National Ploughing Championships set to break all records

Tullamore ploughing event launched as huge number of exhibitors and attendees expected

World Conventional Ploughing champion Eamonn Tracey, Carlow (right) and World Silver Medalist in Reversible John Whelan, Wexford (left) with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh at Screggan Tullamore for the launch of the 2018 National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Alf Harvey

World Conventional Ploughing champion Eamonn Tracey, Carlow (right) and World Silver Medalist in Reversible John Whelan, Wexford (left) with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh at Screggan Tullamore for the launch of the 2018 National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Alf Harvey

 

With good weather and interest at an all-time high, the National Ploughing Championships looks likely to break records in Co Offaly later in September.

Speaking at the official launch at the 800-acre site in Screggan, Tullamore, on Wednesday, National Ploughing Association (NPA) managing director Anna May McHugh said there was a waiting list for exhibitors and numbers have had to be curtailed to about 1,700 stands. “We don’t intend to ever get it any bigger. We have now what we can manage and I think the variety will bring the people,” said Ms McHugh. Last year the event cost €6 million to host, generating about €50 million in spending over three days.

‘Difficult year’

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed acknowledged it had been an “extraordinarily difficult year” for farmers. He admitted spending the summer on his knees praying for rain. He believes measures introduced on Glas, fertiliser spreading and bringing forward payments, together with Ireland’s “spirit of togetherness in crisis” would get farmers through the fodder shortage.

The National Ploughing Championships runs from September 18th to 20th. The ploughing is leaving Offaly in 2019 but Ms McHugh refused to reveal the next location.