NEWS RELEASE   August 30, 2023

Vintage or Modern Machines – The Frys Collect Them All

Living amongst the hops, horticulture, dairy farms and forestry around Tapawera on New Zealand's South Island has meant Andrew Fry and his family have been surrounded by John Deere machinery from the get-go.

Fry Contracting's own tractors, balers and Mower-Conditioners contribute to the tide of green working on farms and in the big forestry plantations of the fertile Tasman district, about 70km southwest of Nelson.

Since 2003 the Frys — Andrew, his father Kevin and Andrew's wife Laura — have been a local one stop shop, travelling within a two-hour radius of Tapawera to spray, drill, bale and chop crops, and grow some hops themselves. As Andrew says, "We can plant the crop for a customer at one end of the season and harvest it at the other."

They saw an opening to start contract hay baling in 2010 and have put together a fleet of machines which includes two 6155R tractors, a 6215R, 6140R and 6630, as well C451R and 990 balers and two F310R and R870R MoCos.

Mini museum features early AR tractor

There are another 42 tractors out the back, including a range of different brands and models collected from across the South Island that includes 13 two-cylinder John Deeres and an AR model from the range made between 1935 and 1951.

While things have been a bit busy to do much buying lately, Andrew says the mini museum has attracted a following of fellow enthusiasts, including recent visitors, the Canterbury Vintage Machinery Club.

"My favourite tractor is the John Deere 3140 from the 1980s, which we bought second hand when we first started contracting," Andrew said.

"It's not the oldest though — there are a few 1936s out there and I'm quite fond of the AR, as well as my Grandad's that he used when he was farming tobacco."

JDLink™ keeps staff and machines connected

Technology has made the Fry's current fleet of R Series very different to those in the museum. Five of the six tractors are autosteer and all are touch screen-controlled, while Andrew has found that having JDLink installed on three of the machines is very helpful.

"We have up to seven staff in the summer, most of those full time and a couple of part timers, and JDLink is very good for organising them and communicating with the operator," he said.

"When we started baling it was mostly silage and we used a second-hand John Deere 678 Combi Baler, but a couple of years later we changed into belt balers for a tighter bale. At the time everyone was fixed chamber so we were the first to go with the belt."

"Once we got the 990 baler it was all systems go and we've put 80,000 bales through it."

New equipment ordered, now for a good hay season

Two years ago, to meet increased demand for baling services, the Frys bought a C451R Combi Baler with a wrapper on the back. For the coming season, they've ordered a new set of MoCos through Drummond & Etheridge in Nelson, so that they can work two sets together, with the F310R on the front and R870R operated by a 215hp 6215R.

"These mowers, the hydraulic suspension, they're just all-round good mowers," Andrew said.

"The new cutter bars are really low maintenance. We must've had the rear ones on for about five years, and they give us such a good run that we don't look at any other brand."

There's also a new 6R 230 tractor on order for delivery in late Spring, and Andrew is hoping that it's a good hay making season ahead.

And with Fry Contracting still servicing the customers they started with in 2003, it doesn't look as if their passion for baling will end anytime soon.

For more information contact your local John Deere dealer.

About John Deere:

Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at or in Australia at

Media enquiries:

Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371