Cultivating world record with Quadtracs

Colin McGregor of Coldstream Mains Farm who is one of the finalists in the Farmers Weekly arable farmer of the year.
Colin McGregor of Coldstream Mains Farm who is one of the finalists in the Farmers Weekly arable farmer of the year.

NOT content with being named Farmers Weekly arable farmer of the year last year Coldstream farmer Colin McGregor is now bidding to be a world record holder - with a little help from fellow farmers.

Colin, who farms at Coldstream Mains has offered his services, and his 600hp Quadtrac, to the Guiness World Record attempt to have ‘the most Quadtracs cultivating in one field’, which is taking place in Lincolnshire this weekend. They need to have a minimum of 30 to break the record and the number of Quadtracs offered is already up to 41 so it’s looking good.

“We own the only one of this type of 600hp tractor in the Borders and we are transporting it south, with support from other Borders firms, specially for the event,” said Colin.

“ It will be the furthest travelled Quadtrac on the day – they are expecting over 35! “

Supporting Colin as he heads south to Lincolnshire at the weekend are Scottish Fields, John Manners Haulage Contractors from Alnwick, and Rutherford Agriculture, all adding their financial and moral support to the world record effort.

“The aim of the day is to also raise money for Cancer Research UK - Relay for Life in memory of a farmer who was one of the first users of this type of machines in the UK,” said Colin.

This unusual gathering of arable farmers at Westhall Farm, Welton, on July 28, remembers Lincolshire farmer John Rainthorpe, who died of bile duct cancer in April 2010, three months after being diagnosed with the disease.

Event organisers say: “For this event to succeed we need as many Quadtracs as possible; all pulling cultivation implements. Ploughs cannot be accepted. All participants will need to be on site at Westhall Farm, Welton by 11am. the actual world record attempt will begin at 1pm. There will be food available and several small trade stands, we have a large display and parade of vintage tractors.

“Any number of Quadtracs can enter but they must all arrive with a cultivation implement.”

Explaining why he got involved Colin said: “I thought it was a good cause and something a bit different.

“I didn’t know John Rainthorpe but farming is quite a small community and he was a pioneering chap in his day.”

John farmed 3500 acres in Lincolnshire, working alongside his father for many years and, like Colin at Coldstream Mains, he was always keen to embrace new ideas. The farm benefited from high-end tractors and implements with ever increasing horse power, so the Quadtrac world record attempt is entirely fitting with John’s attitidue to farming.

Explaining the ethos of their farming at Coldstream Mains and the increased farming they are now involved in through the McGregor Farms contract farming side of the business Colin said: “We operate a sustainable approach to farming and the environment. We pride ourselves on investing in the latest high quality equipment and machinery.

“Too many large arable units adopt a broadacre approach to farming which results in poor attention to detail.”

The McGregor family took over the Coldstream Mains tenancy in 1927, bringing with them their herd of Ayrshire dairy cows. There were also sheep, pigs, cereals and potatoes.

Colin’s father ran the farm until he died in 1978 at the age of 37, and his mother Margo ran the family partnership with the help of a farm manager for the next decade until Colin took over the business in 1989 at the age of 21.

When he took over Colin rationalised the business from its background of a mix of soft fruit, vegetables potatoes and cereals to a simple cereal and potato rotation.

The business specialised in pre-pack potato production; 140ha all destined for the supermarkets and stored in 5000 tonnes of cold-storage which had been constructed on the farm.

By 1999 another 100 hectares was added to McGregor Farms ever growing contract business, the following year another 300 hectares was added; and between 2002 and 2006 McGregor Farms was approached to farm 1300 hectares under four separate contract faming agreements; with a further 100 hectares in three blocks within a 10 mile radius of Coldstream added in 2008.