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FARM CLASSICS: Castlehaven’s DJ knows joy of Ferguson Brown

December 15th, 2022 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

FARM CLASSICS: Castlehaven’s DJ knows joy of Ferguson Brown Image
DJ Courtney keeps the furrow straight ploughing with his 1936 Ferguson Brown tractor.

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Farm Classics with Peter O'Brien

WHILE the famous stories of Harry Ferguson’s three-point linkage, Ferguson 20 tractor and Massey Ferguson company are common knowledge amoungst tractor enthusiasts, a lesser known story is that of Harry Ferguson’s dabble with David Brown Tractors. 

Ferguson had developed and successfully trialed his own tractor by 1933 – The Ferguson Black. However, he had no means of mass producing the tractor.

A deal was struck with David Brown who would manufacture the tractor in Huddersfield, while Ferguson’s role was to market and sell the tractors. 

Promoted as the Type A, the tractor bore the Ferguson name in brass on the nose. 

This was the both the first tractor produced by David Brown, and the first tractor to employ a draft controlled three-point linkage. During its production run between 1936–1938, a total of 1,356 tractors were manufactured, but sales were not as anticipated which led to a parting of ways between Ferguson and David Brown.

The early models use a Coventry Climax E side valve TVO engine, producing 20hp. 

The gearbox provides 3F/1R gears, while also providing drive to the hydraulic pump – which has the knock-on effect of shutting off the hydraulics when the clutch is engaged.  

A rare tractor, one such example is owned by DJ Courtney of Castlehaven. 

A keen machinery and tractor enthusiast who is well known on the vintage circuit, DJ had been on the lookout for a Ferguson Brown for a number of years. 

As luck would have it, about 25 years ago, a clean and original example found its way to the yard of the late John Burns and a deal was struck. 

Taking pride of place amoungst DJ’s tractors, his Ferguson Brown is in fact number nine off the production line, adding to its rarity. 

Keen to keep the tractor working, DJ can regularly be seen at the at the wheel, ploughing with his Type A and two furrow Ferguson plough during vintage working days in West Cork. 

Looking up to his father who ploughed with horses, DJ learned the art of ploughing from a very young age and is himself, of course, a keen ploughman. 

A long term member of both the West Cork Ploughing Association and National Ploughing Association, DJ has competed at senior level, and was involved in stewarding duties for this year’s All Ireland Ploughing Championship. 

At his happiest when ploughing or working with vintage machinery, DJ’s Ferguson Brown certainly takes pride of place in his farmyard. 

• Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork



Ferguson Brown Type A




Coventry Climax E

Years of manufacture


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