Ed Deadman makes the most of iconic hay making equipment…

Doing farming in our spare time, we do not do a large acreage and last year we took on an agreement with a five acre grass field in our village for hay. Being late grazed, the grass was not there during the hot spell we had in June, meaning we had to wait until mid-August.The first challenge was to get a mower up to working order. Our Ferguson finger mower was too slow and gave us many problems last harvest, so I was on the lookout for a small drum mower. After mentioning this to a friend, he said he had a small disc mower, which he dragged out of a shed for me to see. It ended up a lot older and worn out than I expected, but the price was good – free!

I decided that we would have it and this meant I was the proud owner of a rusty New Holland 435 disc mower, with only three turning discs! Why did the first one not turn? It was not long before I picked it up and told my local farming friend about it and I found another 435 disc mower in even worst condition but ideal as a donor!

We pulled it off his scrap heap and took it back to the field. Over the next many weeks, my father pulled both mower beds to pieces. The cause of the non-turning disc was down to a broken bearing in the bed gear train. Lots of metal swarf from the broken bearing was washed out of the bed with cleaning fluid. Gears and bearings were swapped from the donor mower toallow a working bed to be put together. For this I must thank my father for the time and patience he put into the mower. to remove bolts that had been held together with 60 years of rust. The lower tray was put on and sealed with instant gasket.

We assembled the mower with new blades and trialled it down our field – it was noisy but it didn’t blow up! A few days later I did a trial cut and seemed to work ok so it was just to tidy up a few things, try and sort out a leak and wait for a dry spell!

Previously we had used a contractor but although balers are not cheap, it certainly pays to have your own kit. Also, if kept in good condition it will retain its value. So, with this in mind, I went baler shopping. In the end I found a nice New Holland 376 Hayliner. The baler looked like it had been well looked after and someone had previously given it a fresh lick of paint. The deal was done and I returned home happy albeit a bit lighter in the pocket!

This article extract was taken from the July 2024 edition of The Country Smallholder. To read the article in full, you can buy the issue here.

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