The company behind the National Ploughing Association of Ireland (NPA) would have been staring at losses of €3.5m to €4m this year if Covid-19 had only struck Ireland now.
That is according to the MD of the NPA company, Anna Marie McHugh who stated that by late July/early August, the spend for the planned three-day event at Ballintrane, Fenagh, Carlow in September would have been €3.5m to €4m.
"We would have been able to recoup nothing out of that and we would have had to take it on the chin," she said.
Ms McHugh stated that if the NPA was faced with two such scenarios, having to cancel the annual ploughing championships late on with site work well advanced, "you would be out of business in two years because we don't get grant aid, we have no other source of income".
She said: "That is the risk you run. We are a temporary event and a temporary build. It takes three months to build the site and you hit the 'go' button and take a chance."
As it happened, the NPA was able to cancel this year's event in early May due to Covid-19 and even with that, Ms McHugh stated that the spend this year "will be €700,000 to €800,000 on things we can't avoid and our income will be zero".
Last week, the company behind the National Ploughing Championships confirmed that it last year recorded a pre-tax loss of €413,396 in spite of bumper crowds at last September's event. The pre-tax loss to the end of January this year followed a pre-tax loss of €494,370 for the prior year.
Ms McHugh stated that the planned 2021 event will come with additional costs as the NPA is also holding the world ploughing championships which will make it a four-day event.
"While it is a great honour and privilege, it brings expenses, it doesn't bring a cheque book with it because we host the teams from each country for 10 days and the extra spend on that alone is €500,000 to €750,000.
"It is our 90th anniversary next year, it is a great honour to have a world event - we won't have it again until 2040, believe it or not - it is scheduled up until 2038."
In order to generate additional revenues, the NPA will be increasing the adult admission from €20 to €25 for next year.
Ms McHugh stated that due to Covid, there is uncertainty around the numbers the 2021 event will be able to accommodate.
Ms McHugh stated: "We did find in the last downturn that our event did quite well because companies had to get out there and promote themselves."
Ms McHugh also said that the cost of infrastructure for the event "is costing more every year and that is simply it". On the drive to cut costs for the ploughing event, Ms McHugh stated: "We are doing a big exercise at the moment where we can tighten the belt a little bit."