these regions learned to collect the sap and boil it down long before Europeans arrived. They had their own rituals surrounding its collection and transformation into syrup, yet the addition of a warm sugarhouse has certainly added to that allure for the modern-era visitor. So have doughnuts.
“We go through a lot of them during sugaring season,” says Hope. Her mom makes the sinkers by the dozens, using maple syrup from the Colburns’ sugarhouse to feed those who visit at this critical time, when a year’s worth of nature’s and man’s work gets boiled down, literally, into sticky gold. Good friends help pass the time.
A sure-footed tractor helps the Colburns check tubing during sugaring.
Honours have gone to Massey Ferguson farm equipment at AGROmashExpo in Hungary and the Polagra-Premiery International Fair in Poland.
The MF 5611 tractor and MF 9812 row-crop planter both received prestigious International Premium Awards at AGROmashExpo in Budapest, Hungary’s biggest agricultural exhibition. The MF 5612 won a coveted Gold Medal at Poznan’s Polagra-Premiery Fair which this year attracted more than 40,000 visitors.
In making the awards, the jury in Budapest described the MF 5611 as having broad appeal in Hungary and made special mention of its AutoDrive system, Dyna transmission and reliable AGCO POWER engine. The MF 9812 planter was praised for its planting accuracy, robust construction and narrow transport width.
In Poland, the Gold Medal is awarded to modern, innovative products manufactured using the latest technologies. Professor Grzegorz Skrzypczak, PhD, Rector of the University of Life Sciences in Poznan chaired the jury.
“We are thrilled to receive these three awards which provide further testament to the fact that we are delivering the straightforward, dependable machines that farmers need to produce their crops no matter where they are in the world,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development.
Leading Australian Shellfish Company Trusts Massey Ferguson Quality in Marine Conditions.
Massey Ferguson tractors are versatile machines usually found working in a paddock, assisting farmers improve efficiencies and output.
But the versatility of MF tractors means that they are also suitable for applications that may seem a little surprising.
Shellfish farming in Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state, is one such unique application.
With one of the most isolated stretches of pristine ocean lapping its’ shores, Tasmania is the perfect place to farm shellfish and reliable, quality built tractors are needed to do it.
Local Tasmanian company, Shellfish Culture, has been operating Australia’s first Pacific oyster hatchery since 1979. Thirty five years on, the company is at the forefront of innovation and excellence in aquaculture, growing from a cooperative to now the largest shellfish seed producing company in Australia.
Shellfish Culture uses Massey Ferguson tractors in their harvesting and management of oyster farms. Impressed by the quality and reliability of their older MF435 compared to other brand tractors, the company later purchased a new MF2615. Both tractors spend a lot of hours in salt water, instead of high and dry on a paddock.
The tractors are driven from the farm’s beaches into the sheltered water as part of the farm’s regualar operations. They are used to haul oyster baskets and barges back onto the shore and spend many hours partially submerged.
The tractors are washed down daily and checked regularly during routine maintenance by staff and are proving to be reliable workhorses in the corrosive salt water conditions, compared to the company’s previous tractors.
MF tractors are an integral part of the company’s production of high quality oysters that find their way into markets and on dinner plates around the world.
Thanks to the endeavours of a group of Massey Ferguson vintage tractor enthusiasts, over £5500 has been presented to the Diabetes Research Group at Kings College, London.
A cavalcade of 19 vintage red and grey Massey Ferguson tractors completed a 17-mile crossing of the treacherous sands at Morecambe Bay last year to raise money for the charity.
At the head of the convoy was mastermind of the event, 81-year-old retired Massey Ferguson employee Bob Dickman driving his 1954 Ferguson TEF 20 tractor. Massey Ferguson supported the event with the supply of raffle prizes including an all-expenses-paid trip for two people to its tractor factory in Beauvais, France.
Bob was delighted to hand over the cheque to the Professor of Endocrine Biology at Kings College, Peter Jones.
“We were thrilled to raise £5,554.00 which was more than double our original target,” says Bob. “We are also hoping to make a further contribution from sales of the DVD of the Morecambe Bay event. The Diabetes Research Group is doing great work and we are pleased to add to their much-needed funds.”
Winner of the top prizes in the Massey Ferguson raffle were Steve Morris and Alister Renton. Steve, who helped organise the guides for the tractor crossing, is a Type 1 Diabetes sufferer and his family has farmed in the Morecambe Bay area for many generations. Alister is the father of four-year-old Neev who also suffers from Type 1 Diabetes and who waved the flag to set off the tractor convoy on the day.
Time has stopped, he’s in the zone and on autopilot.
Body is square to the jump, knees bent as he pops up and off at 25 mph. Flying high into the air, body twisting, contorting in different directions at once—gazing skyward, blind to the ground and seemingly out of control.
Air squeezes puffs of snow spray out as the board and rider land as one, straight and true. The jump is nailed.
Mitch Keet says he still revels in the feeling of when he has nailed a landing, or “stomped it,” even thousands of successful jumps later. “It feels so good. You just know that your hard work has paid off,” he says.
Growing up on the family poultry and grain farm amid the Canadian prairies, snow-covered mountains and big bodies of water are not exactly something in Mitch’s backyard. The nearest ski hill is more than 100 miles away, and the closest lake about the same distance. Old-fashioned rural ingenuity brought the altitude and wet stuff to the farm near Grandora, Saskatchewan.
During the winter, one of the family’s Massey Ferguson® tractors scoops and pushes snow together to build a small jump beside the poultry barns. An elongated pond of water was dug behind those same barns for summer wakeboarding. With his father, Derick, at the throttle, a homespun, carnival ride-sized winch pulls Mitch through his practice maneuvers for both wakeboarding and snowboarding. He can do more jumps in an hour than he can in a whole day on the natural slopes or water.
Mitch’s wakeboard achievements include being named Saskatchewan Rookie of the Year in 2011 and the Most Improved in 2012. He won gold at the provincials in 2013. Mitch has also achieved membership on Canada’s National Development Team.
Mitch gives much of the credit for his work ethic and the confidence to pull off his amazing areal stunts because he’s been so grounded through his experiences on the farm. The Keet family’s 600-acre farm, Double D Poultry, was started by Mitch’s grandfather David. Derick took over much of the day-to-day work of running the family farm the year Mitch was born.
Every eight weeks they ship 100,000 broiler chickens for processing to the nearby city of Saskatoon. Derick and David handle most of the work using their fleet of Massey Ferguson tractors. Mitch, however, can be counted on to handle a daily list of chores. “I go through the barns and pick up chickens, and when the birds go out, I’ll clean barns and spread straw and dump feed and spread manure, and harvest and combine for long days in the fall,” says Mitch.
While Mitch has his sights set on making the National Pro Team and competing at the world championships, he wants to do it his way. “The farm is the best; it’s open, it’s nice here all year round. And,” he continues, as if divulging the secret ingredient to his success, “the farm, it taught me skills and working, and that kind of stuff. I’ve got a good family, so I don’t want to go anywhere,” he says.
Mitch said being raised on the farm with chores and parents who take the time to teach him has made him both tougher and definitely more confident. “I’ll always remember that my dad taught me how to drive a tractor. He taught me how to drive the combine. My father’s confidence in me makes me very much more confident.”
And that attribute, says Mitch, is a big reason for his success, in boarding as it is in life.