The 61st WPC will gather the best ploughmen on earth. They are the winners of their own National Championship and will now compete in Saint Jean D’illac, near Bordeaux. After some rain, the weather conditions should finally be sunny and warm.
When 32 nations meet in an European country, representing home lands as far as New Zealand, Canada, USA, Kenya, South Africa, it actually shows that the interest in ploughing is international!
This championship has a wider scope than “just” ploughing. Let us hear the mission behind the event and the comments from Odd Braut, ex competitor from Norway, interviewed 10 days before the final contest.
The World Ploughing Organization, running the event, has a clear main objective : "To foster and preserve the art and improve the skill of ploughing the land" culminating in the holding of an annual World Ploughing Contest which is hosted by a different country every year.
Odd Braut, Norwegian, 45 years old participated as many as 7 times in the World Ploughing Championship. In 1995, he also got the Silver medal in the reversible plough category in Kenya with a Kverneland EG model, 2 furrows. In 1997, he decided to join Kverneland, as a technical support Manager at the Kverneland plough factory based in SW. Norway where he now works as Team Leader R&D Design.
When he is asked, why participating in the WPC, sparkles in the eyes, large smile, one already feels that good memories are just popping up again.
Odd: “It is about a sane spirit. To compete, to take the challenge of making the perfect ploughed field. Straight and equal furrows. It is also about Art. It needs to be esthetically nice to look at. Then comes a certain pride”. He smiles again.
But not every nation is equal as far as training. If in the UK, for example, the ploughing season is long and one can participate in around 25 competitions; in Norway ploughing is a challenge. A ploughman can only attend 3 competitions during the year while also facing a short ploughing season. A lot of practice must be done alone. Ploughmen are hence self propelled to be ready for the WPC.” (See rules)
Why are there so many Kverneland ploughs at finals of the each WPC for years?
Odd: “The Kverneland ploughs bring the best ploughing results. Everyone knows it. Therefore, we have the biggest chance to win. The Kverneland ploughs are developed to work in any soil conditions. Other manufacturers have been trying to develop their own competition plough but with a limited success. Even with a standard Kverneland plough, a farmer can win the contest. This is not the case with other brands”.
“The competitors, quite often, already use a Kverneland plough on their farm. So they trust it.”
How can a competition like the WPC be still popular after so many years?
Odd: “It is about sport and being competition driven. You prepare yourselves for the next competition. At the same time, it is about Art. More and more components are customized by the competitors which is a nice hobby. Over the years, the level of the competitors has gone up a lot. It is more and more challenging. We like it.”
“It has also to do with the spirit of the participants. The atmosphere is friendly. We meet among farmers, ploughmen of course, sharing the same values, searching for perfection. We make contacts. Quite often, after the competition, we exchange on FaceBook and decide to visit each other. It is not rare to meet with New Zealander or Australian competitors.
Another reason for keeping the popularity of the contest is the fact that this is a fair competition. We all get the same Kverneland plough from the factory. There is no favoritism. That makes Kverneland popular as well.
What does a plough represent for a farmer?
Odd:“It is start of everything. The soil preparation is essential. If it is well done, then you can expect a good yield. The plough is the monument at the farm. You are eager to keep it in good shape. It is an important tool!”
Author: Manuel Fleurot, Marketing Manager, BA Plough & Equipments
1st September 2014