A giant tractor made from 62 straw bales has won this year’s Weetabix ‘Wheat Art’ competition. The panel of judges, which included local MPs Philip Hollobone, Tom Pursglove and Chris Heaton-Harris, was chaired by Weetabix MD Sally Abbott. The judges felt that the 10-foot tractor, created by wheat farmer Michael Sly and his team from Park Farm in Thorney, Cambridgeshire, deserved the top spot.
Michael’s tractor pipped other creations which included a tower of multi-coloured farm animals and a sausage dog, to win the chance to nominate a charity close to their heart for a £1,000 donation. His chosen charity was The Thorney Society, who run a local heritage museum that educates visitors about the importance of local food and farming.
The competition was launched to celebrate the 10th harvest under the Weetabix wheat protocol, which promotes sustainable farming practices and sees the Weetabix Food Company source its wheat from farms located within a 50-mile radius of its mills in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire.
Over the last decade, over 350 local farmers have participated in the scheme, growing approximately 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat each year across around 4,000 acres, equivalent to almost 3,000 football pitches.
Charlotte Hunt, Senior Brand Manager at Weetabix, said: “‘Michael’s structure really stood out – we loved its ingenuity, and the result is iconic.
“We’re very proud of our relationships with local British farmers and we’ll continue to work with them to guarantee the quality, consistency, traceability and environmental sustainability of each harvest.”
Michael Sly, from Park Farm, Thorney, said: “We’ve been growing wheat for Weetabix for nearly 70 years, and this competition was a great way to celebrate the connection between our local fields and the Weetabix that ends up in breakfast bowls up and down the country.
“We were inspired by our Open Farm Sunday event to build a tractor and trailer and hope it will raise a smile for all the visitors to our farm. Winning the competition means that our chosen charity, ‘The Thorney Society’, who run the ‘Thorney Heritage Museum’ will be able to continue its good work of informing visitors to the museum of the importance of food and farming, past and present, within the Parish, which is a cause close to our hearts.”
Weetabix products are found in half of all UK family cupboards, and it is the number one cereal brand in the UK (Based on Neilsen RMS data for the Cereal category (Weetabix-defined) for the 12-month period ending 07 Oct 2019 for the total retail market). In the UK more than £150 million of products are sold annually, with two Weetabix products bought every second. Based in Burton Latimer since 1932, in recent years Weetabix has invested in excess of £45 million to raise capacity while preserving its commitment to local wheat sourcing.