In a quiet corner of a farm in North Lincolnshire UK lies a graveyard dedicated to one particular brand of Combine Harvesters! Massey Ferguson.
The following photos have been sent to me by New Zealand Custom Cutter Cameron Mckay, Cameron has featured several times on yellowswirl and he is a correspondent for yellowswirl seeking out any information regarding Massey combines still at work in that country.
While taking a break before his harvesting starting in Cambridgeshire Cameron took a trip out to visit this yard and photograph the current machines there.
For owner operators like ourselves these type of private collections are very handy to fall back on to supplement spares that are no longer available.
It is somewhat sad to see these once proud giants of the wheat fields languishing away, but everything in life has an end and particularly with Massey Ferguson the spares situation with the Kilmarnock and Brantford Canada models dried up many years ago.
As the years roll buy these models will be confined to collectors as ourselves or museum collections.
And this probably isn't many years away now.
For sure many past owners have gave up on even good working order combines because of the risk of breakdown and time taken to seek out a second-hand part, and with the usual unpredictable weather patterns time really is precious for a large arable grower.
But for those of us with smaller acreage it still represents a cost effective way to carry out the job.
With combines approaching 30/40 yrs old the slightest even less serious problem has resulted in them ending up in a yard as this.
One of the biggest killers of combines is indeed fire and this has ended many machines working career.
Whether the current flagships of today will still be working into their 3rd or 4th decade is probably unlikely due to the speed of the technologies that run the combines and its trend to consistently update systems and render older models financially not worth rebuilding, also the colossal amount of input and acreage that they are expected to harvest each season will mean the wear rate on all components will be much more excessive than anything built 25 yrs ago was expected to cut in their working life.
Without doubt owning and operating these veterans would be pretty much impossible without the very few breakers scattered across the UK,and as time moves on it will get increasingly harder as the models gradually meet their inevitable end of their working lives.
Also when the price of scrap metal is strong owners of these yards are tempted to reduce the amount of machines rather than wait long term for a gradual demise of customers who faced with older wore out combines opt for newer models.
So for the time being there are spares available but this luxury is very shortly about to get very difficult indeed.
My grateful thanks once again To Cameron who sent me these photos and the owner of the combines for letting me list them on Yellowswirl.
We will catch up again in the new year with Cameron and his harvest in New Zealand and his growing fleet of combines!