Ploughing Matches

What is Ploughing?

Ploughing is a process where, if done correctly, the topsoil is turned-over, weeds are buried, and fresh topsoil is exposed for the planting of new crops. It is not simply the action of placing machine in the ground and driving; exceptional skill and experience is required to set the plough correctly to deliver the desired result.

What is a ploughing match?

A ploughing match is a competition to determine who of those present, is the best at ploughing. The Isle of Wight Ploughing Association is just one a a few hundred similar associations throughout the country, and just one of many thousands around the world.

Why do we have a ploughing match?

Ploughing matches are a tradition of the agricultural calender spanning back to the nineteenth century. In former times, they were a means to prove your skill against other farm workers, and could mean a better job in the Autumn! These days, the winner earns the right to represent the Isle of Wight at the national ploughing championships. The winner of this goes on to represent Great Britain at the World Ploughing Championships.

So do the big, modern machines have an advantage?

Not at all. There is a lot more to ploughing than the size of the plough or the power of the tractor. A fundamental requirement of ploughing is for the plough to be adjusted to suit different soil conditions, and many of the smaller – especially the vintage – ploughs, are exceptionally good in this respect. The judges will be marking each type of ploughing in the same way.

What do the judges look for?

There are a number of attributes on which the ploughing from each competitor will be judged, and these are all based on what would be required in a purely agricultural sense. Marks are awarded for the uniformity of each furrow to the next, how well the soil has been prepared for subsequent operations, and how neat the edges are, to name three areas. For a downloadable guide, click on the information tab, where you will find a handy guide to print and take with you to the match.