AFTER a lifetime of farming cattle - first dairy, then beef - Betty Norman, 84, of Busselton knows what she wants, including when it comes to new tractors.
Ms Norman was looking to set up a 28-hectare property on the outskirts of Busselton as her "retirement" farm.
She turns 85 in October and still works cattle with her son Henry, trading as RH Norman & Son, and keeping the business accounts which are double checked by her tax agent daughter.
She knew from her farming experience a 55 kiloWatt (75 horsepower) tractor with front-end loader attachment would be big enough for cleaning up the yards, putting out stockfeed and anything else that she might want to do at the Busselton property.
So last year she walked into Busselton Machinery & Marine on her own and asked to speak to a salesman about buying a new tractor.
This week Ms Norman took delivery from Brad Langford, the Busselton Machinery & Marine salesman she spoke to, of a New Holland T4.75S 4WD tractor with 12x12 hydraulic Powershuttle transmission and Challenge front-end loader attachments.
Mr Langford also took a delighted Ms Norman and the tractor's paperwork to the post office to have it licensed in her name.
Apart from the Busselton property, Ms Norman also has the original former dairy property at North Boyanup - it has been in the family for more than 100 years and ceased to be a dairy only in 2019 - and three blocks totalling 1618ha at Unicup near Lake Muir, the first bought and cleared in the early 1960s.
Her son-in-law manages the Unicup and North Boyanup properties for her.
Across the three locations Ms Norman and Henry run a herd of about 500 breeders, made up of 200 Murray Greys while the balance are Charolais and Simmental breeders.
At Unicup the Murray Grey, Charolais and Simmental herds are each run on separate blocks.
"Our tractors were shared across the three locations so I wanted a tractor permanently at what will be my retirement property (Busselton)," Ms Norman said.
"I've spent my life working on farms, so I knew I needed a 75hp tractor for what I wanted it to do.
"I walked in (to Busselton Machinery & Marine last year) and asked to speak to a salesman.
"Unfortunately, they didn't have one in stock so I had to order it and it took a while to get in.
"The funny thing is, I bought another tractor only a couple of weeks ago at a clearing sale.
"I was the 'Busselton buyer' in the Farm Weekly report that bought the tractor at the Kojonup sale," she said.
Ms Norman paid $76,000 for the second top-priced tractor at the Worts family clearing sale on February 11 - slightly more than she paid for her new tractor.
The clearing sale tractor was a 164kW (220hp) front-wheel-assist New Holland T6030 with bucket, forks, euro hitch 3PL and with 2370 hours on it.
"That one went to Unicup, my son drove it straight there after the sale," Ms Norman said.
Buying tractors also has not stopped Ms Norman buying bulls.
"We breed our own cows but we buy in quality bulls each year," she said of the family's cattle operation.
She has bought one bull at a sale at Williams so far this bull sales season and was at Boyup Brook on Friday checking out what was on offer at a sale there.
Based on last year and previous years, she may still have eight or nine bulls to buy this season.
Ms Norman was widowed four years ago when her husband Vernon had a fatal reaction to multiple bee stings after accidentally riding into a swarm on a four-wheel-motorbike on one of the Unicup properties.
"He knew he was in trouble and rang me on the mobile phone to say he was coming back home," she said.
"I jumped in the car and went looking for him.
"I found him beside the bike still with the phone in his hand.
"It took over an hour for the ambulance to get there."
Mr Langford said Ms Norman was probably the oldest customer to have bought a new tractor from him.
"It was a pleasure doing business with her, she's a lady who knows tractors and she knows what she wants," he said.
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