Montgomery Bros Agri Contracts

Contractor profile Montgomery Bros Eglinton C.o L’Derry
Thirty years ago, Donald Montgomery of Montgomery Bros remembers when they
started to cut their own silage with a ford force 3000 tractor and 42″ JF side mounted
harvester. Shortly after they changed harvesters to a Bomford 42″ side mount which was
equipped with its own pick up hitch which meant quick coupling to trailers without having
to get off the tractor to remove/ refit pins in the trailers. Donald recalls one day when
things were going “powerfull well” they lifted 10 acres in 10 hours, quite a feat in those
days and a record for anyone in that area. “We were the men that day” Donald jokes.
“In the modern day you have to cut that in one hour or your goin’ nowhere” says Donald.
It was around this time that Montgomery Bros started to cut silage for a few neighbours.
The increase in work load led to them to look for more horse power in a Ford 4000 which
held the roll of main work horse for a number of years. It was upon seeing a Massey
Ferguson 1200 in action that Donald says they steered away from Ford for the
impressive output of these articulated tractors. The biggest Donald recalls was that with
no electric or hydraulic controls available for tractors at that time, the spout control
handle had to be extended to stretch over the flat body at the rear of the tractor to the
mid mounted cab. This tractor was at the time powering a Newholland 780 trailed
percision chop. The ford 4000 was still on the farm at this time, and while being well
liked, the Bros decided to look for more power in a ford 5000. However after contacting
the local dealer, they thought the tractor was too expensive. This led them to look
towards Cowan Bros just two miles away who at that time were Fiat main dealers. The
closed in engine bay and the availability of spool valves drew them to look at an 880
2wd. While apprehensive about the notoriously bad wearing body work on early Fiats,
they took the 880 out on demonstration and “she never went home again”. This was the
start of a long lasting relationship with Cowan Bros. Happy with the performance of the
880, the brothers then moved through the range as it came out. A 90-90, 100-90’s and
110-90’s all featured in the fleet before more horse power came in the form of an older
model 1580. This tractor was in turn superseded by a range topping 1880 180hp tractor.
A few years after the arrival of the 1880, Fiat merged with Ford to form Newholland
leading Montgomery Bros back to the blue oval by default as Cowan Bros were kept on
as Newholland dealers, one of only two dealers in Northern Ireland to be kept by the
1994 brought the next big change in machinery. After seeing a clean Newholland 1905
selfpropelled harvester in John McAllistars yard and deciding it would work out more
economically than a tractor/harvester combination, they took the plunge and purchased.
This harvester served well for three seasons before being changed for a Newholland
FX375 which gave a bit of trouble and so was changed for the first of three NH FX38’s.
Then, two years ago while looking to update again they decided a Claas Jaguar 890 was a
better purchase option. Donald recons after next year when the harvester is ready for
changing he will definitely look to see whats new with Newholland before purchasing.
Donald fondly remembers one day shortly after buying their first self propelled, crossing
the border into C.o Donegal to lift grass between Letterkenny and Mallin Head. While
they were working in the first field down a narrow back road, a crowd started to gather
fascinated by the size of this machine. “It was like a silage demonstration” remembers
Donald, but as the crowd grew the road became impassable forcing them to quit early
and finish the job the next day while people were at work. He still remembers the
comments of “that machine’s too big for this country”.
The firm has been exclusively running Newholland tractors now for up on fourteen years
apart from one Fiat 88-94, now showing over 10,000 hours, which is equipped with a
Quickie front end loader and has been kept to feed sheep on a hill farm. The
first Newholland tractors on the farm were a 7740 and an 8340. The next series 60
tractors were represented by an 8560 which was used to mow in front of the self
propelled with front and rear mounted mowers, and a 8360 which is still kept as an all
rounder capable of tackling most tasks and is a well liked machine. The Tm series on the
team include a Tm 120 and a 140, both with range command semi-powershift gear
box’s, and Tm155 and 190 fitted with Electro-command gear box’s giving full power shift
capabilities. The fleet also contains a range command TS115A and the fleet topping, all
singing all dancing T7050.
Montgomery bros Year starts out in the spring with potato planting. They plant 100 acres
for them selves along with around 120 acres of contract work. The preparation starts
with ploughing on either the TM 120 or 140 and a four furrow reversible Kevernland
plough. Then the Tm 120 moves in pulling a mounted 3meter deep till grubber to break
up the furrows and loosen the soil to a depth of around 12 inches. The ground is then
rotavated using a 3.5meter rotavator with 3 ridger bodies to form 2 beds for planting.
This is carried out using the T7050 which has the use full addition of auto steer which
eliminates overlap and keeps the beds straight. The TM140 and 155 then use two
Grimme destoners to clear the beds ready for planting which is the responsibility of the
TS115A and Grimme planter.
With the potatoes growing the firm turns its attention to silage. First the T7050 tosses
the grass using Claas butterfly mowers which can put the thirty foot swath into a single
row with two auto swathers mounted on the two rear mowers if the weather isn’t
promising, or spread out full width for rapid wilting. If mowed flat, the fleets only non
blue tractor, the fiat 88-94 moves in with a thirty foot rake to give the harvester
something to chew on. Donald jokes that in the summer time, his brother who drives the
Fiat complains that he’s the only one who’s denied the luxury of air conditioning for the
long summer days. The Claas Jaguar 890 then lifts the swathes filling 3 Redrock 12 ton
silage trailers and 1 14ton Red rock silage trailer. These are ferried to the pit using the
TM 155, 140 120 and the TS115A. A JCB 414s then handles the clamp using a 10 foot
push off buckrake. The T7050 came into its own when purchased new this year, as the
auto steer system means that overlaps are eliminated saving on ever more costly diesel.
Donald says that after setting an A-B line on the first run after taking the rounds off the
field the tractor then steers itself up and down the field parallel to the first run. When it
comes to cutting the swathe between two already cut swathes Donald says “you would
swear the mowers were going to miss a bit” but the outfit takes it down with
unbelievable precision.
With the grass all in, its time to lift the potatoes. The TM155 is used on the potato
harvester as the powershift “electro command” gear box provides rangeless gear
changes for ease of work. Any of the other tractors can be used to cart the trailers full of
potato box’s into storage.
Next its slurry time. Montgomery bros have two 2000 gallon tankers for spreading but a
“Slurry Kat” umbilical system is the high out put method and the easiest on ground as
the tractor in the field carries little more than its own weight and is shod on huge low
ground pressure tyres.The T7050 is again the tractor of choice as it has the weight to
grip in hills and the power to pull what can be quiet a weight of pipe dragging behind.
The TM 150 is used to power the pump used to lift the slurry from the tank and
pressurise it up the pipe to the field. A use full home made compressor used to blow the
slurry out of the pipe when finished, is mounted on the tractors front linkage and
powered by the front pto. This saves towing a self powered trailed compressor. The firm
currently uses a spreader bar in the field but Donald says they are seriously considering
buying a 12meter trailing shoe as if the wind is blowing the wrong way the whole outfit
ends up covered in the brown stuff and limits visibility. If the distance from the tank is
too far for the pipes to reach, the two tankers are used to ferry the slurry out to the field
and blow it up the pipe.
Not surprisingly, Donald’s two tankers are painted Newholland blue. When needed more
tractors and tankers can be hired in, can you guess what colour are? Donald says
he has a photo of the plant stopped for tea,totalling six Newholland tractors and blue
Donald tells me about the first 2000 gallon star tanker they bought in 1978, “the biggest
you could get at that time”, which they pulled with a Fiat 880 before acquiring the
MF1200 on the swinging drawbar. “at that time we were younger and had no sense” he
There’s no doubting the loyalty of Montgomery Bros to the Newholland brand. Great
dealer and Newholland back up is the key to there loyalty. “The Tm 140 dropped
a valve which shouldn’t have happened and even though out of warranty Newholland
stood over the repair” If there was one thing Donald would like to see improved it would
be the brakes which he says are a little soft, but with tractors now doing up to 50kmph
and trailers getting bigger and bigger its hard to pin the blame on the blue mark.
With a policy of changing his main line machines every three to four years and a firm
belief in optimising the latest technology, Montgomery Bros look well set to keep ahead
of the competition.
NH 8360
NH TM120
NH TM140
NH TM155
NH T7050
Fiat 88-94
Claas Jaguar 890
Claas Disco butterfly mowers
Claas 30ft rake
3x 12ton Redrock silage trailers
1x 14ton silage trailer
10ft push off buckrake
4 furrow reversable Kevernland plough
12ft Deep till grubber
12ft Rotovator with ridging bodies
2x Grimme destoners
Grimme potatoe planter
Grimmie potatoe harvester
Slurry Kat umbilical slurry system
2x 2000 gallon slurry tankers (Ruscon/Redrock)


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