Vintage Vibes: The Massey Ferguson 300 Combine
This farm couple relies on their Massey Ferguson® equipment for day-to-day operations.
By Jodi Helmer | Photos By David McIlvride
The outbuildings at Caldwell Heritage Farm are filled with more than 30 restored tractors and farm implements. Kristi Caldwell’s dad, Jake Warkentin, was a collector, and when he passed away, Kristi and her husband, James, inherited the collection, as well as the farm.
Yet, despite having their pick of tractors from multiple manufacturers, the couple relies on their Massey Ferguson® equipment for day-to-day operations. “Masseys are just well-designed, hard-working machines,” James says. “They’re also good-looking machines.”
Their go-to is a 1964 Massey Ferguson 202 that Kristi calls “the workhorse of workhorses.” Her father used the yellow tractor for farm chores ranging from hauling hay and pounding fenceposts to moving lumber. The Caldwells use it for all of their farm chores, from snow removal to cultivating their fields.
“The number of hours we’ve put on that tractor on our small farm is incredible,” says Kristi. “It’s the one we use for everything.”
After harvesting grains the first season with a 1949 Farmall Cub with a five-sickle mower (combined with some hand threshing), the couple realized it was time to invest in a larger, more efficient machine. Some of their parcels are, however, just 2 acres, which meant the combine needed to be small and agile enough to maneuver in a small space. They settled on a 1962 Massey Ferguson 300, with a 10-foot grain table (aka header).
“We put in new spark plugs, some gas and oil, and fired it up. All the hydraulics worked, the table worked, the shakers worked,” James recalls. The combine increased what they were able to harvest, from 600 pounds to 3,000 pounds on the initial 2-acre field.
The Caldwells source parts for their Massey Ferguson equipment from Avenue Machinery in West Kelowna, British Columbia. In addition to their prompt, courteous customer service team, James appreciates the Avenue Machinery staff’s willingness to help him source parts for older tractors. “I need something, and parts come rolling in from all across Canada and the States,” he says.
When it comes to purchasing vintage Massey Ferguson equipment, James turns to his friends in the Okanagan Antique Power Club, a local tractor group that meets to share information (and passion) for old tractors. James is vice president. Recently, club members helped him find a 1940s Allis-Chalmers seed driller.
Although James loves his vintage tractors, he confesses that he hasn’t ruled out investing in a brand-new Massey Ferguson tractor, musing, “Well, if the distillery does really well …”