Farmer Focus: Young assistant passes tractor test first time

Hats off to Essex Young Farmers for putting on a highly successful show after a two-year absence. It really is extraordinary to think that this is laid on entirely by young farmers, with the generous support of the farming industry.

About the author

Christy Willett
Arable Farmer Focus writer
Christy Willett farms with son Hew on 475ha at Parklands Farm, Galleywood, Essex, growing combinable crops alongside diversifications into horse stables on DIY livery, industrial and office lets. She is the chair of the Essex NFU.
Read more articles by Christy Willett

See also: Tips on how arable farms can manage risk next season

I remember being involved with it when I was in Young Farmers. Without realising it at the time, the experience taught me so much about time management and people skills.

Farmers and non-farming folk turned up in their thousands to enjoy the main ring events, the many trade stands, and livestock classes.

The question every farmer asked was: “Have you bought your fertiliser?” Never has the timing of this vital purchase had such an impact on gross margins. We’ve secured some, but not all our requirement.

Monty, our 16-year-old assistant, took his tractor test recently.

He passed without any faults despite the test venue being changed with just hours to go, from the farm to outside a school some miles away… at school leaving time. Really?

It is crazy that the first time you can drive a tractor on the road is on the way to your tractor test, but he stayed calm and navigated himself there perfectly.

So, we now have another driver, although Monty will be restricted to driving the smallest machines.

I have tried to impress on him the value of being patient and courteous towards other road users. Yes, we need most of the road on quiet country lanes, but it doesn’t do the industry any good to be arrogant.

Often, there is no alternative but for the car driver to back up, and I know many motorists find it difficult to select reverse gear, and then when they have found it, it doesn’t go well.

I try to imagine that it is my mum in there though and cut them a bit of slack.

Although, thinking about it, I’ve seen her reversing at impressive speed to get out of a tractor’s way. We have trained her well.

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