They've been holding ploughing matches in Takapau for more than a century and this year, wet weather was no deterrent.

Event organiser Campbell Agnew said there were four classes of competition: the Silver Plough class which was part of a national competition, two vintage classes and a horse class.

"From the spectating point of view, they love watching the horses," he said.

The stop-start nature of ploughing by horse was one of the reasons tractors were a boon to farmers.


He said ploughing is a challenge.

"You are dealing with the skill of the machine and the ground conditions. If you get that right you can take some pleasure, and some disappointment if you get it wrong."

Teamster Kylie Northcott drove two Clydesdales.

She said ploughing was good fun but on a bad day "can be as frustrating as anything".

Primarily precision ploughing was a challenge "to get your horses going, to get your plough set up right, so that it is turning and nice furrow".

"You have got stages of the day that you are judged on. You have your opening split and you have your crown - they are all separate moves for which you're judged. Then you get your overall points for appearance and things like that.

"We are happy - our crown wasn't so flash this morning but we've come back not too bad from that."

Rongotea dairy farmer Ian Cocker crossed the ranges to plough with his 60-year-old John Deere tractor. He said quality ploughing was important to farming.


"It turns over all the weeds and incorporates them back into the soil," he said.

"The better the ploughing the less working-up required whereas if you have ploughing with grass still showing it takes a lot more work to work that up."

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