A new virtual ploughing contest has been launched.

VPlough will be an online ploughing contest to enable ploughing enthusiasts old and young, with vintage to modern machinery, to demonstrate their skills.

It works by competitors ploughing a piece of land near where they live and having their efforts photographed or videoed.

If entrants already have media from the 2019 season, these can also be submitted.

A panel of experienced ploughing match judges will view the results and award prizes across a range of classes.

VPlough was created by Grapevine Events Ltd director Karen Wheeler, from Kent, who has been a ploughing contest enthusiast since her childhood.

With Covid-19 resulting in ploughing matches being cancelled, Karen and her fellow directors, also ploughing enthusiasts, came up with the idea of a virtual event to keep ploughing contests going – while raising money for all 23 UK and Ireland air ambulance charities.

VPlough is supported by the Society of Ploughmen.

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The VPlough website vplough.co.uk is accepting entries, which will be judged and made available for public viewing on September 26.

Entrants have a choice of 28 classes to choose from including ploughing, machinery and heavy horse showing.

There is also a Steam Rally field which brings together a myriad of photographs and videos from across the country.

Karen said: “Ploughing is part of our farming heritage and a rare chance for farmers to meet others socially after harvest. We’re determined to keep the spirit of ploughing matches alive and have set up VPlough to give existing competitors a chance to show off their skills – while hopefully attracting young farmers to have a go as well.

“The event will be judged virtually by a team of experienced and knowledgeable judges and awards given for best in class, and while the event cannot replace a real ploughing match, we hope it will be a fun event to participate in, as well as raise money for our much-valued air ambulance services.”

Rural insurer NFU Mutual is supporting the event.

David Harrison, the company's sector lead for farming and agriculture, said: “When we learnt that many ploughing contests had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 we were delighted to step in to help the idea of VPlough become reality by providing financial support.

“Farmers work long hours, often alone, and the cancellation of agricultural shows and events this year has removed opportunities for them to meet fellow farmers. VPlough is a great way to keep the spirit of ploughing matches alive and provide a virtual meeting place for farmers until they can get back together in future years.”