‘Old grey Fergie’ stands test of time

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They say the old ones are the best and that’s certainly true for a teenage farmer who owns what has been dubbed the oldest working tractor.

Stephen Short, 19, from Far Range Farm, Southowram, is the proud owner of the winning 1953 TEF diesel Massey Ferguson or “an old grey Fergie” as they are commonly hailed.

LammaXchange, the farming machinery website, launched a competition to highlight the important role vintage tractors have played historically, as well as their enduring presence on modern farms.

And the persistence of Stephen’s 62-year-old Fergie can’t be denied.

It is still used daily to feed stock in the winter, for turning, rowing and carrying hay in the spring, as well as chain harrowing and rolling grassland.

“I’ve always wanted a grey Fergie, my grandfather had one and I learnt to drive on it,” Stephen said.

“I bought mine from a neighbour when I was 10 years old, and it’s been a great machine for this farm.

“It’s light on the land and it fits through the tight entrances into our old farm buildings.

“I love it, nothing major goes wrong with her and she’s easy to work on.”

Stephen is the fifth generation to run the family’s 100-acre farm, after having completed a Level 2 qualification in agriculture at Askham Bryan College, York, earlier this year.

The 1953 TEF is one of over half a million that were built between 1946 and 1956.

Stephen added the model was valued by farmers because it was relatively cheap, extremely versatile, compact and nimble - attributes he says still hold true today.

Judge James Rickard said: “Old tractors are practical, because they are small, easy to maintain and highly reliable,

“The winning tractor certainly wasn’t the oldest machine entered, but, in my view, is the hardest working, which is why I crowned it as the champion.”