Farmwell was a brand name used by the Workwell Engineering Company of Kent England for a basic tractor designed for use in Africa and other less developed regions of the World. The company also built a number of other machines such as the Minewell low profile dumpers for underground mines. All the designs were based on Massey Ferguson main components.
The tractors were conceived as a project to build a no-frills basic tractor for the African sub-continent, as due to local conditions, 'modern tractors' lasted a very short time due to a lack of spares and mechanical know-how to maintain them. The harsh extremes of dust and wet also take the toll on electrical and hydraulic systems.
The Farmwell project was based on Massey Ferguson Skid unit that was made up of a mixture of tractor parts from the MF inventory. It was fitted with no electrics or power steering. Basic pressed steel was used for the hood and mudguard. Some were built with steel wheels to cope with the lack of tyre repair facilities and the harsh ground, as tyres are a major running cost with sharp stones and razor like thorns being a major problem in some of the bush areas.
Starting was by an inertia starter rather than a electric motor, and a mechanical tachometer was used. Front grills were heavy-duty fabrications as experience has shown that Ford and Nuffield style tin fronts did not stand up to local conditions, resulting in radiator damage being a common problem.
The tractors were 'built' at a factory in Ashford Kent and then packed into 20ft ISO Containers for shipment, as a Kit similar to how some Chinese tractors are being sold in the UK for 'home' assembly. The wheels on some were similar to the early Fordson with a 'T' ring front wheel and a staked rear but made of a open design using std pressed centres which would allow track width adjustment if required.
Part of the plan was for the tractors to be built locally in Africa with a large percentage of locally made parts as possible to reduce import duty and provide local work.
Several hundred were built over a number of years, but African politics and the issue of financing of imported machinery in many countries limited the sales. Various aid projects from the Western Governments and Russia at times 'giving' modern machinery for projects that was not supported by backup services and training have not helped the development of local markets and industry within most of the continent. Food aid also distorts the local market for farm produce to be sold profitably to pay for machinery.
- Farmwell tractors - several variants mainly based on MF skid units
- Loadwell - loader tractor based on the Tugweel tractor with a loader fitted
- Tugwell tractor - no linkage designed for hauling trailers
- Minewell - underground mine dumper -
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References / sourcesEdit
- Classic Massey & Ferguson Enthusiast, February 2011
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