Blazing a Trail – What can your young farmers tow?

We often receive calls into the office querying what young farmers can tow. For our handy guide to restrictions, see below.

As from 16th December 2021, if you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997, you’re now allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM).

Check your car’s handbook to find out its gross train weight (GTW). This is the total allowable weight of the car plus the trailer plus the load.

As your licence comes up for renewal, the DVLA will update your driving licence record to show that you’re allowed to tow trailers. The new category BE will be added to your driving licence when you next apply to get a new or renewal of a driving licence.

Before you begin, it’s best to take training from a driving instructor if you want to start driving a car and trailer. Although the test isn’t required some prior knowledge and experience can help.

The ‘National standard for driving cars and light vans’ tells you about the skills, knowledge and understanding you need to tow a trailer or caravan.


You can also read about:

Why learning to tow is important

Safety checks you should do when you’re towing a trailer or caravan with a car

Starting with the basics, your minimum age requirements for tractors and trailers are:

  • age 16 (via F category licencing): tractors up to 2.45 metres wide, towing trailers up to 2.45 metres wide and with 2 wheels, or 4 close-coupled wheels
  • age 17 to 20: all tractors, subject to holding relevant entitlement
  • age 21+: all tractors and non-tractor agricultural motor vehicles, subject to holding relevant entitlement

Agricultural tractors require a category F licence to drive on the public road. Category B (car) licence holders automatically have category F entitlement. To drive track-laying vehicles, including tractors, on the public road requires the category H entitlement.

You can hold a category F licence from age 16. 16-year-olds may only drive tractors up to 2.45 metres wide, and tow trailers up to 2.45 metres wide and with 2 wheels, or 4 close-coupled wheels. From age 17 these restrictions do not apply.

Category F licence only applies to tractors used primarily for agriculture or forestry. Therefore, if you wish to drive a tractor that is not used primarily for agriculture or forestry, you need to hold a goods vehicle licence. That is category C1E for combinations with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) up to 12 tonnes (8.25 tonnes if licence was obtained before 1997) and CE for combinations with MAM over 7.5 tonnes (8.25 tonnes for pre-1997 licences).

Other, non-tractor agricultural motor vehicles require a category B licence, and you must also be over 21 years old to drive these.