Video: Farmer ditches modern machinery in favour of horses

A farmer in Co. Louth has decided to ditch modern machinery in favour of ploughing, cultivating and harvesting with horses.

For the past 10 years or so Gerry McShane, from Ballinfull, has opted to put his heavy horses to work every spring ploughing a small piece of ground to grow some oats.

This year his son, Gerard, decided to capture footage of him working in unison with his horses, Polly and Maggie.

“We’ve had heavy horse for about 10 years or more now. Every year we plough an acre or so at the bottom of the yard to grow oats.

“We have five or six heavy horses altogether, so the oats will go towards feeding them,” Gerard said.

Throughout the year Gerard hopes to capture the different stages of cultivating, sowing, managing and harvest the oats.

Both his father Gerry and uncle John travel within a 50km radius of their home to visit different agricultural shows and events with their horses.

Through their hobby the brothers have gathered a full collection of horse-pulled machines to carry out a range of tillage and grassland work.

“My grandfather, their father, would have worked horses right up until the 60s. It’s an old tradition.

They can remember sitting on his lap or watching him working with the horses, so there’s an element of keeping the tradition alive.

“We also farm some suckler cows and finish quite a number of beef cattle, as well as about 80ac of tillage land. So we have the bigger machines as well,” Gerard said.