Farmers go ahead with annual ploughing match at Kennels Farm, Sandford, near Ringwood
HEAVY rain and the fuel crisis could not dampen the spirits of local farmers and agricultural workers who went head to head in the New Forest’s traditional ploughing match at Ringwood on Saturday.
The 59th annual competition at Kennels Farm at Sandford, near Ringwood, attracted 33 entries in various classes including conventional, reversible and vintage machinery.
It was organised by Lymington Growmore Club, South Avon and Stour Agricultural Society and the young farmers’ clubs of Brockenhurst, Avon and Beaulieu.
This year’s featured demonstration ploughing classes as well as competitions.
Ground conditions were good within the grassy site, having had been dampened by long-awaited rain. However, very heavy rain on the day made the going tough.
Joint ploughing match secretary Tania Niccolls said: “This year was a challenging year due to Covid restrictions, along with issues of a fuel crisis.
“This led to us receiving about half the number of entries we would normally receive. The tractors ranged from large, modern-day tractors with reversible ploughs to 80-year-old vintage tractors and trailer ploughs.”
Competition classes saw experienced ploughers compete against a new generation of younger farmers, with a high calibre of entrants.
The club classes included members of the Lymington Growmore Club and South Avon and Stour Agricultural Society, who battled it out for the champion of the day.
Tania added: “We had lots of support including entries from residents of the Isle of Wight, which they had the added challenge of getting their tractors to and from the match via a ferry journey.
“This is an amazing, age-old, traditional agricultural event that brings the community together. No competitors gave up, they kept going despite the conditions getting stickier and wetter as the day went on.”
The overall Lymington Growmore Club Champion of the day was Peter Niccolls of Brockenhurst, who has been ploughing since he was a Beaulieu young farmer.
Brian Perrett of Wimborne was awarded the South Avon and Stour Agricultural Society Champion of the day. Reserve champion of the Lymington Growmore Club was awarded to Tom House and the South Avon and Stour Agricultural Society reserve champion was Stuart Slocombe.Tania added: “Our 2019 match raised £500 for the Winward foundation. This year we were raising money for a local charity to be confirmed by our host.”