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Nearly 300,000 visitors attended this year's Ploughing event
in Carlow. Despite the threat of Brexit and the beef crisis,
thousands of farmers flocked in each day. The weather
helped, with most visitors eating ice-cream cones, sporting
sunglasses and, after the three days of sunshine, displaying
distinctively Irish suntans.
The real Queen of the Plough, Anna May McHugh, a hearty
86 years of age, was as active on site as ever. The Ploughing
is, by far, the biggest outdoor event in Europe and great
credit is due to Anna May, her management team and the
hundreds of volunteers who made it a success.
The National Ploughing Championships provides a major
marketplace for all aspects of Irish agriculture and is
favoured by many manufacturers because it o ers scope to
show products in a natural setting and even under working
conditions on the demonstration plots. At its core are the
actual ploughing competitions, where pride in representing
one's county is exhibited in a competitive environment
that still allows for a natural camaraderie amongst the
ploughmen and women.
The parade of ploughing finalists through the site on the
Thursday morning was a sight to behold, especially with
the added colour provided by the local hunt and their
impressive pack of foxhounds.
Machinery is still one of the key attractions at the Ploughing,
even if many manufacturers do not exhibit themselves,
instead supporting dealers to showcase their products.
The Innovation Hub, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland,
was once again a success. The animal health industry was
out in force, with MSD Animal Health launching a new
vaccine, Intranasal, at the Fenagh location. Both FBD and
AXA were prominent, with AXA promoting their inaugural
AXA Farm Hero campaign at their stand. The NDC had
RTÉ's Marty Morrissey and Greg O'Shea from Love Island
fame on the stand. Bord Bia personnel found themselves
under siege on day one, with some dissident voices giving
their opinions on beef prices, and the perceived lack of
support from the State body. While we believe farmers
should air their views, this type of action was uncalled for
and unfair. Padraig Brennan of Bord Bia gave as good as
he got in the heated exchanges and is a credit to the food
promotion body. The Bord has achieved much for the agri-
food industry since its inception with food industry exports
reaching 13.6 billion last year. Meat and dairy accounted
for 66 per cent of that total and credit must be given to
Bord Bia for its role in developing new and existing market
outlets for Irish food.
The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine stand,
as in previous years, was broken into di erent areas of
agriculture, with climate action taking centre stage. Teagasc
also pulled out all the stops in all aspects of sustainable
farming, looking at seven key steps to improve farm
UCD, Tralee IT and other educational bodies were in
attendance this year. Alltech Keenan promoted their
InTouch technology, while the farm organisations were out
in force, with presidential election canvassers busy on the
IFA stand. Speaking of elections, politicians were also active,
with FG, FF and SF all looking for the farming vote. It was
interesting to hear Michael Martin talk about changing the
mandate of Bord na Mona and Coillte to assist with climate
action. The President, Michael D Higgins, opened the
Ploughing event and took the time to ask beef farmers to
listen to reason and not put the Irish food industry at risk.
Zetor was back at the Ploughing, as was Animal Health
Ireland, and Glanbia showcased their new schemes and
technical support services. The motor industry was very
visible this year with Land Rover, Toyota, Peugeot and VW,
among others, all exhibiting their wares.
RTÉ transmitted each day from the show and Agriland
streamed live as they increased their presence at the
event with one of the biggest stands on the main
thoroughfare. The Irish Farmers Journal and the Irish
Independent both had impressive stands with the IFJ
seminars and cooking demonstrations each day attracting a
wide audience.
Normal daily life was suspended with burgers and chips
being eaten for breakfast, long queues for ice-cream vans
and dancing from early morning. After last year's storm,
it was a welcome respite for everyone to stroll around in
warm sunshine, enjoying the break from beef and Brexit
Round-up of the Ploughing
Tiger Roll at the AXA stand
Your food is our passion
Always look for the Bord Bia Quality Mark on Ham and Bacon so that you
will know they have been produced to the highest Bord Bia quality standards
and where they come from. That means you can relax and enjoy them more.
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