Stradbally to see influx of visitors for ploughing championships

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney visits site as preparations continue for event

The scene at the National Ploughing Championships at Heathpark, New Ross, Co Wexford in 2012. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

The scene at the National Ploughing Championships at Heathpark, New Ross, Co Wexford in 2012. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Wed, Sep 4, 2013, 15:51

Stradbally will see another influx of wellies in three weeks time but this time their wearers will be talking about machinery instead of music.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is visiting the site for the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois today to see how preparations were going for the three-day event.

It will run from Tuesday, September 24th until Thursday, September 26th.

The National Ploughing Association said it was expecting more than 180,000 visitors by close of business on the final day.

Last year’s event at Heathpark, New Ross attracted 187,500 people, despite some bad weather. This year’s site is more central so visitor numbers should be strong.

The event is being hosted by the family of David and Shirley Carter, who have provided 120 acres, but several hundred acres is also being provided by neighbouring farms, bringing the total site to more than 700 acres.

This year’s championships will feature a first as robotic milking takes centre stage.

Lely will be running demonstrations of its robotic milking systems with a herd of 40 cows that will arrive at the site the weekend before the event to give them time to settle into their new routine.

More than 1,300 exhibitors will showcase their wares at this year’s championships, with displays of cattle, sheep, tractors and agricultural machinery as well as fashion, lifestyle and shops and food stalls.