Wednesday, 25 January 2012 15:26

Ploughing niche for dairyshed man

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FOR SOMEONE who has not done a lot of competitive ploughing, Colin Millar, of Rotorua (formerly of Reporoa), has come to the fore in this farming 'sport'.

He was elected president of the New Zealand Ploughing Association in 2001, and in 2011 was elected junior vice president of the World Ploughing Organisation (WPO).

"I first joined the Reporoa-Rotorua Ploughing Association in 1976 and was president 1992-2007. I became involved with the organisation and my interest has grown."

Millar left school aged 16 and took the farm cadet path, then drove tractors for local contractors, went contract milking, then 50:50 milking, and finally bought a farm in Reporoa.

In 1982 he bought a local engineering business designing and building mobile yard gates for rectangular yards – especially suitable for the region's growing herd sizes. These gates are now made under licence in South Africa, England and Australia. At least 600 are installed in dairy sheds in New Zealand.

Since 1993 the business has built complete dairy sheds, from small herringbones to 80-bail rotaries, installed in UK, Denmark and the US.

Millar now retains a minority interest in the business.

He has officially been a ploughing judge since 1985, attending his first world event in Canada in 2003. In 2005 he coached the New Zealand team at the World Championships in the Czech Republic.

Because of the complexities of travel the WPO plans championship events well ahead. The world championships were held here last year and New Zealand will next host the event in 2025.

This year he is representing the New Zealand executive on the committee under the chairmanship of John Guy, (picture right), organising the 2012 ploughing championship finals to be held near Cambridge on April 14 and 15.

"The event starts with a church service on April 10, then drawing of plots and practice can commence," says Millar

The open championships final for conventional ploughs (16 entries) will be sponsored by Case IH. The reversible plough section (6 entries) is sponsored by CRT Fuel, the vintage section (7 entries) by Mainland Minerals and the horse-drawn ploughs (5 entries) by Rural News Group. Results will be collected at the conclusion on the Sunday afternoon, then collated. The winners of the various sections will be announced on the Sunday evening at a formal dinner in Cambridge.

The winner's prize in the conventional and reversible plough sections includes a travel package to represent New Zealand at the next world championships in Canada.

"As part of the competition we also make available tractors and ploughs for anyone who might be interested to test their skills."

The public are invited to attend. Entry costs $10 per person aged over 12.


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