Jedburgh farmer may own the oldest tractor in the UK

Tom Wardrop's Massey-Ferguson tractor which has been working on Harden Mains Farm (Oxnam)  since 1962.
Tom Wardrop's Massey-Ferguson tractor which has been working on Harden Mains Farm (Oxnam) since 1962.

A Jedburgh farmer has launched a bid to win Lamma Xchange’s oldest tractor competition.

Tom Wardrop has entered his 1962 Massey Ferguson 35 tractor into the competition, which aims to find the UK’s oldest working tractor.

Tom’s Massey Ferguson has been used daily since it was first bought as a new tractor, meaning it has been running on Tom’s farm for over fifty years. Tom’s family moved on to the farm in 1967 and the tractor had already been up and running for five years.

“It’s certainly the oldest one around here,” Tom said. “No one else has got one of that age that uses it as I use mine.”

However, with rumours that some hidden gems dating back to before the Second World War have been discovered, Tom’s tractor will face some stiff competition.

Entries reportedly include an Allis Chalmers, two Fordson Standards and a number of “old grey Massey Fergusons many of which are still going strong on Britain’s farms” according to Lamma Xchange’s James Rickard.

Massey Ferguson tractors seem to be popular entries into the competition. Lindsay Haddon, advertising and sales promotion manager for Massey Ferguson, said: “Both Massey Harris and Massey Ferguson were built with the ethos of straightforward, dependable and hardworking capability. These iconic workhorses of the farming world stood the test of time thanks to thoughtful design.

“It is with great delight that we still see many Massey Ferguson tractors working on farms up and down the country, for us, it’s a little piece of farming heritage in a very modern world.”

Tom said of his own tractor “It has taught generations of young people to drive and most recently my own two sons and their friends. Currently it is used for feeding sheep, taking hay out, hay bobbing, harrowing, moving bales and general other light duties. It starts first time and has wide wheels fitted so it can cope with wet weather conditions - handles like a quad! It’s everyone’s favourite.”

Tom is optimistic about the prospects of his tractor running a while longer. “There’s no technology involved as such and it’s still pretty reliable. As long as they continue to make parts and there’s fuel, I can’t see it not working.”

The competition is still open for entries and due to the unexpected levels of interest, Lamma Xchange plans to offer the owners of the five oldest tractors a chance to exhibit their tractors at the 2016 LAMMA event.

With a prize of £1,000 for the winning entry, Tom will have his fingers crossed that he does indeed own the UK’s oldest operational tractor.

Anyone who thinks they may have an even older tractor than Tom’s can go to the Lamma Xchange website to enter the competition.