Virtual ploughing match aims to fill void in farming calendar

A virtual online ploughing match has been organised following the cancellation of traditional farm c

A virtual online ploughing match has been organised following the cancellation of traditional farm competitions during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: David Mitchell / iWitness24 - Credit: citizenside.com

A “virtual” ploughing match has been organised so farm machinery enthusiasts can demonstrate their skills during the coronavirus pandemic.

Four Norfolk ploughing judges have organised the online event so that ploughmen and women can compete against each other during a season in which all traditional matches have been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

Competitors will plough a plot of their own choice during the weekend of October 9-11, and send photographs of their efforts to the judges for evaluation and scoring before virtual prizes are awarded to the winners in each class.

Duncan Russell is one of the four judges, along with Michael Garrod, Michael Curtis and Paul Watson. He said: “We usually judge at 10-12 matches per season, but this year Covid-19 has caused organisers to cancel all the matches.

“This has left ploughmen little chance to practice and perfect their skills. So we thought: why not devise a set of rules that will allow ploughmen to compete with others?”

Competitors will be asked to submit photos showing their plot at various stages, to demonstrate all the skills usually judged in person at traditional ploughing matches. The competition will include the usual classes – vintage mounted, trailed, classic, Ferguson and horticultural.

READ MORE: Royal Norfolk Show team faces ‘long road to recovery’ after coronavirus cancellationsMr Russell said although the event was intended to be fun, it would be judged seriously.

“We are taking the ploughing on trust, expecting the competitor to actually plough the plot, we require a picture of the tractor and plough to ensure they are in the correct class,” he said. “It should be a bit of fun but taken seriously.”

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The event is free to enter. The closing date for entries is October 8, when a full set of rules and photo requirements will be given to participants. Results will be emailed to competitors and published on social media early the following week.

• For more details or to enter the competition, contact norfolk.ploughing@gmail.com.