Thanks to our contributors for their stories. 
Written by Michael Lethbridge
In the late 1940's and early 1950's many Victorian farms still used horses. Those with tractors had, in the main, drawbar machines.  They were heavy machines and heavy to drive. 
In horticulture there were Farmall A's, AV's, Allis Chalmers C's to name a few. Among the smaller farms, Fordson E27N and IHC W4's were popular, on large and broad acre properties, Case, Chamberlain, Massey Harris, IHC WD9, Twin City, John Deere and single cylinder makes such as Field Marshall, KL Bulldog and Lanz were to be found.
Post war, the Ferguson arrived and later the David Brown (1948). The problem was to convince farmers that these smaller machines could do the work of the larger, more powerful and heavier tractors. Those farmers using horses were delighted to receive the news that they could replace their horses on the flat ground, but on rolling and hilly country they were not convinced.
The solution was to demonstrate to farmers that the lighter linkage tractors were more efficient, easier to handle and could work steeper ground.  BFE (Ferguson) and Emptor (David Brown) each developed a travelling "circus"- tractors with trailers attached, loaded with implements, which literally took to the road and travelled the state.
The David Brown circus selected various Dealer locations, where the Dealer would invite farmers in the district to come and see the tractors working in the paddock and to drive them. Day 1 would be travel, day 2 set up and prepare, day 3, demonstration. We did two of these each week until Victoria was covered.  In a later promotion, a "demo unit" was left with a selected and approved Dealer for a week.
 Young Farmer's achievement days were usually attended with a demo unit. In the early 1950's we were invited to a YFC day at Hughes Creek, south of Nagambie. District Manager Max Higgs was keen to attend and our two demo units (DB 25c, trailer and implements) were in the yard at Notting Hill (now Deakin University).
We decided to drive one unit each from Notting Hill to Hughes Creek, leaving at early daybreak arriving late morning. The Ferguson crew were already there and we all had a successful day. Mid afternoon, Max and I climbed aboard and headed back to Notting Hill. By the time we reached Coburg, daylight was fading and we had to abandon the units in a back street and take a taxi home. Such was life in the tractor business!
The result of these promotions was approval and acceptance by the farming community of Ferguson and David Brown, the former doing an excellent promotion of "The Ferguson System". In the mid 1950's David Brown field people frequently heard the comment "but you haven't got the Ferguson system" or "but you still have to use a depth wheel."
I recall the popular and well told story of two farmers arguing in a Geelong pub, the relative merits of a Cropmaster and IHC W4 resulting in a challenge. The venue chosen, the two tractors back to back, a short chain attached between them, the signal given, the Cropmaster hydraulics were raised just enough for the W4 to lose traction and be pulled around the yard!
In 1957 the Hon TW Mitchell MLA had obtained the World Ploughing Organisation ploughing rules and judging sheets. He floated the idea that ploughing contests would be an excellent "achievement day" exercise for the Young Farmer Movement.
Mitchell also encouraged the Corryong YFC club to have a ploughing contest at Colac  to "try out these rules". Mitchell invited Emptor amongst others to muster the troops, bring tractors and ploughs and compete, which we did.
The day was the first contest of the modern era with linkage tractors and mainly two furrow ploughs. By 1958 many Young Farmer Clubs throughout Victoria held eliminations in preparation for the Victorian and National Contests, the winner of the latter representing Australia at the forthcoming World contest in Germany.
The winner was Bill Fraser on a David Brown 25D using a David Brown BE series plough. Second was Len Clark on a David Brown 900D also with a David Brown BE series plough. We at Emptor saw this success as a means of proving to the market that the David Brown linkage system with depth controlled by a land wheel was more efficient and worked better than our main competitor, the Ferguson system with ADC.
In the first five years (1958-1962 incl.) of National contests, David Brown Tractors and ploughs filled 60% of the first four placings, in the first ten years of National contests, David Brown filled 58% of the first four placings.
I recall sharing a beer with a BFE manager and the late Alex Morrison after a contest (which he won) at Gilliondale (Yarram) when the Fergie fellow offered the comment "we cannot win against the DB system, without a land wheel"! I thought our decision to support competitive ploughing had been vindicated.
For those not familiar with the David Brown three point linkage, the following may be of interest. To explain the geometry. Imagine using a ground engaging implement such as a mouldboard plough. The geometry is the same for any cultivating implement.
The fundamental design works on two triangles. The bottom links form the sides on the horizontal triangle, the base being at the implement hitch points, the apex at the front axle trunion. The bottom links following a an imaginary line from implement to the through to the front trunion. This enables the implement to follow the nose of the tractor and allows the tractor to steer correctly. This is "converging linkage".
An interesting historical fact is that the earlier Cropmasters, 25 and 30 series were delivered with the bottom links on the outside of the hitch points, that is "parallel linkage". On delivery to the farmer, during the start up service the dealer was advised to attach the lower links to the inside of the hitch points in the "converging linkage" configuration. This procedure was adopted to avoid infringing Harry Ferguson's patent on converging linkage.
A vertical triangle is formed by the top link. The top link should be at such an angle so as to trace an imaginary line from implement hitch point to front axle trunion. The bottom links, in work should be parallel to the ground and form the bottom side of the vertical triangle. The top link implement end hitch point should always be higher than where the top link attaches to the tractor by two or three inches. This enables the implement to float behind the tractor, its draft pulling it deeper, the land wheel limiting the depth.  
Until the Selectamatic range, (1962 in Aust.) David Brown tractors all had a "rolling top link". This was designed to stop the implement lifting out of the ground when the nose of the tractor fell.  When the nose of the tractor dropped, the lower links would drop a little, the top link tractor end hitch point was caused to roll back towards the implement, in effect, lengthening the top link. Conversely, when the nose rises the opposite action occurs. The implement remains at the same depth unaffected by the rise and fall of the front of the tractor.
David Brown have always believed that a correctly set implement, floating behind the tractor, depth controlled by a land wheel has always been the best method of attaching an implement to a tractor. The operation of the plough/cultivator is not affected by changes in soil density as with the Ferguson ADC.
Years ago, I saw the late Jim Else do a winning plot near Kyabram. He was using  a his own Ferguson tractor and plough. There was a sheep track diagonally across the plot. When shallowing off for the finish he hit the sheep track, the draft control reacted, lifted the plough just enough to break away. A winning plot relegated to a minor placing.
Today competitive ploughing rigs have a mass of hydraulic controls and a variety of depth wheels, but the plough is "floating" and the depth is controlled by a depth wheel! 

      Upon leaving Colac High School in 1957 I came home to work on the family dairy farm. My father had been farming in partnership with his brother on a 450 acre dairy farm  (large for those days) and the decision was made to divide the farm and each family operate their own farm.
       A new dairy and sheds were built on our half of the farm. A new David Brown 25D tractor and a 3 furrow BE David Brown mouldboard plough were purchased ; we were up and away.
       In the ensuing years several other David Brown tractors were purchased ; a second hand  950A  livedrive, 1967  770 Selectamatic , 1972  990/1  Selectamatic, and  a second hand  1976  885/1 Selectamatic, also a David Brown Hurricane Forage Harvester. We have since purchased several Case and  Fendt  tractors.
       In later years  I have collected several David Brown tractors, ploughs  and machinery  which is waiting patiently to be restored.
Tractors:                                                                                                                           Ploughs
1948  VAK 1c (magneto, no electrics, crank handle start, round front).    1948-50  PU series 2 furrow plough                                                                                
1949    VAK  1c (magneto , 6volt electrics.genuine  DB  2door cabin.)        1950-55    A  series  2 furrow  plough
1950  VAK  1c   (magneto,6volt  electrics,  double seat, square front.)       1950-55    A  series  single furrow pl  
1955  30C          (restored , used in vintage ploughing contests.)                                    (deep digger body)
1953   25               (parts only  )                                                                           1955-60 BE  series    2 furrow  plough
1956   25D            (parts  only)                                                                            1955-60  BE  series 2 furrow match pl
1957   900D          (restored,  used in tractor trek.)                                         1960-65   C  series  2 furrow match pl
1963   850  Implematic   (in process of restoration.)                                    1960-65   C  series   2 furrow  reversible
1963   880  Implematic    ( part restored, used in ploughing contests.)                        (deep digger bodies)
1967   1200  Selectamatic  ( approx.  1600 genuine hours, good order.)
1967   880A  Selectamatic  ( parts only, 12 speed gearbox.)
1982   885/1 Selectamatic (farm tractor, used in ploughing contests.)
Machinery    David Brown Albion small square baler   ( good order.)
                       David Brown Hurricane forage harvester. ( poor order.)
                       David Brown  Albion  3 disc, disc plough. ( good order.) 
 My introduction to competitive mouldboard ploughing was encouraged by  Ed Cole  (DB Club Member)from whom we had purchased the new  DB 25D  and  BE plough.  In  May 1962 my first contest was at Nalangil, just around the corner from home, an elimination match to qualify for the Victorian final at Shepparton.
A crash course in the art of competitive ploughing by a certain Mr Michael Lethbridge (DB Club Patron), at that time Emptor sales manager ,brought us up to speed with some of the finer details of setting a plough.The conditions were very dry and hard and I really believe it was a matter of who lined up the clods the best.   I   managed to win this contest and we were on our way to Shepparton and the state final.
As they say the rest is history, ploughing competitively on and off for many years with mixed success including some state and national titles. However the real high point was representing Australia at two world contests ; Norway  in 1989 and Northern Ireland in 1991. These days my competitive ploughing is restricted to local Vintage contests   (old tractors , old ploughs and old drivers,)
David Brown right from the start placed an emphasis on tractors and matching mouldboard ploughs; as a replacement for the horse and plough previously used.
In Australia David Brown supported state and national ploughing contests by providing new DB tractors for the use of competitors who required them. At times there were up to 20-25 tractors supplied. This I feel was due mainly to the enthusiasm and interest of Michael Lethbridge whilst employed at David Brown Tractors.
Socially,  ploughing contests are great ,locally and overeas, and I have made many  friendships over 50 years. A number are members of the DB Club.
To be eligible to plough in the Victorian State Final you had to be placed 1st in a local elimination match. These matches were organised by local SeniorYoung Farmer Clubs.
The first seven placegetters in the Victorian State Final go forward  to compete against seven ploughmen from Tasmania plus seven from NSW at the National Final.
The winner of the National Final goes  on to represent Australia at a World Contest.  World Ploughing Contests are held every year in a different country, predominately European . Australia has hosted two world contests : Longford ,  Tasmania  1982,  and Deakin University, Geelong ,  Victoria  1997.  Due to lack of numbers in recent years contestants may enter directly into state finals however by world rules a National final must be held.  
 A  sign of the times. 

At the outset I wish to point out that mouldboard ploughing is best suited to the deeper topsoil and higher rainfall areas.
Mouldboard  ploughing contests have evolved as a means to hone the skills required to set and adjust a mouldboard plough. Originating with humans, oxen and horses pulling hand controlled ploughs these contests have graduated to the modern equivalent comprising of tractors pulling two furrow ploughs complete with hydraulics etc.
During a ploughing contest ploughmen are not competing against each other, but with the soil, endeavouring to get the best possible result with different soil types that may even vary in a competition plot.  The winner is the ploughman who does the best overall job taking all aspects into  account.
An individual ploughing contest plot is 100 metres long and 20 metres wide. The plots are arranged side by side so that when the ploughing is finished a continuous area of land has been ploughed. A total of three hours is allowed to complete the plot. A ploughman does not gain points for finishing early but does lose points, on a sliding scale, for going overtime.

Each contestant starts at a 20 metre peg and turns a small single furrow out, one up and one back finishing back at the starting scratch. As this opening split will be covered by the crown the ploughing stops while this aspect is judged. When ploughing restarts this split is turned back in and a crown consisting of four rounds (16 furrows) is formed. The reason the soil is turned out then back again is to ensure all grass roots are cut through as good weed control is a major point earner. Uniformity, neatness and straightness also come into account.   

       Upon  completing the crown each contestant turns to the right and commences to fill in the unploughed area between his and his neighbours crown Extra time on is allowed to contestants who have to wait for their neighbour to finish their crown rounds.
This section is judged as general work under four headings; taking into account weed control, closeness, firmness and uniformity of furrow slices, straightness and amount of soil made available for a seedbed.

The skill of a ploughman is tested most coming in to the finishing furrow. A ploughman must keep measuring the width of unploughed ground, at regular intervals, to make adjustments to accurately have a straight single strip of unploughed ground, one furrow wide, to turn over as the sole or finishing furrow. 
Once again this finishing furrow is judged for neatness, weed control, uniformity, straightness and conformity  with the rest of the ploughed plot. 
Ins and outs (starting and finishing on the scratch line) are judged for neatness as a separate item. 
General overall appearance is judged separately, at the finish, taking into account all aspects of the ploughed plot and how they all fit together, clearly defined and no pairing of furrows, good weed control, etc, with no glaring mistakes.
Straightness is judged four separate times (opening split, crown, general work and finish.)

Total of 10 points. ( 2.5 points each aspect.    Judged out of 25 then put in decimal point.)

Possible  total  score   120  points.        Penalities  apply

1.  Going over time.           
2. Last 2 furrows must be turned towards contestants own crown.
3. More than one tractor wheel mark in finish.         
4. Depth.  ( Deeper or shallower than set depth.)

 I hope this brief explanation gives everyone a picture of how competitive mouldboard ploughing is judged. A certain amount of experience is required to do the job and as  in most sports judges are usually former competitors.        

                     Hugh RICHES, Colac VIC         DB  Club Member.

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