Seasoned grandfather sets young ploughmen on straight and narrow

Dave McDonald is passing his enjoyment of ploughing to another generation of his family.

At the 66th New Zealand Ploughing Championships held at Riversdale at the weekend, he encouraged his grandsons Riley (13) and Flynn (14) Hill, of Merino Downs, to compete in the contemporary event for novice ploughers.

The championships were hosted by the Waimea Plains Ploughing Association at Sonia and Mark Dillon’s property.

Mr McDonald said it made sense to teach the boys how to plough.

“They’re interested in tractors and I gave up ploughing so I gave them the chance to have a go,” Mr McDonald said.

“They’d sooner be ploughing than being at school.”

Riley Hill concentrates on driving straight in the contemporary event at the New Zealand...
Riley Hill concentrates on driving straight in the contemporary event at the New Zealand Ploughing Championships in Riversdale at the weekend. PHOTOS: SANDY EGGLESTON
He did not know what the future of ploughing would be, but his grandsons would always be able to remember they had learned the skill, he said.

The young ploughmen driving Mr McDonald’s tractors made a good job of turning over the stubble in their plots on Saturday, he said.

“They’re going all right.

“I am proud of them.”

A retired farmer, Mr McDonald had six tractors in a shed at the back of his Gore house.

Ploughing was a satisfying farm job he had always enjoyed.

“You could see where you’ve been and there’s nothing more enjoyable than turning over black soil.

“You can always smell the fresh soil you are turning over.”

For about 20 years he had also taken part in ploughing competitions.

Dave McDonald of Gore has been teaching his grandsons, Flynn (left) and Riley, how to plough and...
Dave McDonald of Gore has been teaching his grandsons, Flynn (left) and Riley, how to plough and encouraged them to take part in the championships.
The championships started with practice days on Wednesday and Thursday.

Saturday’s task was to plough a stubble paddock plot and Sunday’s a grass plot.

The brothers were the youngest of 38 competitors in the championships and entrants came from as far away as Putaruru to take part.

Riley said this was his second ploughing competition.

“Granddad got us into it,” Riley said.

He enjoyed ploughing.

“You get to drive a tractor and work up the ground.”

He was driving a 1955 Ferguson 35 which pulled a two-furrow plough and was pleased with his efforts.

“It’s pretty straight.”

sandy.eggleston@odt.co.nz


 

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