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Independent.ie

Thursday 21 September 2017

Mad for grass crew bid for world silage record

Combines 4 Charity committee members, sponsors and beneficiaries at the launch of the ‘Mad for Grass’ event at Kiltale GAA club house in Co Meath
Combines 4 Charity committee members, sponsors and beneficiaries at the launch of the ‘Mad for Grass’ event at Kiltale GAA club house in Co Meath

An army of charitable farmers are aiming to harvest 100 acres of grass in 10 minutes as part of a world record attempt in Meath this weekend.

The 'Mad for Grass' event, organised by Combines 4 Charity Ltd, will see a large troop of self propelled, state-of-the-art foragers arrive onto O'Sullivan's family farm near Kiltale GAA club on Saturday.

Thousands of national and international spectators are expected to turn out to show their support for the grass extravaganza originally set up by a small group of cereal farmers in 2009.

Combines 4 Charity has already claimed two very impressive Guinness World Record titles in 2009 and 2012, when they had 208 combines working in the same field.

The voluntary event, sponsored by FBD, has raised more than €400,000 for chosen charities since it first started in The Royal County, including independent children's charity Barnardos.

Speaking at the launch night recently, committee chairman, Joe O'Donoghue, gave a brief overview on the scale of the exciting challenge ahead.

"This attempt of one hundred self propelled harvesters lifting one hundred acres of grass in ten minutes is very unique in the fact that it has never been attempted anywhere in the world before and it is now attracting attention from various countries abroad.

"There have been a number of men from Germany contacting ourselves in the last week about the event and they have now booked accommodation nearby," he said.

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"The O'Sullivan family will provide the field and the Hannon family are providing parking space and machinery storage," he said.

Joe also offered a special thanks to sponsors McAuley Animal feeds, FBD, Smyth Trailers, Farmhand, Western Motors and the community of Kiltale and all the contractors and farmers that are entering their machines.

He also heaped praise on local farmer Philip Brady for coming up with the original concept.

Philip thanked his family, community and the committee for bringing his idea to life.

Those entering harvesters have been asked to raise a minimum of €500, which automatically enters them for the draw for a new Smyth trailer. Tractor and trailer entrants have to raise a minimum of €100 to be in with the chance of winning 2000 litres of fuel, sponsored by Campus oil, or a €2,500 tyre voucher sponsored by Agrigear.

So far more than 200 harvesters, tractors and trailers are registered for the event.

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos CEO, said: "Combines 4 Charity are making a huge contribution to the well being of so many children and families. The funds raised will be greatly received and put to great use".

* Lucan Macra is the latest edition to clubs in the capital as a revival of the rural youth organisation gathers pace nationwide.

Over the last six months, new Macra clubs have popped in Wicklow (Baltinglass Macra), Kildare (Rathangan Macra), Cork (Glenhill Macra) and Westmeath (Moate Macra), with each club now looking for new members.

Last week, I travelled to a meeting in Lucan, the fourth club in Dublin, to see how things are progressing. Just three weeks after establishing, Lucan has almost 10 members - all from the local community.

Jacqui Walsh, Macra training and development officer for the Wexford, Wicklow, Carlow, Dublin and Kildare region, says urban clubs are getting “very popular”.

“There was a club in Lucan 40 years ago, so it has strong rural roots. There is a real urban/rural mix among new members, clubs in general are getting more diverse. Rathangan and Baltinglass already have 25 members each and are growing rapidly,” she said.

Lucan Macra’s next meeting is on May 16 at St Mary’s parish centre, with there first quiz fundraiser taking place in Kenny’s Pub on May 24. All those interested in joining a club in the region can contact Jacqui on 087 7735659.

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