Full of Fergusons: Collection Evolves from Ford-Ferguson 2N Tractor Purchase

What began with a 1946 Ford-Ferguson 2N tractor grew to a 75-piece collection

| February 2010

  • Bob Radoush on his Ferguson TO-30
    Bob Radoush on his Ferguson TO-30, along with his rare restored Ferguson BEO-20 baler. His collection is housed at the LeSueur (Minn.) Pioneer Power Show, where he is a regular exhibitor.
    Bill Vossler
  • Bob with his restored Ferguson BEO-20 baler
    Bob with his restored Ferguson BEO-20 baler. It was restored by three people working 40 hours per week for five weeks each. “And only one of them got paid,” Bob says.
    Bill Vossler
  • Shortly after this advertisement for the Ferguson BEO-20 baler came out, the implement was recalled
    Shortly after this advertisement for the Ferguson BEO-20 baler came out, the implement was recalled.
  • A 1958 Ferguson TE-35 diesel
    The original tractor (a 1958 Ferguson TE-35 diesel) used to power Bob’s pair of Ferguson BEO-20 balers in Canada.
    Bill Vossler
  • A Ferguson lister cultivator
    Ferguson’s lister cultivator was most often used in the southern U.S. If it struck a rock, the cultivator arm rose up as shown here.
    Bill Vossler
  • The Ferguson disc plow helped eliminate hard pack
    The Ferguson disc plow helped eliminate hard pack. Instead of turning the soil over, the disc rolled over it and loosened it.
    Bill Vossler
  • Bob happened on to this Ferguson crane after trying unsuccessfully to buy one at a Nebraska show
    Bob happened on to this Ferguson crane after trying unsuccessfully to buy one at a Nebraska show. “On the way home we stopped at an old Ferguson implement dealership and wouldn’t you know it: sitting there in the scrap pile was a Ferguson crane,” he says.  “The next day we bought it for $200.”
    Bill Vossler
  • The Ferguson 1-bottom roll-over plow allowed a farmer to stay in the same furrow
    The Ferguson 1-bottom roll-over plow allowed a farmer to stay in the same furrow.
    Bill Vossler
  • The Ferguson F-73 2-bottom roll-over plow allowed the farmer to stay in the same furrow as he moved from one end of the field to the other
    The Ferguson F-73 2-bottom roll-over plow allowed the farmer to stay in the same furrow as he moved from one end of the field to the other. At the end of the furrow, the plow was lifted. It then rolled over so the plow on the other side can be used and the farmer could go back in the same furrow but still plow correctly.
    Bill Vossler
  • Rear view of the half-track 1942 Ford-Ferguson 9N showing the Ferguson system
    Rear view of the half-track 1942 Ford-Ferguson 9N showing the Ferguson system, widely known as the 3-point hitch. The cab was specially made for Ferguson tractors.
    Bill Vossler
  • A sure-fire way to identify a Ferguson implement: Look for a tag like this
    A sure-fire way to identify a Ferguson implement: Look for a tag like this.
    Bill Vossler

  • Bob Radoush on his Ferguson TO-30
  • Bob with his restored Ferguson BEO-20 baler
  • Shortly after this advertisement for the Ferguson BEO-20 baler came out, the implement was recalled
  • A 1958 Ferguson TE-35 diesel
  • A Ferguson lister cultivator
  • The Ferguson disc plow helped eliminate hard pack
  • Bob happened on to this Ferguson crane after trying unsuccessfully to buy one at a Nebraska show
  • The Ferguson 1-bottom roll-over plow allowed a farmer to stay in the same furrow
  • The Ferguson F-73 2-bottom roll-over plow allowed the farmer to stay in the same furrow as he moved from one end of the field to the other
  • Rear view of the half-track 1942 Ford-Ferguson 9N showing the Ferguson system
  • A sure-fire way to identify a Ferguson implement: Look for a tag like this

When Bob Radoush bought his first tractor 15 years ago, his son wasted no time in turning him in.

“Mom, Mom,” Jason squealed, “Dad got drunk and bought a tractor!” That’s not exactly what happened. Jason was young, Bob had drank only a couple of beers on a hot day, and he had long wanted a small tractor to use on land he owned near Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota. “I needed a little tractor to plow a 5-acre corn field,” Bob recalls.

That first tractor was a 1946 Ford-Ferguson 2N with a 2-bottom Ferguson plow. Bob had no intention of collecting old iron. “Ferguson was not on the radar,” he says. But his Mille Lacs neighbor, Louie Richards, changed that. “He had quite a bit of Ferguson stuff, and I got hooked on it,” Bob says. “Louie convinced me that Ferguson was the No. 1 tractor.”

Soon, Bob (who lives in Chaska, Minn.) had restored the 2N. “It came to me in pretty good shape, but I restored it to the best of the best, including the best possible paint of all in my paint shop. I didn’t want to collect, but it kind of crept up on me. It’s a disease,” he says with a laugh.

Getting well

Today, Bob has 75 pieces of Ferguson equipment, including 27 different versions of Ferguson plows and 12 Ferguson tractors. He’s sold on the line. “They made so many different kinds of machinery, it’s built solidly, and it just doesn’t wear out,” he says.

Bob’s first Ferguson implement acquisitions were practical ones: a 2-bottom plow, corn planter, disc and section drag to use on his acreage. “From there, we started going to threshing shows with that little 2N, and started seeing more types of Ferguson tractors,” he says. “Every one I saw I wanted to own.” Today, Bob has all the Ferguson models except the Pony and the Pacer.

One of the quirks of the Ferguson line is that some of the tractors and equipment are badged as Massey-Harris pieces while others are Ferguson. (Massey-Harris acquired Harry Ferguson Inc. in 1953. The new company was named Massey-Harris-Ferguson and plans called for production of two separate lines; in 1958 the name was changed to Massey Ferguson and the dual arrangement ended). “Just like Chevy and Buick are two GM automobile brands,” he explains, “this equipment is the same except for the tag.”



Ferguson equipment is harder to find and much more desirable than comparable MH pieces. Collectors need to be aware of that distinction, Bob says. “Fergusons are identified by a plate on the engine block that says ‘Harry Ferguson’ and has its own Ferguson serial number. If you’re a real Ferguson collector and you see one of those tractors, the first place you go is to check the engine block.”

One-man show

Bob makes a point of sticking around his display at shows and thresherees. “I’m glued to my stuff,” he says. “When I show it, I don’t ever leave it because people want to learn about this stuff, and I’m there to show them that.”

His quarter-turn Ferguson plow always draws a crowd. “You get to the end of the furrow, and when you lift the plow at the end, it rolls over,” Bob explains, “so you’re using the other plow share, and coming back in the same furrow, turning dirt the same way, but just going a different direction.”



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