Ploughmen gather for 72nd match in Market Deeping
Celebrating its 72nd year, the Deeping Ploughing Match was held at the weekend in Langtoft Fen, Market Deeping.
Organised by the Deeping and District Agricultural Association, the annual event was started in 1947 and this year saw 94 entrants compete across nine classes.
The long standing rural competition is a demonstration of traditional and modern methods of agriculture by ploughmen from across the country.
Deeping and District Agricultural Association secretary Philip Garford said teams of horses and tractors ploughed the land in competition format and were judged on 20 different points that included how straight, even and firm the furrows are.
“The ploughmen were out early and got started at 9am on a cold but dry Saturday morning,” said Philip.
“We had 94 entrants across the nine classes which included everything from horse drawn ploughs to the very latest equipment being used in modern agriculture today.”
While the majority of entrants are local, some come from as far a field as Wales and the West Country to compete for the prestige that goes along with winning their class.
“We had three teams of horses in the horse drawn plough category, which is a spectator favourite, while the majority of entrants competed in the vintage tractor and plough pre 1960 combination class,” said Philip.
“There is also a class for demonstration equipment which shows off the most up to date machinery being used in farming today.
“The plots that are ploughed in this class are about 20 times the size of the plots in the horse drawn plough class.”
Philip said the event was started in 1947 by a group of local farmers and equipment dating from that period was still used in matches today.
“There is not a lot of prize money but rather it is the prestige of winning the class,” said Philip.
“Entrants are generally farm hands, tractor drivers or retired vintage tractor enthusiasts.
“It takes a lot of skill and experience to know all the tricks to counter the different conditions although modern farming equipment has made the job a lot easier. “