1 September 1995

Weird feeling leads to pleasant surprise

IF your local machinery dealer called on the pretext of checking a fault on one of the farms tractors would you suspect he was actually coming to say you were the winner of a farmers weekly machinery competition? Probably not. But Glos farmer David Brewer did. Even before Russell Brett, of Ross Farm Machinery, arrived at Gravel Farm, Westbury-on-Severn, in November 1994 Mr Brewer had convinced himself he had won one of the two 82hp Case IH 4230 4WD tractors on offer.

"It was the first competition I had entered but I just had this weird feeling my entry was going to win," Mr Brewer explains.

"Everything seemed to fit. At the time we were looking to spend about £8000 on a newer second-hand tractor to replace our main workhorse, a 15-year-old 80hp Zetor Crystal. Then I saw the competition in farmers weekly for a new 80hp tractor, so I thought I would have a go. The irony is that if we had been able to justify buying a new tractor the 4230 was just the size and spec of machine we would have gone for. It could not have worked out better," he says. The week after Ross Farm Machinery had broken the good news, Mr Brewer was presented with the tractors keys by then Minister of Agriculture William Waldegrave at Smithfield 94. The Case 4230 arrived 10 days later, complete with the extras Mr Brewer had specified: Front fenders, an extra spool valve and the all-important stereo.

Over the past seven months the tractor has clocked up more than 300 hours. Main work includes all-round baling operations – mowing, tedding, baling and wrapping – hauling bales with an 8m (26ft) long artic trailer, towing a livestock trailer and pulling a Taarup-Kidd rotary muckspreader.

So why didnt Mr Brewer do what most of his friends suggested – sell the £24,000 Case, buy a second-hand tractor for £8000 (the original plan) and bank the rest?

"The thought never even crossed my mind. I had entered the competition to win the tractor, not the money. And having been lucky enough to win I wasnt going to get rid of the prize.