North Yorkshire to host world class ploughing

The very best plough men and women are heading to North Yorkshire for national and international competitions.
The very best plough men and women are heading to North Yorkshire for national and international competitions.
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An international array of contestants will gather at farmland near York next month for the World Cup of the ploughing world.

Ploughmen from 31 different countries, from across Europe, South Africa, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, will compete in the 63rd World Ploughing Contest at Crockey Hill over the weekend of September 10-11.

A similar cast of competitors will also line up for the first World Vintage Ploughing Championships over the same two days.

The World Ploughing Contest will pit competitors using conventional and reversible ploughs across stubble terrain on the Saturday and grassland the following day.

But the international competitions are preceded on the Thursday and Friday - on September 8-9 - when the 500-acre plot off the A19, five miles south of York, will first host the British National Ploughing Championships, featuring more than 250 ploughmen and women from across the country.

The national contest is held in a different part of the country each year and this time competitors will be trying to win a place at the 2017 World Ploughing Contest in Kenya.

Young farmers will plough in three different classes, hoping to show they are the champions of the future, and vintage machinery enthusiasts will see the best trailed, hydraulic and classic competitors in the country alongside traditional ‘high cut’ tractor ploughing and classes for Ferguson, Ford and Fordson and David Brown tractors.

The response ahead of four days of competitive ploughing in North Yorkshire has been enthusiast, said Sue Frith, a member of the Society of Ploughmen, the event’s organising body, which hopes to attract plenty of visitors.

Ms Frith said: “Trade stands have been selling fast and we have had to extend the area allocated due to the demand for space. It’s fantastic to see such a variety of exhibitors taking part and supporting this unique event, so there will be plenty to interest all our visitors.”

Trade stands will occupy the heart of the competition site. Agricultural businesses will be represented alongside smaller stalls selling goods such as clothing, footwear, toys, books, equine equipment, tools and pet supplies.

Over all four days, visitors will be able to enjoy a steam cultivation spectacular, organised by the Steam Plough Club which is celebrating its 50th anniversary year.

To tell the story of Britain’s contribution to the mechanisation of agriculture by steam from the 1860s, “the greatest gathering in the history of the steam plough” is promised, with examples of ploughing engines and tackle made by the major manufacturers of the era, from internal combustion derivatives to rare exhibits seldom seen outside of museums.

Working demonstrations will showcase different forms of cable cultivation, including the ‘roundabout system’, plus direct ploughing by steam.

Dick Eastwood, secretary of the Steam Plough Club, said: “We are delighted to be working together with the Society of Ploughmen and the opportunity to present steam cultivation alongside other traditional and modern forms at what will surely be a most memorable event.”

Hobson Farming Limited hosts the event and local competitors include David Chappell from Hatfield, near Doncaster, in the World Ploughing Contest and John Milnes, of Penistone, near Sheffield, in the World Vintage Ploughing competition.