Provincial ploughing competitions are held all over South Africa. Participants placed first and second qualify for the national championship at Grain SA’s Nampo Harvest Day. As the new SA ploughing champion, the winner will compete at next year’s World Ploughing Competition in Denmark.
Local competitions are held under the auspices of the South African Ploughing Organisation (SAPO) and sanctioned by the World Ploughing Organisation. A total of 58 countries currently take part in the world championship. Conditions at the KZN competition at Weston Agricultural College in Mooi River were not ideal as there had been plenty of rain and the grass was fairly long.
The tractors were all M7040 Kubotas, and the ploughs were basic, without disc and skim coulters or elaborate mouldboards. This ensured that the competition depended on skill rather than equipment. Reece Aitken-Smith, a pupil at Weston Agricultural College, won the junior ploughman competition. Michael Bauer, also from Weston, was runner-up. The winner of the senior competition was Johan Buys, who farms at Weenen. Warren Blaker, from Mooi River, was runner-up.
Finishing the furrow
One of the trickiest parts of competitive ploughing is completing the opening furrow. It involves setting the plough at the correct angle and depth to present a level opening furrow, while making sure that the furrow is absolutely straight in order to set the pattern for all the succeeding furrows. Here, Alex Blaker from Estcourt Lowlands finishes his opening. He came fourth overall.