Emerald Isle's Blue
Tractor & Machinery|December 2017

In September, the crisp rustle of wellies crushing wheat stubble can mean only one thing… it's time for the plough – or at least it was until minimum tillage came along.

But this particular stretch of 80 acres belongs to well-known collector Michael Hoey of Co. Meath, who is also a leading light in The Irish County Tractor Club, writes Justin Roberts.

County tractors are renowned as hardy beasts, being built for heavy cultivation and ploughing in particular, so his generous invitation to club members to bring along their machines to a private event and allow them to stretch their legs was one that was eagerly taken up by many. Sadly, County Commercial Cars eventually had done little since 1987 and so the majority of machines present at this event were more than 30 years old, thus representing the last gasp of tractor engineering unburdened by the complexity of electronics. During County's heyday of the ’70s and ’80s, the company’s tractors were regarded as large powerful machines that filled a market niche far above that of 'ordinary' tractors with a price tag to match. It is, however, important to remember that they were conversions of existing tractors of exactly the same power, so the secret of their attraction must lie elsewhere.

Of course the actual reason for their sales success was the increased traction they offered over two-wheel drive tractors. Large wheels offer better grip and so to have four of them present to apply the power to the ground would be a big bonus, hence the County design philosophy of equalsized wheels all round on the bulk of its models.

Such an arrangement did nothing for the turning circle or manoeuvrability, but the advantage becomes clear when you see the tractors at work on heavy ground such as that of Michael Hoey’s. It was a delight to watch the machines in their element as they took on the challenge.

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