Education & Agriculture

The Breese Journal has been asking for submissions from you, the readers, about your farm equipment restoration projects. Listed below, in the order they appeared in the Breese Journal, are your responses. Click on the photographs to see a larger version!

William Strotheide
    William Strotheide of Beaver Prairie, a farmer, has something in common with John Fischer of Carlyle: they're both fans of Minneapolis-Moline's G1000 tractor.
    Strotheide said he favors the G1000 because it's big, and is a nice farm vehicle to handle.
    He said his was restored out of necessity, usually meaning it was a working piece of equipment on the farm.
    He did his restoration all on his own, but to his knowledge, he doesn't know if it's still in use for regular farm work.
    Strotheide, who has done two restoration projects, said "they were all challenging."
    He's not sure what his dream project would be, but Strotheide said anyone should think twice before they're about to get into a restoration project. 
    Why? "Once you get started, you keep going and that's how you get through" that project.


Richter MichaelMichael J. Richter
    Michael J. Richter, of Highland, a dairy replacement manager, favors Farmall tractors as his restoration badge of choice.
    Richter said his favorite is the Farmall Super H, because it is simple and easy to operate, as tractors go.
    His Farmall Super H is the only one he's restored to date. It was handed down from his father, who purchased the tractor from the AC dealer in Highland over 60 years ago.
    The restoration was done out of honor because every family member has operated this particular tractor, Richter said.
    Richter said his tractor has been repaired twice by a Mr. Frerker in Breese, his father's cousin's son.
    While the Super H doesn't do much in the way of farm tasks anymore, Richter said it is used for hayrides the family has each October on his mother's birthday.
    Richter said his dream project would be pulling the family trolley from Kentucky Horse Park with the Super H.
    He said, for anyone contemplating such a restoration project to take their time and enjoy their work "because if done right, it will be better than new and last for generations."

Mohesky VAnnAnn and Vernon Mohesky
    "My wife Ann claims this one," said Vernon Mohesky of Breese, of the Farmall Model M they've restored.
    This tractor was purchased new from Holtgrave Equipment by Ann's father, Robert Holtgrave, in 1950. 
    Robert's brother Alvin Holtgrave owned the company, which was in Breese.
    Robert Holtgrave offered it to Vernon Mohesky, if he could restore it to running condition, as it had some serious transmission and engine problems.
    Vernon said he overhauled the engine, steering system, brakes and other items, and was able to obtain some used transmission parts from Joe's Used Tractor Parts in southern Missouri.
    He and Ann, with help using special equipment acquired from Alfred Ratermann, split the tractor in half and replaced all of the ailing transmission parts, cleaned up the tractor, and had it painted by Craig Vonderhaar.
    Vernon said his goal was to have it ready for the Breese Sesquicentennial Parade on June 4, 2006. 
    "It made it out of the paint shop with one day to spare and pulled the PJ's Diner float in the parade," Vernon said.
    The restoration of this particular tractor was done out of necessity and for the enjoyment of the work.
    Vernon said the tractor had mechanical issues that needed to be addressed before they could start on the project.
    "And I wanted to make it look new again."
    The tractor received best of show and first-place honors at the 2012 Aviston Tractor Drive.
    On this project, thanks go again to Alfred Ratermann, his wife Ann, and Vonderhaar.    

Rakers QQuinn Rakers
    Quinn Rakers, a seventh-grade student at Aviston Elementary School, knows what he likes in tractors — that John Deere green.
    It's a family favorite marque so much that he said his grandfather and grandmother all four of their grandchildren John Deere Model As when they were born.
    What is Rakers' favorite model? He said it's the 730 diesel Row Crop.
    "I like it because when it idles the front end bounces," he said.
    He gets pure enjoyment out of being able to restore such a piece of rolling history.
    Rakers said his father and grandparents helped him in his restoration projects.
    The two to his credit are a John Deere Model A, his favorite; and the John Deere two-tone hood, which he called the hardest.
    He and his grandfather prepared the entire tractor for restoration by sanding and cleaning it before painting. 
    They also painted numerous parts together, while his father painted the difficult parts. His grandmother did the decals and the touch-up painting.
    And Rakers' tractors are ones that still do the hard work. He said they pull wagons with it on the farm.
    Rakers said his dream project would be to restore his father's John Deere NH single front-wheel tractor.
    The grade-schooler's advice to anyone looking into a restoration project? To stick with it, once you start the project don't stop until it's done. 

Zurliene CChad Zurliene
    With an occupation as a mechanic, tractor restorations fit right in Chad Zurliene's garage, you could say.
    Zurliene, of Carlyle, favors 2-cylinder John Deeres, which turn out to be his favorites because of their simplicity, and he's always liked their design.
    Zurliene's 1949 John Deere Model G was handed down to him from his then-future father-in-law. 
    The restoration of the tractor was for the pure enjoyment of the process, the first time. The second time, it was out of necessity. 
    His father-in-law experienced a shed fire in 2002, Zurliene said, and the pristine Model G was among the items caught in that. 
    The second restoration was completed this year, Zurliene said, after 16 years of marriage and two boys.
    He said the running joke in the family is that his father-in-law gave him the tractor to marry his daughter, Jennifer Kahrhoff.
    It's his father-in-law whom Zurliene thanks for getting him into the hobby of tractor restorations.
    Zurliene enjoys bringing the Model G to tractor shows and doing plowing with it.
    His favorite project has been the mechanical restoration of his son's 1935 John Deere GP. 
    The hardest restoration project, he said, was the restoration of his own Model G for the second time, following the shed fire.
    Zurliene has quite a few restorations under his belt. They are the John Deere Model G, a 70D, a John Deere Model R, a Model 730, a Model 60 LP, a Model D, and an International Harvester 460.
    Zurliene said his dream project would be to tackle a John Deere GP wide tread model for restoration.
    He offers some solid advice for anyone wanting to get into the world of restorations.
    "Be very thorough, do all your research, and don't cut any corners."

Shubert JeremyJeremy Shubert
    Aviston's Jeremy Shubert teaches science and coaches basketball at Central Community High School in Breese.
    He's also into restoring International Harvester equipment.
    Shubert's favorites are the IH Farmall tractors, as his grandfather, Raymond Tielemann, had numerous IH models during his farming days.
    Shubert's equipment, a 1953 Farmall Super C, was passed on to him by his grandfather, who had purchased the tractor new the year Shubert's mother was born.
    The tractor was purchased from the Bergkoetter IS dealership in St. Libory.
    The restoration of the tractor was done out of necessity and enjoyment, but mainly out of the latter, as Tielemann died in 2007.
    Kyle Detmer was a senior at Central Community at the time and did the restoration for Shubert, who said Detmer "did a great job."
    And the Super C still puts in a hard day's work from time to time. Shubert said it's used to move wagons, disk the garden, and cut ditches on the family farm.
    The Super C, Shubert said, was the first tractor he drove, back in 1982.
    Shubert has done a partial restoration on a 1951 IH Farmall M, so it sounds like he's working his way up to a favorite project.
    Shubert also has done restorations on farm implements: two IH quick-hitch implements and one partial on a tractor.
    At this point, Shubert said he hasn't completed enough restorations to offer good advice to anyone else looking for such a venture. 

Hanke RRoger Hanke
    Roger Hanke, deceased, formerly of rural Carlyle, began his collection of antique tractors in the mid 1990s.
    The family farm had always owned Farmall, International or Case equipment. 
    Following Roger’s passing in 2008, his wife Rose and family decided it was time to put all of his tractors together that he enjoyed for a picture.
    He owned around nine antique tractors at one time. The first tractor Roger started to restore was a Farmall Super C, and he had his son-in-law, Steve Hoffmann at Hoffmann Auto Body, complete the metal repair and painting.
    Roger worked on his next tractor, the Farmall Hm with his grandson, Tyler Tate.
    Out of the six tractors in the picture, four were restored by Roger and painted by Steve: the Super C, H, Super H and Super M. 
    Roger did use the tractors on the farm to move wagons and other equipment around. 
    He would have augers hooked up to the PTO unit during harvest or use the tractors for minor operation on the farm for hauling silage wagons, hay/straw wagons, and use to grind feed.
    The family sold the B and W-9, and the Super M went back to the original owner at Do-Del-Holsteins in Ferrin.
    Roger and Rose’s children currently have the other tractors.
    The tractors are not used today, however, they have been used by the grandchildren to learn how to use a clutch.
    Roger and his brother Larry enjoyed tractor pulls and also had a pulling tractor. An International 560 is still being used at local tractor pulls. Roger oversaw the restoration process and it was painted by Steve.
    Roger enjoyed his time working on the tractors and going to the implement dealers to purchase his parts. 

John Fischer
    Carlyle farmer John Fischer is a devotee of Minneapolis-Moline tractors.
    Fischer says his favorite model/series is the G1000, which offers quite a bit of power and because they present no troubles.
    Asked if his antique tractor was handed down through the family, Fischer said he had one that his father owned, which he purchased from him.
    Fischer restored his tractor out of pure enjoyment. He said they look neater when freshly painted, and it's, shall we say, quite the task "to do it yourself."
    Fischer said he did most of his own restoration work, but among those who helped, he singled out Jansen Farm Equipment for their assistance.
    Asked if his restored equipment was still in use for regular farm work, Fischer said yes, adding that over half are lucky to have a good dealership so close, for any kind of service or questions an owner may have.
    Fischer has restored three model G1000s, which he said "turned out pretty good."
    All total, Fischer said he's restored about 40 tractors and farm implements, some of them for resale with a higher value, and others to keep.
    He doesn't have a dream project for now, but Fischer said he really enjoyed restoring an M-M tractor that was over 30 years old.
    What advice would Fischer give someone looking to start a restoration project?
    "Get parts books and operating manuals to learn what's inside, and find someone to work with you on it — that's essential," he said.

Morris Ghere
    Morris Ghere of Centralia favors tractors with the Ford nameplate, but his favorite is the Simplicity line, because it "filled the bill" for his collector's interest.
    Ghere said he does tractor restorations for the enjoyment, because of his fondness for "tinkering and making things better."
    His restoration projects, Ghere said, he's done mostly by himself.
    And, for that matter, he really had no favorite restoration project; he loved any kind of machinery, he said.
    Ghere has at least 10 tractors or farm implements that he's restored in his lifetime.
    But his dream project would be "any kind of Ford." And for anyone taking on a restoration project, Ghere's advice would be to "take it easy."

Detmer Red pixJerry "Red" Detmer
    Jerry “Red” Detmer of Aviston is one of the many area tractor enthusiasts with a liking for the green — as in John Deere green.
    Detmer, who makes his living as a truck driver, favors John Deere 2-cylinder tractors because of the ease in working on them.
    The antique tractors he owns weren’t handed down through his family, but were purchased. 
    One John Deere tractor came from Waterloo by way of Okawville.
    He also has a John Deere 720 diesel standard which originally came from Saskatchewan, Canada, and was bought in Vandalia.
    Detmer said he’s found pure enjoyment in the restoration of his tractors.
    Detmer credits Gene Ottensmeier with helping him on the electrical systems of the tractors during their restoration, as well as gleaning general knowledge of the vehicles.
    Detmer said he uses his tractors for display in parades these days. They don’t get used for farm work anymore.
    Detmer’s favorite restoration project was his 1957 John Deere 720 diesel standard. The hardest restoration? His 1939 John Deere Model D tractor, he said.
    To date, Detmer has restored six tractors and one plow. So what would his dream project be? A 1957 John Deere Model 820, he says.
    What advice would Detmer give someone interested in starting their own restoration project?
    “Be careful on your purchase, as they can become a lot of work and a money pit.” 

Richter T pixThomas A. Richter
    Thomas A. Richter, of Breese, is a heavy equipment operator who favors restoration of Case model tractors dating from 1918 to 1935.
    He also favors Case Cross motors because he says they are very powerful for their size.
    The Case Crossmotor range consisted of a number of models built from 1916 to 1928 when the Case Letter series was introduced, with the 'new' in-line design that became the standard layout for a tractor as unit construction took over from the earlier framed design.
    Richter says the restoration of the tractors is pure enjoyment for him, not something he does out of necessity.
    And he's found his restorative works in different states: Nebraska, Florida, Ohio and Michigan.
    Richter has restored five tractors, one haypress, five plows and one roller to date.
    His favorite restoration project was the 22-40 Case Crossmotor from 1920, which he totally dismantled.  That project took three years to complete, he said.
    His dream project would be the Case 40-72 Crossmotor.
    Richter's advice for someone looking to start a restoration project like what he's done?
    Start small and take your time.
    "Do it right and you will have a piece that you will enjoy and be proud of for a long time."

StanleyDetmerCollageStanley Detmer
    It's safe to say that Stanley Detmer of Bartelso is all about John Deere tractors.
    His favorite, he says, is a 1960 730 John Deere Diesel with an electric start.
    It's his favorite because of the sound the engine makes.
    The antique tractor was handed down through the Detmer family, he said.
    So was the tractor's restoration done for enjoyment or by necessity? 
    Detmer said it was out of enjoyment. A lot of time was spent on the project with his three sons, he said.
    Larry Detmer and Gary Detmer handled the mechanics of the project, while Bob Detmer was tasked with the painting.
    Is any of the restored equipment Detmer has still in use for regular farm work?
    Detmer said some of the equipment is used on the farm, while others are used for shows and parades only.
    The hardest, and Detmer's favorite restoration project was, by far, the 730 Diesel. He's done six restoration projects to date.
    Asked what his dream project would be, Detmer said it would be restoring tractors.
    What advice would he give to someone wanting to start a restoration project?
    "Look for a certain model tractor that you like," Detmer said.


Mohesky M TA collageVernon Mohesky
    Retiree Vernon Mohesky of Breese is a fan of the Farmall and International Harvester brands of tractors.
    His favorites are the Farmall Super M-TA, M and Super M, dating from 1939 to 1954.
    Why? They are simple to work on and easy to get parts for.
    His Farmall Super M-TA ("TA" stands for "torque amplifier") was purchased on eBay from a couple in Farina. 
    Mohesky said he's always wanted one since he was in high school. He once drove a neighbor's Farmall M-TA and liked its feel.
    The restoration of his M-TA was done out of pure enjoyment. The tractor had no major problems, "Just lots of little things" that needed some work.
    He said when he purchased it, the tractor "didn't look too bad, but this was going to be my baby."
    He said once he cleaned it up and had it in his first parade, some people thought it had been fully restored.
    "It looked good across the street, but it had been painted over the old paint ... so looked good across the street but terrible up close."
    So Mohesky fixed all the minor repairs and stripped 100 percent of the old paint before the tractor went to the paint shop, Triple R Tractors in Bartelso.
    As he restored it, Mohesky said he tried to make sure the tractor ended up original.
    Mohesky thanks Alfred Ratermann (an ex-H&N employee), Ralph Brown, and Mike and Dennis Links (from the paint shop).
    This M-TA is strictly a show tractor, and working vehicle of a different sense; no farm work for this model.
    Mohesky said since restoring it in 2006 it has appeared in approximately 10 parades a year.
    He uses it to pull trailers for five to 6 parades for the Vietnam Veterans of America Clinton County Chapter 269, and three events in St. Louis.
    The tractor pulled a float in the Welcome Iraq War Veterans Parade in St. Louis in 2012. And it won best of show honors at a parade in Damiansville.
    "The tractor is only used for fun stuff," he said.
    Mohesky's favorite restoration project was the Farmall Super M-TA; the hardest was a neighbor's International Harvester 460.
    As far as restorations, Mohesky's done two for himself and helped a neighbor with two.
    For his dream project, Mohesky would love to get hold of a Farmall Super M-TA D with a wide front.
    What advice would he give someone eyeing a restoration project today?
    "Do all the repair work up front and remove all the paint before painting" the project, Mohesky said.

Kleiboeker W William Kleiboeker
    Hoffman mechanic William Kleiboeker favors Farmall tractors from International Harvester, the M model being his top one.
    The M he's restored is one that came from his great-aunt who lived in Iowa.
    This particular restoration was done somewhat out of enjoyment, but Kleiboeker said it needed the work to get back in good condition.
    He began the restoration in 2006, finishing it in 2009.
    Asked if the tractor is used for regular farm work or otherwise, Kleiboeker said he uses it as a pulling tractor.
    For right now, Kleiboeker said this Farmall project was his only one and has no plans for another one.
    But asked what advice he'd give to someone looking to start a similar project, Kleiboeker said he'd tell the person they need to have patience and time.




Thole Gerald Gerald Thole
    A sightseeing trip on Saturday, Aug. 29, to a farm auction near Ramsey, turned out to be a lucky day for Gerald Thole of St. Rose.
    The sale bill listed a chisel.
    While walking down the aisle of farm equipment Thole came across a John Deere chisel plow with 3-point hitch. 
    Just what he was looking for. 
    It needed a good cleaning, was very rusted, and had very little paint left.
    Just the right job for a retiree!
    After buying the chisel plow, he also found a box with new chisel teeth. How much better could it be?
    The project was finished in less than two weeks. It took a lot of patience, but the feeling of pride will last. Thole intends to use it for his other hobby -— gardening.
    It has been a different kind of year: having six antique tractors (John Deeres, of course), no parades to take them to or tractor shows to attend.
    It's a summer without a summer, and when will this end?


Detmer BrianBrian Detmer
    Bartelso farmer Brian Detmer favors John Deere tractors, but it can only be because it's a family tradition. He's had several tractors handed down through the family, along with the several that were purchased.
    One in particular was the 1956 John Deere 50 they bought from neighbor Augie Fehrmann in 1990. Detmer said they spent 1-1/2 years restoring it.
    Detmer said his favorite is the John Deere AW 1949, because of the wide front end and its fenders are kind of rare. This one he found up by Iron River, Wisconsin, near Canada, which is why he calls it "our tractor from Canada."
    The restoration of tractors is done out of enjoyment, Detmer said.
    He adds that his sons Kyle and Kristopher also restored tractors for their FFA projects in school, winning state awards for their work.
    His sons and father, the late Regi Detmer, helped on the restoration project, along with an uncle, Stanley Detmer.
    They, in turn, started the Southern Illinois Green Iron Club about 12 years ago, Detmer said. The club has about 60 members, and everybody tends to help out one another on projects they get involved with.
    Asked if his tractors are still being used for regular farm work, Detmer said they are, except for two.
    A 1956 John Deere 50 was sold to a man in Texas, and a 1975 John Deere 6030 was sold to a man from Waterloo.
    Detmer said that was ironic because the man turned the tractor into an Illinois Tractor Pulling Association competitive tractor and named it "Ageless Iron."
    Asked to name the top, and hardest, restoration projects, Detmer pointed to his most recent one: a 1965 John Deere 4020 diesel Widefront Powershift, which he did with his sons, as the former.
    The hardest? That would be the 1975 John Deere 6030, on which his son Kyle hurt himself and ended up in the hospital for over a week.
    All told, Detmer said he's restored a dozen tractors, and four or five old John Deere moldboard plows, a disk, culti-mulcher, grain wagon, a four-wheeler, and a dump truck which they painted green and yellow. Go figure!
    Despite all the work he's done, Detmer said his dream project would be the restoration of a 1974 John Deere 6030 with a canopy and rollover protection system.
    What advice would Detmer give to anyone interested in starting a restoration project?
    He said he thought his dad, Regi, "kind of jokingly said it best: You'll know it when you're ready to restore a tractor when you can take a big basket full of $100 bills, and walk out on a very windy day, and watch all that money blow away."
    The elder Detmer added: "If you're OK with it and can live with it, you're ready."
    Detmer gives an example of what his dad was talking about. He recalls paying $1,700 for a 1956 John Deere 50. It cost $8,000 to restore it, and it sold for $4,750.


Huelskamp BlakeBlake Huelskamp
    Blake Huelskamp owns this 1973 International Cub tractor, peeking out of a pumpkin patch in Little Prairie in Breese. Huelskamp has said he wants to restore the tractor someday.  (Photo by Theresa Luitjohan)

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