WKPMA
Weald of Kent Ploughing Match
Weald of Kent Ploughing Match

The Ploughing Match

Ploughing is the probably one of the most familiar of all of the countryside activities. Tilling the soil and preparing the land for a new growing year has been the subject of art and literature as well as the cause for celebration and thanksgiving for as long as anyone can remember.

The object of ploughing is to turn the top surface of the soil and bury surface plant growth and rubbish underneath where it will decompose. The depth of ploughing depends on the condition of the soil and whether the crop that will next occupy the land is deep or shallow rooting.

Ploughing is carried out as early as possible in the autumn so that, especially on the heavier soils, the winter frosts will bestow its beneficial effects as long as possible, but it is impossible to work during hard frost and undesirable in prolonged wet weather and so often continues into the spring.

Ploughing is an ancient craft and the ability to plough a straight furrow is highly prized. There has always been strong competition among those who plough to be considered the best in their field and some of the ploughing match societies in Britain are a century old. The W.K.P.M.A itself celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2006.

Exactness is of the essence and every blade of grass and stubble on the plot must be buried within a specified time limit, furrows must be identical, smooth and free from holes and straightness is paramount. Each aspect of the competition attracts points, and after a set area of ground has been completed, the cant is judged and the Champion for the year is settled.

Ploughing is never as easy at it looks, a good eye and plenty of hands on experience produces dividends when it comes to competition work. Many prospective ploughmen have stood in abject wonder whilst watching a true master at work, then gone home convinced that they now know "how it's done", only to find that somehow, concentrated observation of their mentors skills simply isn't enough and the flawless work studied earlier cannot be duplicated quite so easily!

Agriculture is at its mechanized peak as we advance into the 21st century, but skill is something that cannot be mechanically replicated. Never is this more obvious when one watches a true master ploughman at work.

The W.K.P.M.A considers the art of ploughing to be highly important and a tradition to be actively encouraged through competition if it is to survive. Who knows, maybe one day, the National Ploughing Champion will originate from Kent

In these days of quality control & trace-ability, it's most important that the start of production is right and it all starts with the plough!

Scoring

Conventional Ploughs

Opening Well cut, uniform and straight 20
Start (11 or 12 furrows) Uniform, level and straightness 20
Seed Bed Weed Control and soil made available 20
Firmness Firm, well packed furrows, no holes 20
Uniformity Clearly defined uniform furrows, straightness and no pairing of furrows 20
Finish Uniform, shallow and straightness 20
Ins and Outs Neat, Accurate and Regular 20
General Appearance Workmanship and general appearance of the whole plot 20

Reversible Ploughs

Opening Well cut, uniform and straight 20
Start (8 or 9 furrows) Uniform, level and straightness 20
Seed Bed Weed Control and soil made available 20
Firmness Firm, well packed furrows, no holes 20
Uniformity Clearly defined uniform furrows, straightness, and no pairing of furrows 20
Joining Furrow & Butts (Class 6 only) Neat, accurate with no dips or mounds 20
Finish (last 15 or 16 furrows) Uniform, shallow and straightness 20
Accuracy or final Furrow Close to first furrow with no un-ploughed or re-ploughed land 20
Ins and Outs Neat, accurate and regular 20
General Appearance Workmanship and general appearance of the whole plot 20

Note: Seedbed, firmness and uniformity cover the whole of the plot, ie start furrows, butts and final 15 or 16 furrows.

Penalty Deductions

Two wheel marks 20 points penalty
Finish wrong way 20 points penalty
Depth infringement 15 points penalty
Rolling 25 points penalty
Failure to adhere to the Safety Policy Disqualification

Any other penalty deduction will be decided by the Chief Ploughing Stewards

BTF