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Despite the weather the Ploughing
Championship was still the place to
be for a host of Irish and international
celebrities including horseracing
heroes Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell
who were interviewed by Damien
O'Reilly on the AXA insurance stand.
Mary Berry of The Great British Bake-
off, (GBBO) was due to appear on
the National Dairy Council stand
on Wednesday. Storm Ali nearly
spoiled the party. However, the ever
resourceful Zoe Kavanagh arranged
an interview for Mary with Ray Darcy
on RTE on Wednesday afternoon and
then the Queen of Cakes hosted a tea
party off site for the winners of the
NDC competition. Still a great coup
for the NDC! Meanwhile, celebrity
Chefs Catherine Fulvio and Edward
Hayden cooked up food storms on
the FBD stand and the Irish Farmers
Journal had their own cookery demo
with everyone's favourite chef Neven
Maguire. Ploughing Live covered the
event over the extended four days
and the combination of Marty
Morrissey, Aine Lawlor, and our own
Machinery correspondent Noel
Dunne made it a much watched
programme. Noel scooped a great
interview with Anna May McHugh
about the safety concerns that
led to the postponement of the
event on Wednesday. Of course,
the Ploughing was packed with
politicians including An Taoiseach
Leo Varadkar. President Michael D
was out and about on the campaign
trail pressing the flesh, along with
any number of other presidential
hopefuls. Micheal Martin was also
in attendance with his answers
to the fodder deficit. Most of the
political parties had modest stands,
with the biggest political tent award
taken by MEP Luke `Ming' Flanagan!
Meanwhile Carlow/Kilkenny TD Pat
Deering caused his own little storm
in a teacup by prematurely predicting
that `The Fighting Cocks' would be
the site of next year's Ploughing.
Celebrities flock
to Ploughing
Celebrity chef Edward Hayden, Dierdre O'Shea
Executive Director Agri Aware and Lucy Barton from
Errill Co. Laois.
Dairymaster mooving along Swiftly
Strength through unity?
The IFA's Strength Through Unity motto can get
a little frayed at times. It's only natural, given the
disparate needs of different farming sectors. Even
within the cattle sector, the finishers best interests
are served by lower store or weanling prices while
the store and weanling producers need the best
price possible. Rarely, however, do these differing
pricing requirements reach the surface in terms of
downright criticism as cattle farmers of all types realise
and respect their interdependence. There is little
evidence, however, of this intra-family understanding
when it comes to dairying versus the rest, it would
appear. A Whatsapp message from an IFA drystock
farmer after a recent IFA County Executive meeting
sums up the feelings of many in the drystock sector:
"Very depressing Exec meeting last night, very hard
to listen to the milkmen whinge about the milk price
league while the beef sector goes down the swanny
with a 20c/kg price cut in recent weeks. Meanwhile
our Minister offers low interest capital loans to add
fuel to a sector that is already on fire while we can't
find an extra 120 to save this suckler herd. SAD SAD
SAD. Might I suggest IFA immediately convene an
emergency joint meeting of the National Executive and
the Livestock Committee to highlight this crisis and
hopefully find some solutions before it's too late for
many farmers." The sentiments, while understandable,
hardly reflect the long-held understanding that
criticising each other will never solve our problems.
At the National Ploughing Championships Dairymaster
launched six versions of their Swiftflo Revolver cow rotary
milking parlours. The clear marketing strategy is that
there is a rotary parlour for everyone in the audience.
The Swiftflo Performance is suitable for entry level farms
with little automation. These are aimed at farmers who
may want to add automation features when their budget
allows. The Swiftflo Optimum has a degree of automation
including the Swiftflo Pulse, Retention and Milk Diversion.
The Endurance range is designed for people who want
a fully automated solution and is aimed at large scale
farms. This system has the most advanced technologies
including the Swiftflo Commander, Auto ID, Milk Manager
and Voice Assist. Each range has a plus option with an
extra level of automation and additional features. Included
in all the Swiftflo Revolver range is Dairymasters' recent
development, Rotaglide which is like the suspension
system in a car. It is claimed to reduce maintenance
and improve cow comfort. The new range is a fitting
celebration of Dairymaster's first 50 years in business.