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1980s John Deeres show mettle with breakdown-free Suffolk farming year

PUBLISHED: 09:10 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:10 03 January 2018

The tractors and team behind the Project 55 DVD, from left: Simon Gibbons (4055), Angus Hamilton (4255), Jonathan Tunmore (4455), Dave Williams (4755) and Jon Haynes (4955). Picture: CHRIS LOCKWOOD

The tractors and team behind the Project 55 DVD, from left: Simon Gibbons (4055), Angus Hamilton (4255), Jonathan Tunmore (4455), Dave Williams (4755) and Jon Haynes (4955). Picture: CHRIS LOCKWOOD

Chris Lockwood

A year on a Suffolk farm using a collection of 1980s ‘modern classic’ John Deere tractors to carry out its agricultural activities is the subject of a new DVD.

Project 55 DVD. Picture: CHRIS LOCKWOODProject 55 DVD. Picture: CHRIS LOCKWOOD

Project 55 involved a full set of 55-series tractors, most of which were matched with period implements, which successfully carried out the full range of farming operations without a single breakdown.

They were hosted by Angus Hamilton of W Hamilton & Son at his farm at Little Stonham, near Stowmarket.

The project was organised by local John Deere owners and enthusiasts Jonathan Tunmore, Angus Hamilton, Dave Williams, Jon Haynes and Simon Gibbons alongside agricultural journalist Chris Lockwood, who filmed the machines in action last year.

His footage shows how the machines, which date back to the late 1980s, fare when they are brought together, and the result is “a very special DVD”, he said.

The tractors have gained a following among enthusiasts and farmers as “modern classics without all of the complications and electronics of new tractors and thus are arguably more reliable”. he explained,

“The 55-series tractors were in production during the late 80s and early 90s and are now held in very high regard,” he said. “For this reason they’re in demand both as collectors items and to use in anger. In fact it’s fair to say that during the year we used them there wasn’t a single breakdown, not even a minor hiccup, which is pretty impressive when you think the tractors were all getting on for 30 years old and they were used properly - they weren’t spared.

“It’s come together to make an extremely unique DVD which was produced by my company, Anglian Agri Media Ltd, and launched in December. I’m really pleased with it and it has already attracted some very positive comments and reviews and been extremely well received. It’s a must for anyone with an interest in classic tractors and the John Deere brand in particular.”

The machines’ progress is followed from fertiliser spreading, cultivations and spring drilling, through to mole draining, subsoiling, cultivating, ploughing, power harrowing, pressing, drilling and rolling.

The DVD, priced £16.96, is available from Anglian Agri Media. £1 from every sale will be donated ot the Whiteknights Yorkshire Blood Bikes charity.

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