By T. Gorse.
My teenage years were spent on my parents farm in Lancashire during the late 50’s and early 60’s, where we kept hill sheep and a few suckler cows on the in-bye land. We had one Fordson Dexta which took over the workload from a Ferguson TE20 to do all the work on the farm.
My memories are of a relatively idyllic upbringing and much as I enjoyed school, I would rush out to help my father on the farm when I got home. We had two dogs, Meg and Tip, which were not only working dogs but also part of our family and our life. The dogs were a necessity in helping to gather the flock of the hill, but the other invaluable tool was undoubtedly the Dexta. We had the track width set out to give extra stability on the steep slopes and it was surprising where we could get with the tractor. I guess it could never match the abilities of a modern quad bike that I now so often see in use on almost every hill farm in the UK, but the Dexta could reach all our winter feeding points to take hay and cake up to the ewes.
Annual work included mowing, turning hay and then baling, rolling, harrowing the grass and from time to time there would be some reseeding to do of the improved pasture. The reseeding was a infrequent event and so we would ‘borrow’ the neighbours plough in return for some labour at hay time or a hand with catching for clipping. The rain came frequent and heavy in Lancashire and so hay making could be difficult. We reduced the hay crop in favour of silage and a contractor would chop the grass using a Major and, if my memory serves me correctly, a David Brown forage harvester.
I have been away from agriculture in my working life but have never forgotten those years on the farm with the Dexta. I often visit the tractor rallys and steam fairs and reminisce about those days gone by, but still remember the cold biting winds of winter encoutered on the open air tractor.
If you wish to share your own tractor story, then e-mail the editor using our contact form and we’ll upload it to the site.