Members of the Northern Ireland Guild of Agricultural Journalists thoroughly enjoyed their recent visit to the John Deere dealership Johnston Gilpin & Co Ltd near Lisburn in County Antrim.Organised by journalist Chris McCullough and Randal McConnell, the dealership’s managing director, the visit is thought to be the first ever machinery themed event arranged for the Guild. It was aimed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland.Randal welcomed the group to the dealership and gave a presentation outlining its history and evolution. The business dates back to 1968 when Randal’s father Donn started it up along with some other investors. Expansion soon followed as John Deere equipment became very popular in Northern Ireland, and two additional outlets were opened.The Lisburn premises were initially situated on Waterloo Road, but a larger site was needed. Randal joined the business in 1992 and two years later a move to the current premises on Lisnoe Road was on the cards after the other two outlets were sold to their managers. Johnston Gilpin & Co Ltd now also operates a nearby turfcare depot on Saintfield Road, where John Deere’s comprehensive range of merchandise is also on display.Guild members were given a tour of the main dealership premises and shown the latest John Deere tractors as well as the huge selection of parts in stock, the workshops and showroom. The highlight of the visit for many of the members present was being able to ‘drive’ a £125,000, 195hp John Deere 6195R tractor.What the members found out was that the tractor really drove itself, as it was GreenStar ready and fitted with John Deere’s AutoTrac automatic steering system.
Visitors to this month’s John Deere 50 Celebration & Heritage Event at Langar near Nottingham will find 50 things to see and do, as John Deere Limited publicly celebrates its 50th anniversary in the UK and Ireland.John Deere customers, fans and families are invited to join the anniversary celebrations over the weekend of September 24 and 25 by registering their attendance on the John Deere website at www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years. By doing so in advance, visitors will be in with a chance of winning special 50th anniversary merchandise in a lucky ticket prize draw, to be held at the end of each day.As well as trade stands, static machinery exhibits and working demonstrations of almost 200 vintage, classic and modern tractors and implements, this special outdoor event will feature activities for all the family. These include a funfair, Big Top and Grand Ring entertainment, tractor bus rides and a tour of the John Deere site, plus a range of local food and produce as well as a licensed bar.Iconic tractors dating from 1916 to the present day will be on display at the event. These include an Overtime Model R and Waterloo Boy from 1916 and 1919 respectively; a 1924 Model D, the oldest tractor in Europe bearing the name John Deere; the 710 and 4020 models that were in the John Deere range when the company started trading from Langar in 1966; several early examples of the revolutionary full-frame 6000 Series tractors from the 1990s; and many others, all the way through the past 100 years up to the present day and John Deere’s new flagship 620hp 9620RX four-track tractor.Further details of the John Deere 50 Celebration & Heritage Event and the history of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland, together with a timeline of key dates, can be found on the event website at www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years. The event runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 24 September and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 25 September, and both car parking and entry to the event are free.Voluntary donations received in lieu of car park charges will be distributed equally between Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and the Nottingham Hospitals Charity. In addition, profits from the sale of ice creams will be shared equally between Harby, Langar and Cropwell Bishop Primary Schools.
One hundred years of John Deere tractors will be on show at the John Deere 50 Celebration & Heritage Event at Langar near Nottingham on September 24 and 25, 2016, when John Deere Limited publicly celebrates its 50th anniversary in the UK and Ireland.John Deere customers and fans are invited to join the anniversary celebrations by registering their attendance on the John Deere website at www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years, with a chance to win special 50th anniversary merchandise in a prize draw.As well as trade stands, static machinery exhibits and working demonstrations of tractors and implements, this special free outdoor event will feature activities and entertainment for all the family. These will include archery, laser clay shooting, falconry and skydiving displays, synchronised kite flying and live music. There will also be a range of local food and produce as well as a licensed bar.A parade of 50 vintage, classic and modern John Deere tractors and machinery will start with a 1916 Overtime Model R tractor, belonging to Lincolnshire farm manager Malcolm Robinson. This will also include the iconic 4020 tractor, marking the beginnings of John Deere Limited at Langar in 1966, and represent every decade up to the present day, finishing with John Deere’s new flagship 620hp four-track 9620RX.The Overtime tractor was given credit for helping the World War I effort by putting in many hours of overtime producing food for the war zone and the home front. John Deere’s first step into tractor production worldwide came in 1918 when the US company bought the Overtime’s manufacturer, the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company in Iowa, who also made the Waterloo Boy. This machine’s simple two-cylinder design became a feature of John Deere tractors for another four decades.Later in the 20th century, John Deere three wheel, high clearance tractors came into East Anglia from America at the end of the Second World War under the Lend-Lease deal. For a short time in the early 1960s, a few dealers sold large John Deere tractors such as the 4010 – the UK’s first 100hp tractor – and 5010. These were imported from the USA by Lundell (Great Britain) Ltd of Edenbridge in Kent, who initially pioneered the use of large horsepower tractors in the UK, and who were bought by John Deere in 1962.John Deere Limited started trading from Langar in January 1966, and the original premises are still in use today as the company’s visitor centre and national parts distribution centre. Of the original dealers who continued with the new company from that date, two are still John Deere dealers today and are owned by the same families – Ben Burgess in Norfolk and L E Tuckwell in Suffolk.In addition to the 4020 tractor, several of the machines that represented the John Deere Limited product line in 1966 will also be at the event, including the first 5010 and 5020 tractors sold in the UK, ploughs, the C10 cultivator and the 530 and 630 combine harvesters.“Aside from the historic two-cylinder John Deere tractors on display, the main focus of the event is to gather together examples of John Deere tractors and machinery sold through John Deere’s UK and Irish dealers from 1966 to 2016,” says heritage event organiser Peter Leech.“At the moment we have registered tractors for every decade from the 1940s, but we would still love to hear from anyone with more recent machines, especially classic models from the 1980s and 1990s – even up to the modern 30 Series tractors. It’s an event for everyone, so tractors of all ages are welcome.”Owners of old and new John Deere machines who would like to attend the event should submit an application form, downloadable from www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years. The website also features more details of the history of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland, together with a timeline of key dates.