Ploughing up the field

Keeping New Zealand's farming history alive, good competition and having fun sums up the vintage tractors and horse ploughing competition at the weekend.

The contest, held at Jordan's Farm outside Woodbourne, was the Marlborough qualifying event for the national championships being held in Blenheim in May next year.

Marlborough Ploughing Association president Allan Gifford said that competitors took part using either vintage tractors or horses.

"On Saturday the contest was run by the Tuamarina Vintage Machinery Club and today it is run by the Marlborough Ploughing Association, so competitors have their scores from each day added together to give the final results," Mr Gifford said yesterday.

"The winners from each section then qualify for the national contest next year."

The event attracted entrants from Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury.

While traditionally a male-dominated sport, Blenheim woman Linda Cosgrove gave the men a run for their money, winning the two-day contest in the vintage tractor section. This was the fourth year she had taken part on the John Deere 40 bought by her grandfather, Robert Davies in the Seddon area in the early 1950s.

"The story goes that Granddad went into town to buy a horse but came back with a tractor," Mrs Cosgrove said.

"I don't farm now but I have learned how to plough to keep it alive and to teach my son, Henry who is 11."

She will now represent Marlborough at the national contest next year.

She was the first woman to win the Marlborough qualifier and will be the first to represent the region at the national event next year.

Fellow Blenheim ploughing enthusiast, Craig Plunkett ran his team of two huge clydesdale horses along with team-mate Jaime Hawkins and came second in the horse ploughing section. This was only his second year taking part in the contest and he never expected to do so well.

"It's just a hobby. We just came to do it for a good time so I'm really pleased at the result," he said.

"It's really important to keep this sort of thing alive for future generations."

As a vineyard owner in Springcreek he has no need for ploughing horses but has begun breeding clydesdales.

"My dad and granddad were clydesdale breeders and I want to keep that going."

Competitors are judged on factors such as straightness of the furrows, depth and tidiness.


Vintage tractor ploughing:

1. Linda Cosgrove, Marlborough (206 points).

2. Jim Cresswell, Marlborough, (196pt).

3. Ash Murdock, Marlborough (192pt).

Horse ploughing:

1. Colin Drummond, Canterbury (210pt).

2. Craig Plunkett, Marlborough (200pt).

3. Erin Cassie, Canterbury (182pt). 

The Marlborough Express