Ploughing Championships to showcase ‘Tinder’ for bulls

‘Bull Match’ – hailed as Tinder for bulls – will be among the novel features at this year’s National Ploughing Championships which will be held in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, from September 19 to 21.

The new all-indoor innovation area will also showcase: a self-propelled diet feeder; a robotic arm; a snail farm; a child safety sensor; and a solar bin that automatically texts its owner when full.

There will be 200ac of ploughing competitions throughout the three days, with over 350 competitors. The amount of entrants in the novice class has doubled this year.

For those hoping to go to agricultural college or to study agriculture at third level in Ireland in September, there is the chance to win one of five €1,000 bursaries with the Irish Hereford Breed Society, in collaboration with Slaney Foods International and Lidl Ireland.

There will be a charity calf auction for a top class Charolais heifer during the event.

Over 1,000 live animals will be on show including a buffalo. The highly popular machinery demonstration area will be back, and there will be a vintage machinery display.

Other crowd pullers include the sheep dog trials and sheep shearing demonstrations and the Volkswagen Amorak V6 experience. The all-important issue of farm safety will be addressed by The Health and Safety Authority.

The best brown bread maker in Ireland will be crowned. There will also be a junior competition for the creator of the best lemon drizzle cake.

The metal roadway for this years event has expanded to cover 30km. There will be a huge international aspect, with countries such as Turkey; the US; UK; Germany; France; Belgium; New Zealand; and The Netherlands exhibiting.

Buyers and visitors from: Italy; Spain; Hungary; Prague; Latvia; Poland; Russia; Australia; South Africa; Saudi Arabia; India; and China will be present.

A pig agility course, master jiving classes at the band stand, craft demonstrations, lifestyle villages and a food fair will all be part of the mix. There will also be a forestry and Husqvarna hurdle.

The National Dairy Council will host sunrise yoga and health promotions, with sports stars and nutritionists at its stand. The three daily fashion shows with Celia Holman Lee will be big draws. Fashionistas will want to get their glad rags at the ready for the most appropriately dressed competitions on Wednesday 20.

One of the quirky asides will be Guinness Book of Records attempts at the largest tree carved into a sword. A hunt chase and pony games will form part of the programme.

Children’s events will include clayotic model toy crafting.

Said Anna May McHugh, Managing Director, National Ploughing Association (NPA):

With record crowds of 283,000 visitors in attendance last year, and with the site in Screggan proving to be a phenomenal success, signals would suggest another ‘great ploughing’ is on the way.