Moving Snow and Earth with the Massey Ferguson Tractor

The Holbrooks keep their alpaca farm clear and clean with the Massey Ferguson 1742 tractor while staying warm in the cab.

By Jamie Cole | Photos By Jamie Cole

“I walked out the door, and the snow’s up to my chest,” Bill Holbrook says of the mid-March storm in 2017 that dumped more than 3 feet of snow at his Marble River Alpaca farm. “I said, ‘Now I’ve got to find the tractor.’ I walk around the corner, I see the tractor, and I say, ‘Oh …’”

“There was so much, he couldn’t get a path to begin” clearing the snow, says Bill’s wife and business partner, Sue. “You had to take a layer out, then go back over it, the length of the tractor at a time,” says Bill. “Oh, it was fun.”

Bill and Sue’s Massey Ferguson® 1742 isn’t always put to such extreme tests, but Bill says it’s still his “right hand.” He started with a Massey Ferguson when he and Sue returned to the family land in 2007 after trying retirement in Florida. He tried a New Holland for a while, but traded to the Massey Ferguson 1742 “because I was more comfortable with it,” he says.

Bill retired after being injured on the job and having a knee replacement, and now, “it’s quite a crutch for me,” he says. “The tractor is essential to the work that I do.”

The Holbrooks worked with Tom Thibeault at Burke Farm Supply in Burke, N.Y., on the trade-in. Ease of use and quick switch of implements are key features; Bill uses the mower and the backhoe frequently. It’s also a maneuverable machine; cleanup in the small alpaca paddocks is easy.

But while the 1742 is small enough to work in tight quarters, it’s big enough for the hefty job of snow removal. With a storm of this magnitude, Bill had to push snow “before I could get the blower down,” he says. “This storm has really showed me that, as a snow shovel, it’s great.

“I wouldn’t want to be without it,” Bill says, “that’s for sure.”