31 July 1998

Wedding bells delayed…

EVEN his honeymoon is not going to keep Jim Mount away from the final of the Tractor Drive of the Year competition.

"The ceremony is on Aug 2, then its four days away, back to revision, Silsoe and then straight into harvest," he says – adding that the wedding date was set back in January.

It is that level of commitment that took him to runner-up position in 1994.

Mr Mount farms in conjunction with his parents and his brother on 247ha (610 acres) in Leicestershire, split between Grange Farm, Thorpe Langton, and Hill Top Farm, Barkby Thorpe.

Enterprises cover both arable, with a total of some 182ha (450 acres) of winter sown cereals, and livestock with an 85-head dairy herd and 120 followers.

Mr Mount is kept busy on both farms. "The work-load is split between myself and my brother, but Im mainly on the arable side, with stock work and building repairs in the winter, " he explains.

The arable off-season also sees him in the farm workshop carrying out machinery repairs and making equipment. "Ive built and refurbished four trailers," he says.

Come spring, it is out in the field, where he is responsible for all the ploughing with a five-furrow Dowdeswell reversible on the back of a 125hp Case 1255, then it is on to drilling.

Late spring also finds Mr Mount operating the farms 1600-litre mounted sprayer and operating a Claas Jaguar 75 forage harvester for their own silage – around 141.6ha (350 acres) over three cuts – and some contracting.

And it does not stop there. "During the summer my main job is conventional baling with our John Deere 459," he says. "I do around 14,000 hay bales for the horse trade and 25-35,000 straw bales behind the combine."

Competitive by nature, Mr Mount is looking forward to the final. "Im going for the title – its an achievement as well as a really good all-round experience," he says. "The discipline of the competition has been invaluable in broadening my knowledge of a wide range of farm machinery and its operation."

Between his honeymoon and Silsoe on August 11, much of Mr Mounts spare time is going to be spent in revision and practice. It is lucky his fiancée Jane is the daughter of the local Fendt dealer – she has a better appreciation than many of the hours it takes on a tractor seat to get the experience and knowledge required to win the Tractor Driver of the Year competition.

It is wedding bells on Aug 2, then Silsoe on Aug 11 for Leicestershires Jim Mount.