ROSS Cheshire can remember the first time he drove a tractor.
He was four years old.
"On my dad's lap,” he adds.
The managing co-director at McDonald Murphy Machinery Bundaberg wasn't much older when he was took the wheel of the ute on his family farm at Welcome Creek as his father tossed hay off the back.
With a lifetime of experience on the land and a background as a mechanic, Mr Cheshire takes tractors very seriously, and he and his wife Donna have built up a reputation that has made them the top sellers of the Farmall tractor out of any Case IH dealership across the country.
They have taken out the Farmall Sales Achievement Award for two years running.
Bundaberg is named by Case IH as the Farmall "capital of Australia”.
Now the Cheshires are raising their children aged eight to 16 on tractors, too.
Having obtained a 50% share in the Bundaberg dealership last year, the couple pride themselves on being a locally owned business and say honesty and "doing the right thing” is their philosophy.
"I want to say we're about 'old fashioned service' - but we're also focused on new ideas, too,” Mr Cheshire said.
He flips a Case IH calendar to show what could be the future on some farms: a sleek, driverless tractor.
"It's a concept, but it works,” Mr Cheshire said.
Mr Cheshire doesn't think it will ever completely take over in Bundaberg - he believes it is better suited to broadacre properties rather than the typical farm here - but says technology has hugely changed the way farmers operate, from GPS and variable application rates to telematics.
The latter, he explains, allows machinery to be managed remotely.
"It sends back parameters to a central user so the farmer can have a PC, a smart phone or a tablet; he can be holidaying in the Bahamas and he can see there's a tractor going in his field.
"He can pull down how fast it's going, how much fuel it's using, the engine temperature, and monitor many parameters without even having to be there...and communicate with the operator if there is an issue.”
More and more farmers were keen to adopt this kind of technology, Mr Cheshire said, especially as younger generations come through.
McDonald Murphy Machinery Bundaberg is at 15 Enterprise St.
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