Ploughing at Weston

The KwaZulu-Natal regional heat of the SA National Ploughing Championships was held at Weston Agricultural College recently.

Ploughing at Weston
Winner Warren Blaker (right) with his cousin Alex, who came third. (Johan Buys, who came second, had to leave the ceremony early) Photo: Joe Spencer
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Participants in the SA National Ploughing Championships KZN heat at Weston ploughed four at a time and were judged on the opening split, crown, uniform furrow slices, general appearance, soil available for seedbed, ins and outs at the headland, neatness and straightness.

The eventual winner, with a score of 71,58, was Warren Blaker, who works for Caldecott Farming in Mooi River. Second was Johan Buys from Ngwenya Farming in Weenen with a score of 68,58. Alex Blaker, Warren’s cousin and the fifth generation of Blakers on South Downs Farm in the Estcourt district, came a creditable third with 67,15 points.

Warren told Farmer’s Weekly there was growing enthusiasm for competition ploughing in KZN, with a ploughing club, affiliated to the SA Ploughing Organisation, having been formed at Weston.

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The bug has certainly bitten Craig Johnston, who farms and runs a contracting business in Mooi River. He said this was the first time he had done any ploughing since being at Cedara in 1993. He is now keen to learn the finer points and become more competitive.

Sakkie van Zuydam, who grows vegetables in the Weenen district, told Farmer’s Weekly that this was the first time he had ever used a mouldboard plough; he normally employs a disc plough. However, he would be back next year, he said. The final will take place at Nampo in May and the winner will participate in the world championship to be held in the UK in 2016.

Last year’s Nampo champion, Robért Venema from Tarlton, will take part in this year’s world championship in Denmark in October. The World Ploughing Organisation is the parent association of competitive ploughing and seeks to “foster and preserve the art and improve the skill of ploughing the land”.

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