In their third Farming Diaries programme, Tractor Barn duo Stephen Richmond and Jonathan Whitlam introduce us to tenant farmer Ted Fenner. Ted has spent a lifetime tending the fields of Bullfinches Farm in East Sussex.
Taking over from his father on the family tenancy, Ted carried on growing a mixture of crops including wheat, oats, barley and, until recently, hops.
We see him tending his crops with his fleet of Massey Ferguson tractors: a 35X, 135, 590 and 390, all two-wheel drive and all used with very traditional classic farm implements.
The programme reaches a climax when Ted gets out his venerable MF 525 to harvest his barley and oat crops. With small three-ton trailers and classic tractors, this scene is right out of the early 1980s. It is completed by a neighbour following the combine with a Ford TW15 and Claas Quadrant square baler.
However, with Ted now in his seventies, this turns out to be his very last harvest. In the rest of the programme we see how a nearby estate takes over the farm and amalgamates it with its own, much larger operation. Ted is able to carry on just long enough to sell his last crop off the farm the following May.
So, life on the land enjoyed by three generations of tenant farmers comes to an end, a poignant story, one of many in which large farming enterprises are replacing smaller family-run operations. It is a fitting tribute to tenant farmers everywhere.
- Running Time 90 mins approx
- PAL DVD