Organisers happy with ploughing turnout

by Kent Caddick

Organisers of this year’s ploughing competition near Kirwee are delighted with the spectator turnout to watch the annual event held over the weekend.

The National Ploughing Association event was hosted by the Courtenay Paparua Ploughing Association on Saturday, with the West Melton Young Farmers Club running the competition on Sunday, as well as ensuring all competitors and spectators were well looked after over the weekend.

The two-day event was held on the Seaton family property on Highfield Road near Kirwee. Chair of the Courtenay Paparua Ploughing Association, Jeff Cridge, said they were delighted with how the weekend went.

“Given the time we had to organise everything, and with the national championships held just two weeks prior, we were pleased with the turnout and the quality of the ploughing.

“The West Melton Young Farmers Club did a fantastic job over the weekend, and we had an outstanding turnout of spectators on the Sunday.

Darren Ross of Leeston using his Grandfather’s tractor and plough from 
the late 1930s during the vintage plough competitionPhoto by 
Sara-Jane Ludemann

“We are keen to get some new blood into the sport and have been targeting young farmers to get involved, whether they are members of a club or not.”

West Melton Young Farmers Club chair, Bex Legat, said they were happy with the way things went.

“It went really well, and with the great weather, we had around 300 spectators through the gate on Sunday. We want to keep making the event bigger and bigger every year.”

Ms Legat said they are also keen to get members and other young farmers into competition.

“We need to get younger competitors involved as most competing are in the older age group, with the local Seaton brothers, Ashley and Warwick, who are in their 30s, being the youngest competitors.

Lincoln’s John Stalker took out first place in the vintage plough 
competition on both days Photo by Sara-Jane Ludemann

“We are looking at a competition, which would be a little less technical than the one the experienced competitors compete in to encourage people to give it a go.”

She said they were able to raise just over $250 from donations at the gate, which will go to the National Ploughing Association to help run further competitions, including the world championships in 2028.

“We also had a number of local organisations like Malvern St John who used the event to help raise funds for themselves, and they and the stall holders were pleased with the way the day went.

“We would also like to thank the Seaton family for the use of their land for the competition.” 

Lincoln’s John Stalker was the standout competitor in the vintage class taking out first place on both days of competition.

Local Courtenay competitor, Ashley Seaton, whose family hosted the event, made sure of his qualification to next year’s nationals with a third and a second placing in the Silver Plough competition.

Timaru’s Bob Mehrtens was first in the Silver Plough in the Saturday competition with Ian Woolley of Blenheim taking out first spot on the Sunday.

Dunsandel’s Paul McCartin did the Open Plain Plough double on the weekend taking out first place on both days of competition.


Saturday: Silver Plough: Bob Mehrtens (Timaru) 1; Ian Woolley (Blenheim) 2; Ashley Seaton (Courtenay) 3. Vintage: John Stalker (Lincoln) 1; Robert Weavers (Geraldine) 2; Pearce Watson (Ashburton) 3. Open Plain: Paul McCartin (Dunsandel) 1; Bill Skurr (Oxford) 2; Hamish George (Templeton) 3. Sunday: Silver Plough: Ian Woolley 1; Ashley Seaton 2; Bob Mehrtens 3. Vintage: John Stalker 1; Pearce Watson 2; Robert Weavers 3. Open Plain: Paul McCartin 1; Al Parham 2; Bill Skurr 3.