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26 Sept 2022

PLOUGHING: It's a wrap in Laois as winners announced and crowds depart Ratheniska

PLOUGHING:  It's a wrap in Laois as winners announced and crowds depart

Nearly 300,000 descended on Laois this week. Photo: Alf Harvey

The sun is setting and carparks emptying from Ratheniska in Laois as the World and National Ploughing championships wrap up.

With just a gala ball tonight to enjoy, where the World Ploughing winners will be announced, the NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh has summed up the return of the event after three years as "buoyant and positive".

“The overall mood for this year’s Ploughing has been incredibly buoyant and positive.  With so much for visitors to enjoy from quality livestock and serious machinery to fashion, celebrities, tik tokers and sports stars galore there was something for every member of the family to enjoy.”

As the traffic flows from the car parks this evening, the total attendance figure for the 91st National Ploughing Championships came to 277,000 over the three days, with exhibitors and visitors alike thoroughly enjoying themselves. 

"This marks one of the most successful National Ploughing Championships to date as it returned for the first time in three years to its full glory," the organisers said.

The coveted 2022 Best Brown Bread Baker title went to Darragh O’Brien from Co Kildare, his bread will be sold in Aldi stores nationwide and he will receive €15,000 for his triumph.  It is the first time that a man has won the National Brown Bread Baking Competition, sponsored by Aldi and run in conjunction with the ICA, since its inception in the early 1950s. 

FarmDroid FD20 beat very stiff competition to be announced as the prestigious National Ploughing Championships ‘Machine of the Year’. The FarmDroid FD20 is the world’s first fully automatic robot that can take care of both sowing and weed control. The robot enables farmers to reduce the cost of sowing and weed control while doing it CO2 neutral, and pesticide-free. Furthermore, the robot reduces or even eliminates the need for exhausting, manual work.

In the style stakes, Aisling Stack from Listowel, Co Kerry won the ‘Most Appropriately Dressed Lady’ competition her prize is an exclusive weekend break in the luxurious Wineport Lodge Hotel in Westmeath.  And Tipperary’s Gavin Clarke was awarded a €500 voucher from the stylish Manley’s Menswear in Athy, Co Kildare.

In the ploughing competition Eamonn Tracey from Carlow won the overall conventional class, while Wexford man John Whelan won the Reversible Ploughing competition.  Both men will again represent Ireland at the World Ploughing contest next year.

The affiliate’s flags were lowered as part of the 67th World Ploughing Contest Closing Ceremony and the Irish World Board member Anna May McHugh officially handed over the WPO flag to the 2023 host Latvia’s Augars Laursnovis.  The Conventional & Reversible World Ploughing Champions will be announced at tonight’s Gala Banquet.

"The NPA would like to wish everyone a safe journey home and thank all for making this one of the most successful Championships of all time."

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