Ploughing down memory lane

Whether using tools that are decades old, or the latest technology, farmers want to keep things on the straight and narrow when ploughing their fields.

East Otago Vintage Machinery Club member Ron Sheat hosted the club’s annual match at his Bushey, Palmerston area farm at the weekend.

He said regardless of the tools used by each of the 16 entrants yesterday and Saturday, the principle of the competition was the same as it was for any farmer.

"You’re trying to get a seedbed ready to plant your next crop as cheap and as economically as you can," Mr Sheat said.

"The idea of ploughing a field is if you can plough it right, it’s almost ready to sow in one pass."

Competitors in the five events at the weekend faced "very dry" conditions, and some struggled with the straw stubble left on the ground.

Still, the quality of the competition was once again very high.

Horse teams joined tractor-pulled ploughs at the East Otago Vintage Machinery club annual...
Horse teams joined tractor-pulled ploughs at the East Otago Vintage Machinery club annual ploughing match at Bushey, north of Palmerston, yesterday and Saturday. Scott McKenzie, (left) of Clinton, and Blair Lennon, of Gore, compete in the foreground as Sean Leslie and Casey Tilson, of Middlemarch, work the field behind. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Entrants were given three hours to complete their plot.

They were graded on a variety of technical aspects that indicated how well they ploughed their plot, including how straight the job was.

After the three hours was up, judges walked over the ploughing to see if the ground was soft or firm and to make sure that whatever had been on top — this weekend straw — was all buried.

"That’s the idea of the competition, you deal with what you’ve got on the day.

"Ploughing is not something you put off because it’s raining, or you put off because it’s too cold, or too hot, or something."

In the Power Farming Silver Plough competition Mark Dillon, of Riversdale, qualified on Saturday for the New Zealand championships in Middlemarch in April next year.

Yesterday, during the Waitaki Plough Match Association match, James Burnby, of Clinton, won the Pioneer Reversible competition, qualifying for Middlemarch as well.