For the love of green and yellow from the mailbox back

Jonathan Schulz, of Jindera, will be among the John Deere fans to head to Henty for the celebration of 100 years of tractor manufacture.

Jonathan Schulz has everything green and yellow from the mailbox to teapots and cushions in the house, and out into the paddock with dozens of John Deere branded machines.

A hand knitted jumper of the John Deere logo given to him on his 21st by a family friend was proudly worn at regional field days, paddock walks and seminars.

The one-off jumper and matching beanie became legendary in local rural circles.

All of his working machinery is John Deere and the brand makes up the majority of a vintage tractor collection numbering around 60 on his 1012ha Jindera property.

Now aged 51, Jonathan recalls his favourite pick up line as a young lad, “Don’t call me John, dear.’’

He will be in the thick of the centenary of John Deere tractor manufacture celebrations at the Henty Machinery Field Days with a plethora of restored and unrestored tractors.

He is also looking forward to taking part in the biggest gathering of John Deere fans in Australia at Henty on Thursday, September 20 at The Stump, from 11am.

Jonathan recalls driving his first tractor, a John Deere 730, while in primary school.

“It was a twin cylinder, hand clutch, the power steering wasn’t very good – we’ve still got it,’’ he said.

“I spent a lot of hours on the tractor ploughing and doing secondary cultivations.

“I remember the first brand new tractor Dad bought, a John Deere 3130, but it didn’t have a cab.

“During baling it was too dusty so he traded it in on a John Deere 4040, which has 11,000 hours on it and we still use for cultivation and baling.

“We haven’t touched the motor – I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on that one.

“We also have a 135hp John Deere 7510 with a front end loader, used as a boom spray and feeding out tractor.’’

Jonathan has another working tractor, a 247hp John Deere 8300, bought second hand several years ago with a Gason Scaritill and air seeder.

Among the family collection heading to Henty for the centenary celebrations is a rare John Deere 435 (1959-1960), one of only seven in Australia and used to drive an auger or saw bench on the Schulz farm.

Their oldest tractor, a 1926 D Model, originally came from Corryong and was restored by Jonathon’s father, Arnold.

“We are also taking a John Deere 435 crawler, a 1946 G row crop tractor and a 1928 D model carcass to show people what an unrestored tractor looks like.’’

Also in the John Deere collection is a 1946 D Model, 730 diesel, a Farmall (first of the John Deere diesels), a 2010, 4010, 4020 and 4040, along with Massey Ferguson, McCormack Deering, Chamberlain, Minneapolis, Case IH, Allis Chalmers, Renault and Lanz.

The love of John Deere doesn’t stop with tractors for Jonathan – he has one of the first rotary John Deere headers, a 9650, used to take off 404ha of wheat and canola each year.

The green and gold also extends to the baler, mower, rake and mailbox.

Jonathan said the family’s iconic John Deere mailbox was originally hand painted but Hutcheon and Pearce provided a powder-coated version as a gift.

Indoors, his collection of John Deere themed items, including coffee mugs, teapots, T-shirts, beer mugs, cushions and toys, grows each Christmas.

“I try to collect the models of tractors dad has restored,’’ he said.

Jonathan concedes there is a lot of emotion attached to the brand when making a buying decision.

“I spend a lot of time in the tractors and do become attached to them,’’ he said.

His father Arnold, 87, was chairman of the Henty Machine of the Year Award committee for many years.

“I started getting involved in the field days co-operative in 1990 – I was working as a shearer so I wasn’t busy on Saturdays and helped out at the working bees.’’

A young family of four meant his involvement stopped in 2004 but he remains an active member of the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club.

“Dad’s grandfather made a tractor in the early 1900s – it had a 16hp Jelbart motor and we still have the chassis here,’’ he said.

“He made a one-off and it wasn’t powerful enough so it was used as a portable stationary engine.’’