There was no fuss when it was time to plough – a red flag came down and a green one was raised.
With that, little tractors sputtered into life, and in a far corner of a Wakanui paddock, there was a rustle of straps and chains as John Chynoweth and Sharon Chambers, of Oamaru, prepared horses Flash and Blue to pull a single-furrow plough.
Mr Chynoweth manages the plough, Chambers the horses. Theirs was the only horse entry at Wakanui, though eight teams were at work at Hinds a week earlier (there was a Clydesdale conference on this past weekend).
At precisely 10.30, in perfect conditions, the annual Wakanui ploughing event organised by the Mid Canterbury Machinery Club at Wakanui was under way.
Former Greenpark farmer John Stalker, now of Lincoln, was first away in the opening split, creating an arrow-straight line. He has represented New Zealand in vintage ploughing.
The ploughmen use removable marker poles as sight lines.
There were vintage, Silver Plough, open and horse events at Wakanui, and more qualifying rounds will be held at Methven and Rakaia this weekend and next.
Results: Silver Plough, W Clayton, Australia, 1, S Reed also qualifies, vintage qualifying, G Carter 1, R Weavers 2, J Stalker and C Boon 3 equal; vintage open, D Hight 1, C Begg 2, G Corbett 3; horses, J Chynoweth and S Chambers 1; trophies, annual ploughing cup D Hight, encouragement trophy G Corbett, R Langdon Trophy M Millar, Neil Begg Memorial Trophy G Carter, MCVMC Trophy N Ross.