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Ford 5000 provides half century of service

My Favorite Tractor: Lloyd Zastrow bought the tractor new in 1968.

Harlen Persinger

October 24, 2019

2 Min Read
Lloyd Zastrow and his Ford 5000 tractor
VERSATILE AND HANDY: In 1968, Lloyd Zastrow of Oconomowoc, Wis., bought this Model 5000 Ford tractor new. He used it to handle a variety of chores on the farm, including planting all of his corn, oats and alfalfa ground.

Lloyd Zastrow of Oconomowoc, Wis., purchased a brand-new Model 5000 Ford tractor in 1968.

“I had just bought the farm from my father, Herbert, and planned to rent an additional 150 acres, so I needed more horsepower, live hydraulics and power steering to handle all the corn, oats and alfalfa ground,” he recalls. “So in March, I went to the lot at Ford Tractor Inc., in Watertown, Wis., and paid $8,600 for the machine, along with a 3-foot, 16-inch Ford mounted plow to replace a Farmall H and M.”

During that spring and summer, the 5000 handled a variety of jobs, such as plowing, disking, dragging, planting, operating a New Holland 46 baler, hauling grain wagons, and harvesting corn with a two-row New Idea pull-type picker.

Basic features included a 3.8-liter, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine; 4-by-2 two-wheel-drive chassis; 70-hp rating; wide front end; open operator cab station; weight of 5,865 pounds; differential mechanical wet disc brakes; power-assist steering; independent rear PTO; fenders; tachometer; Select-O-Speed transmission; 10 forward and two reverse gears; and four lights in the front and one in the back.

Ford Major

The blue and white tractor, named the Ford Major, was manufactured in Highland Park, Mich., from 1964 to 1969. During its 50 years on the Zastrow farm, the 5000 has worked 20,000 hours. The engine has been overhauled once, the tires replaced three times and a new seat added.

Zastrow remembers one day when his dad put the tractor into park and got off, but the shift slipped back into drive. “Fortunately, I was nearby and managed to crawl on and get it stopped,” he says.

 The Jefferson County farmer owns another 5000 along with a 1988 Ford 7710 and a 1991 7710.

“I chose the Ford line of tractors because they offered more lugging power and exhibited the most fuel-efficient economy. I have never been disappointed with the 5000,” he says. “It is very dependable, durable, has good maneuverability, excellent turning radius and always started in the winter for hauling manure and moving snow.

“I would like to restore the tractor. Hopefully it will stay in the family and one of my nine grandsons will have the opportunity to purchase it and work the farm.”

Persinger writes from in Milwaukee, Wis. To have your favorite tractor featured, email or send in a photo of yourself with your tractor, along with a 300-word write-up about the tractor, to: [email protected] or Wisconsin Agriculturist, P.O. Box 236, Brandon, WI 53919.

About the Author(s)

Harlen Persinger

Harlen Persinger is a photojournalist who lives in Milwaukee. Since 2004, he has freelanced for regional and national farm publications such as Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farm Industry News, plus many others.

Persinger grew up on a farm in Grundy County, Iowa. He received a degree in ag journalism from Iowa State University in 1972. He has traveled to more than 40 countries and has been a member of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (now Agricultural Communicators Network) since 1976. In 2016, he was the first photojournalist/freelancer to receive the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017, Persinger began providing college scholarships to 4-H’ers from his home county who have an interest in photography/journalism and agriculture. He was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame in 2023.

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