Ploughwoman Suzie wants perfect furrow every time

12 February 1999

Ploughwoman Suzie wants perfect furrow every time

SUZIE Parish loves to plough. So much so, that weekends are often taken up preparing for and competing in ploughing matches.

Her interest and growing skill at this most traditional of field operations has led to increasing success in competitions. A number of good class placings in local and area matches culminated four years ago in Suzies biggest prize so far – a huge trophy and the title British Womens Champion.

"It is always very pleasing to do well," the 25 year old says, modestly.

Living on the familys 40ha (100-acre) sheep farm near Alton, Hampshire, provided the introduction and, on leaving school, Suzies growing affinity with machinery led her to work for her brothers Roberts contracting firm at weekends and evenings, while studying at Sparsholt Agricultural College.

&#42 Skilled at task

Before long, Suzie was ploughing – one of her brothers main services – and, over the next five years, she became skilled and experienced at the task. Competing in matches was a natural next step.

"I used to love watching Robert in competitions, and once I thought I was skilled and confident enough, I decided to have a go," recalls Suzie.

Though effective commercial ploughing takes skill and attention to detail in setting up the plough and monitoring its performance, it is nothing compared with the focus needed for match ploughing when everyone is looking to turn the perfect furrow.

"Its the attention to detail I enjoy; using your knowledge of how the plough works and how it will react to different adjustments, to get the right result first time," says Suzie. "After all, once you start your plot, you dont get a second chance!"

Results have been pretty encouraging, so far – Suzie, a member of Alton was outright winner of the Hampshire County Young Farmers Clubs competition two years in succession and has earned top-five placings in the national YFC championship finals. Last year, she won through to the British National Ploughing Champion-ships for the third time, competing in both YFC and open classes against the top competitors in match ploughing.

&#42 Match plough

Suzies achievements have also produced her first commercial support, in the form of a specially-prepared two-furrow match plough from Vogel & Noot.

"I am very pleased to be able to use this plough because it obviously helps to have a good implement to work with – and, I suppose, it is further recognition of what I have achieved," says Suzie. "The company was clearly not going to risk its reputation with someone who might make a hash of things!"

The Vogel & Noot Euromat 3S "MS" 950 Vario is a scaled-down version of the heavy-duty model in the Austrian manufacturers range.

Despite having only a few days to adapt and get used to her customised plough, Suzie managed a creditable 10th place in the open class against some tough competition at the national championships last autumn, and a pleasing third in the YFC contest.

"I suppose 10th place does seem a long way down – but I still thought I did very well, considering," she laughs.

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