Golden Opportunities

Harvest-time offers enthusiasts the chance to play in the hay with their old machinery.

Lack of sun means that hay-making has had to turn into haylage-making here in North Wales, with my brother Wil at the wheel.

Most of Britain’s hay is made into large bales, but we Brits still make plenty of the small rectangular bales. Perhaps you too remember the feel of baler twine cutting into your fingers and the rash on bare limbs from lifting small, rectangular bales.

Many farmers still make small bales because there is a decent market for them. They are sought by hobby farmers, horse owners and anyone who keeps small numbers of grazing animals. Haymaking with small bales remains commercially viable, especially if bale sledges and loaders are used to minimise the need for too much human labour. Profits aside, many make a bit of hay in the old-fashioned way largely because they enjoy an opportunity to use their vintage or classic equipment. Haymaking time offers a golden opportunity for the nostalgia-seeker. You get to play with your favorite machines, and make a saleable product at the end of it: What’s not to like? 

There’s a certain sort of romance to haymaking that is fueled by sunshine, the sense of camaraderie and the satisfaction of seeing a sweet-smelling harvest safely stacked under cover. It’s no wonder that people so fondly recall their early haymaking days. Haymaking using modern equipment just isn’t the same. When farmers make a hay or silage crop today, large machinery is used. Each person is alone inside his own cab and much of the joy of working alongside others as a team is lost.

This Nuffield Universal 3 is powerful enough to cart bales like this, but going up a slope it is light in the front end, so weights on the front are helpful.

Younger tractor enthusiasts also enjoy working with older machinery at haymaking time, because it provides them with a chance to use tractors and implements that were used long before these youngsters were twinkles in their parents’ eyes. We older folks have to remember that the younger tractor enthusiasts did not use 1960s and ’70s machinery when they were young. They are familiarising themselves with this old technology for the first time, and there’s nothing like a five-day stint of working with different tractors and implements to give a person experience. Haymaking with old kit really does give tractor enthusiasts, and their machinery, a chance to shine.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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