A Fan of the Massey Ferguson 1700E Series

When a Georgia beekeeper expanded his operation, he found the Massey Ferguson® 1700 series to be the perfect tool.

By Boyce Upholt

When Jim Ellis first visited agricultural equipment dealers, he couldn’t get the time of day. Perhaps that’s because he’s an unusual sort of farmer: He raises not corn nor cattle, but bees. “I don’t think they thought [my business] was going to go anywhere,” says Ellis, who is in the process of building up his beekeeping business as a full-time, post-retirement career.

But, finally, Ellis visited Cain Equipment in Clermont, Georgia. “I could see at once that [owner] Kabe Cain had been in this his whole life,” Ellis says. “He knows how to relate to the customer,” even when, like Ellis, it’s a rare type of customer with special considerations.

Many beekeepers use a skid steer to move their hives, but Ellis also plans to plant a few acres of cash crops on his property. It didn’t make sense to invest so much in a tool with only one job.

When he revved up a Massey Ferguson 1734E, with its easy-to-use open-air operator platform, “it just felt right,” Ellis says. He liked that its compact size—which saves room on his trailer for his bee boxes—still comes with real power. The hydraulics, with a total flow of 10.5 gpm, are perfect for moving as many as 48 bee boxes at a time, and the 34-HP engine means he can put the tractor to work on his crops.

That flexibility is exactly why Cain guided Ellis to the 1700E (Economy) Series. The 13 compact tractor options in the Massey Ferguson 1700 Series—which also includes the GC1700 Series and the 1700 (Premium) Series—do the work of much bigger machines, while the many available implements make the series perfect for a farmer that has multiple needs. “The quick change of the bucket to the forklift is so simple and easy,” Ellis says, making shifting from beekeeping to gardening a breeze.

Moving bee boxes is a delicate process, Ellis says, but the 3-range mechanical transmission ensures he has full control. And the 4WD has made moving the tractor on and off his trailer simple, no matter the conditions.

All of which has turned Ellis into an advocate for the 1700E Series. “This is perfect for the hobbyist or the small commercial operation,” he says. “[These tractors] just do so much.”

For more about the full line of 1700 Series tractors, visit or see your local Massey Ferguson dealer.