A time-honored practice of plowing the soil still has its place in agricultural practices today and achieving the elusive perfect furrow continues to challenge plowmen and women in competition. Guidelines for competition plowing at the Hastings County Farm Show and Plowing Match follow the Ontario Plowmen's Association (OPA) International Plowing Rules.
Competitors are judged or scored in five different areas, including the opening split, the crown and the finish. And covering any green matter is mandatory in all classes, whether it is plowing in grain stubble or sod. And this applies to all categories of plowing; tractor, antique tractor or horse plowing.
In tractor plowing, competitors generally use a competition plow to achieve consistent furrows. These plows are equipped with a number of extra features that enable the competitor to make necessary adjustments.
Competitors in the antique tractor classes are expected to use plows manufactured during the same time period. Similarly, walking plows and sulky plows would be used in the horse plowing classes.
Most lands or plowing areas measure 50ft by 200ft, although this may vary depending on the space available for the number of competitors. Every competitor can plow both days of the show and use their best score during the competition. And competitors must compete at the county level and qualify if they are going to compete at the International Plowing Match (IPM) in September. Several additional classes are available to competitors, such as Queen of the Furrow, junior, elected officials and media classes, as well as the 4-H competition.
Up to 10 young people between the ages of 10 and 21 years old are expected to be involved in the Hastings County 4H Plowing Club this year, meeting six times during the summer to learn plowing techniques, as well as tractor safety. A coaching day is planned for July with an IPM judge, who will teach the members what's to be expected when plowing for competition. The 4-H plowing club members' competition at the plowing match is their achievement day, applying what they have learned to do, by doing.
Classes 1. General Purpose (Tractor) No Handling (Utility) - Open to those who are 12 years of age, but have not reached their 16th birthday by November 1st of this year and who have plowed at a plowing match.
2. General Purpose (Tractor) No Handling (Utility) - Open to those who are 12 years of age, but have not reached their 16th birthday by November 1st of this year and who have not plowed at a plowing match.
3. General Purpose (Tractor) No Handling (Utility) - Open to those who are 16 years of age, but have not reached their 21st birthday by November 1st of this year and who have plowed at a plowing match.
4. General Purpose (Tractor) No Handling (Utility) - Open to those who are 16 years of age, but have not reached their 21st birthday by November 1st of this year and who have not plowed at a plowing match.
5. General Purpose (Tractor) No Handling (Utility) - For those who are not eligible in classes 1 to 4.
6. Queen of the Furrow - Open to ladies who are 15 years of age, but have not reached their 24th birthday by January 1st of next year and are residents of Hastings County. Special designated land to be used. To start at 1:00 p.m. In addition to plowing, contestants will be interviewed by a committee of three.
7. Special Classes - For county mayors and reeves and elected officials. To start at 2:00 p.m. Special designated land to be used.
8. Special Media Class - Open to all members of the media. Takes place first day of the show at 11:00 a.m. Plows and tractors are provided.
9. Junior Class for semi-mounted plows - For members under 18 years of age. Rules decided at match by directors and according to entries. Opening split required.
10. Class for semi-mounted plows - For members over 18 years of age. Rules decided at match by directors and according to entries. Opening split required.
11. Class for tractors and trail type plows under 50 h.p.
12. Class for Antique tractors with antique mounted plows.
13. Walking Plows & Sulky Plows - Plowers in these classes must start and finish land to qualify for prizes.
14. Mounted Field Plow Class - Open split required. Land must be properly finished.
15. Women's Class - Plowers in this class must start and finish land to qualify for prizes.
Rules & Regulations
1. O.P.A. International Plowing Rules.
2. Plows must be mounted for Tractor Classes 1 to 5.
3. Average depth of the furrows shall not be less than 6 inches.
4. All entries for the day must be made by 10:00 a.m. Registration to take place in the field.
5. All tractors and plows must be set up prior to arriving at the match.
6. Lands to be drawn at 10:30 a.m.
7. Committee reserves the right to adjust Classes according to the entries received.
8. A tractor and plow will be available for contestants in Classes 6 and 7.
9. Classes must start at time called or competitor is disqualified. Every land must be started with an opening split and must be checked immediately by the judge before continuing to plow the land.
10. Each contestant must have at least two million dollars liability insurance coverage.
11. Only Hastings County residents are eligible to receive Special Trophies listed. Other awards in all classes eligible to everyone.
12. Time limits for plowing will be enforced. Maximum time of 3 hours.
13. Class cash prizes paid only if land completed.
Awards - Cash Prizes
All Classes: $100, $90, $75, $65, $55, $45 to remainder Best combined points for two days in each class is declared champion, and awarded an extra $50. Must plow both days to be eligible.