Farm Testimonials – The Taylor Family, Lochhill Farm
“22 red tractors and counting….”
The Taylor family from Mauchline in South East Scotland have redder blood than most running through their veins. Three generations of the family, grandfather Jim, son Alistair and grandson Andrew, currently farm Hill Farm and neighbouring Lochhill Farm. The two locations have been tenanted by their ancestors since 1848 and 1911 respectively, and they currently take care of 90 dairy cows, 40 suckler cows and a flock of 20 pedigree Blue Faced Leicester sheep. Andrew also works part time as a consultant at the SRUC but still fits in milking both ends of most days. But it’s the fleet of tractors that are the real talking point for this farming family. The Case IH fans currently have no less than 22 red machines on their farm, with 10 still in working operation and the other 12 being vintage models, many of which have been lovingly restored.
The trio are a particular fan of the Doncaster-built machines which they believe just kept improving upon each new model produced. A particularly prized machine is their 1949 Farmall run on petrol paraffin, produced on the first production run; 105th off the line. Another is a 1939 W14, one of only 1100 ever built. The family are also the owners of a Farmall H 1945 edition, with only one previous owner ever, which was recently loaned to the Scottish National Museum of Rural Life for an exhibition.
Alistair’s interest in vintage tractors began in 1982 when serendipitously he ended up acquiring the tractor belonging to one of his grandfathers and then the tractor belonging to his other grandfather. He then became a founder member of the Ayrshire Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club. Carrying on the tradition, Andrew is now in possession of grandfather Jim’s 434 International, bought from new for £856 in 1969 and retired from farm work on Christmas Eve in the year of the millennium. Ten years later, having sat in a shed untouched, Andrew dusted it off and connected a new battery and it started first time, and has now been restored and resprayed. “We don’t stick to the exact shade of red for each tractor as the colours have changed a lot over the years,” explains Alistair. “Instead, we have found a particular red that we really like and we use this for nearly every red tractor we respray.”
While Andrew’s firm favourite is the Maxxum, top of Alistair’s list is the CX90. As for grandfather Jim, he would opt for the MC115 every time – “It’s well laid out, and everything is where you need it,” he explains. The family are renowned in the area for their love of the Case IH heritage and are often contacted if a special model is coming up for sale in the area. “The problem is now that we are running out of space to store them,” points out Andrew. “We can now just squeeze them all into one shed at lambing time but this requires precision parking with only a few inches to spare!”