Farming & Fisheries

FARM CLASSICS: Massey Ferguson 290 – a back-to-basics machine

May 4th, 2023 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

With its white fiberglass roof and sliding side windows, the cab was a neat and tidy fit.

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LAUNCHED in 1975, the Massey Ferguson 200 series took over the reins from the famed Massey Ferguson Red Giants 100 series tractors. 

Introduced in the early 60s, the Red Giants had given MF the number one spot in the tractor market, but still in production in the mid 70s – these tractors needed an update.

With the 500 tractors leading the mid-range horsepower charge, the MF 200 tractors were a back-to-basics and fundamental tractor that used mainly tried and tested components while also appealing to a worldwide market. 

Although released in 1975, the range received an update in 1983, as well as other models variants sold to overseas markets. Manufactured at the Banner Lane plant in Coventry, the range saw out the 500 series and the 600 series until eventually replaced in 1989 by the 300 range. Released in 1983, the 290 replaced the 275 tractor.

The 290 is powered by 4.1l AD4.248 Perkins engine which produces 80hp. Two transmissions were on offer – the 8F/2R standard gearbox, or the 12F/4R MultiPower gearbox. Lift capacity is rated at 53l/min and lift capacity at 2.3 tons – while the tractor weighs in at a featherweight 2.3tons. Four-wheel drive was also an option for the 290.

Cab options were plentiful for the 200 series, with the Scottish built Duncan cab proving popular in Ireland. With its white fiberglass roof and sliding side windows, the cab was a neat and tidy fit on the 290 enlarging the appearance of the tractor. The cab has an almost flat floor with  a small transmission tunnel hump and offers decent visibility. Spool valve levers are located to the left of the seat which is somewhat unconventional, not to mention the forward opening doors. 

Interestingly, an MF 200 series tractor was the last tractor ever to be produced in Banner Lane. When the factory closed, the final tractor to roll off the production line was a Massey Ferguson 263. 

Even today the MF 290 continues to be produced in the guise of the 290 Xtra. Marketed as the 200 Xtra series, the range continues to incorporate the fundamental basics and is aimed at farmers in developing countries while powered by Simpson engines. 

• Contact Peter at or see Instagram @flashphotoscork

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