20 September 1996

Ireland hosts the best in world of ploughing

Ireland plays host to the World Ploughing Championships in a fortnights time. Here, James de Havilland profiles Peter Waters, Englands representative in the reversible class

PERFECTIONISM. According to Peter Waters, that is the key to becoming a match-winning ploughman.

A service engineer with Dowdeswell Engineering, Mr Waters speaks with authority. In two weeks he will represent England in the reversible class of the World Ploughing championships to be held in Eire at Carlow (Oct 3 and 4).

He gained his place by winning the British National Ploughing championship last year but the World Championship represents his stiffest challenge yet. So, other than being a perfectionist, what is his recipe for success?

Making time for practice is important, although Lincs-based Mr Waters admits to finding this difficult. Not being a farmer means he has no readily available training ground, hence he relies on the goodwill of local farmers.

Some may say he has an unfair advantage working for a plough company. Not so, says Mr Waters, who, in reality, spends much more of his time wielding spanners in the workshop than demonstrating equipment out in the field.

Now to the hardware, which for Mr Waters comprises a match plough based on a production Dowdeswell 100 Series Delta Furra MA reversible, fitted with YCN bodies.

The key difference between match and production plough is that Mr Waters version has only two furrows and a greater range of adjustment. A commercial plough, for example, will have the furrow width adjustable typically in 1in increments, which reduce to 0.5in steps on a match plough.

Finetuning the plough in this way is all part of the champion ploughmans art, though it can be a mistake to constantly tinker with settings.

"There has been a move to increased used of hydraulic adjustment on match ploughs, but I prefer to keep the bulk of setting mechanical," Mr Waters says.

"Once set, mechanical adjustments will not alter and the temptation to fiddle with settings whilst actually working is removed. A change in condition within a plot, such as a wheeling, can affect how a furrow throws, so adjusting the plough to accommodate that change can lead to the plough being incorrectly set further on. I prefer to set the plough and then leave it alone."

So what other match ploughing tips would Mr Waters pass on?

"The same as I would pass on to anyone ploughing," he says. "Think what youre doing and look at the work youre producing. Doing the job right saves fuel, time and wear and tear in commercial ploughing and also produces the better finish that a match judge looks for."n

Lack of attendance is never a problem at the Irish Ploughing Match. More than 150,000 spectators are expected at the 1996 event from Oct 2-5.

A craftsman at work. Peter Waters and his 2f reversible will represent England at the World Ploughing Match, Co Carlow, in a fortnights time.