Farming gifts and toys for big boys and girls at Christmas

Jason Webb’s tips on what machinery and equipment fans want for Christmas
Farming gifts and toys for big boys and girls at Christmas

We have passed Black Friday, and are well in the middle of the Christmas gifts rush, whether we like it or not.

For some, my gift advice may come too late, while for others, it can be a potential lifesaver.

What gift to buy the machinery lover in your life?

Let’s start with something retro and old-school.

Many machinery lovers began their fascination with the best of agricultural toys from the Britains farm and construction toy manufacturer.

Tomy, the owners of the brand, recognise this nostalgic link, and have in recent years been launching farm toy models into the Heritage range.

Among the latest to arrive this year are the David Brown 996 and the David Brown 1210.

These are both priced at around €25, which puts them in an ideal price range for most peoples’ gift budgets.

Both tractors are from the ’70s, and in the 60-70 horse power bracket.

The toy model could not be described as a detailed 1:32 scale, but more an old- fashioned detailed toy from that era, which adds to its nostalgia and charm.

Video games

While the Britains Heritage range may appeal to a ’70s or ’80s child, the next generation may want more than just pushing a tractor along the floor.

Enter Farming Simulator 2015.

This is the latest edition of the time-consuming video game, available on Xbox, Playstation, PC and Mac, plus handheld devices and phones.

It was released last May for the consoles.

The game is developed by Giants Software, and published by Focus Home Interactive.

The new game from the franchise benefits from brand new graphics and physics engine software.

It is described as an open world experience.

This allows the player to farm across hundreds of acres of land offered by the new Nordic environment, and a renovated North American environment.

The idea behind the video game is to allow the player manage their own farm: from harvesting to animal husbandry, and from the sales of produce to woodcutting.

The aim is like real-life farming, to allow you to develop your farm, and invest in new and more powerful vehicles or tools. The gamer can also use and drive over 140 authentic vehicles and farming tools, from over 40 of the most famous manufacturers.

The 2015 edition includes 20 new brands like New Holland, Ponsse (forestry vehicles from Finland), Case IH, and Deutz-Fahr.

The game can be expanded with additional downloads.

A Gold edition adds more vehicles and a new eastern European environment.

Farming Simulator 2015 is available from some stockists for Xbox 360 and PS3 from 25, and for Xbox One and PS4 from 35.

Scale model

Let’s jump in price and age, hopefully. Atkins Farm Machinery is selling a new release 1:32 scale detail model of the McHale Fusion 3 for 110.

The novelty factor of a scaled detailed model of an Irish manufactured machine is not the only thing going for this display piece.

The detailing is excellent.

The pick-up tines turn, with the exposed tine length changing as they rotate.

There is a floating crop guard, folding stand, and hydraulic piping, all adding to the realism.

All four panels are hinged.

Under the front panels, there are five rolls of white wrap stored on each side.

The baler is supplied with three 36.6 mm by 37.7 mm bales. One is unwrapped, one part wrapped, and the other fully wrapped.

Contractor videos

Another popular gift for Christmas 2015 is a new release DVD from the extremely successful Grassmen.

Videos of contractors and farmers at work have become something of a phenomenon in recent years, and Grassmen are the market leaders.

Their Facebook page with almost 85,000 likes confirms their popularity.

Following on from a very successful ‘Two Legends and a Donkey’ video, the new release from Gareth Gault andhis team films the Donkey Contracts fleet fuelling up and taking to the green grassy fields of Northern Ireland, with a few laughs along the way.

Most of the Grassmen DVDs retail around the €20 mark.

Machinery books

The little machinery lover is also catered for, with an important message, as the AgriKids website highlights farm safety through illustrated children’s books.

’Tales from Riverside Farm — The Red Tractor’ is the third in the series, and it focuses on tractor safety.

The series follows Sarah and Tom. In this book, Tom climbs into the tractor.

With so many buttons and levers, he doesn’t know which one to push first.

The series hero, Mr Brambles, must come to the rescue. But is his magic strong enough to stop a runaway tractor?

These educational books make the farm safety message fun. This book and the previous releases are available on the AgriKids website for €6.99 each.

Speaking of red machinery, there will be fanatics wanting to get hold of the very long-named ‘Red Combines: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Combines and Harvesting Equipment’.

This book chronicles the complete story of the impact of the red combine over 100 years.

Authored by Lee Klancher and the team of talented contributors who previously created the award-winning Red Tractors 1958-2013, about the same brands, but in the tractor sector.

The combine book follows the same format, with beautiful photographs and layout.

It would be described as a coffee table book, but with great detail in the text.

It is almost 400 pages long, and available in hardback from Amazon for £52.

Branded merchandise

Brand merchandise is a big money game for machinery companies now. Brand loyalty and support can be as fanatical as football team.

Fendt are just one of many manufacturers cashing in on this. There are new Fendt branded fashion T-shirts on the Shop Fendt website costing between €20 and €35.

They have created fashion lines for men, women and children that could rival any leading fashion brand.

A ladies handbag for €65, a necklace pendent for €65, or ‘Feel the power of Fendt’ kids pyjamas for €28.

It is a one-stop shop for gifts for any Fendt lover.

How about a trip away?

Always sounds romantic, it could kill two birds with the one stone. Many tour companies are offering packages to the LAMMA 2016 Show in the UK, on January 20 and 21.

Whether you book a bespoke trip yourself or an organised tour, you would be paying less than €200 per person.

The LAMMA is the UK’s largest farm machinery, equipment and agricultural services show, which sees many manufacturers debut new products to the UK and Ireland market.

The event boasts over 900 exhibitors and is located at the East of England Showgrounds in Peterborough, which is situated north of London and west of Birmingham.

The nearest airports are at East Midlands, Stansted and Birmingham.

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