200,000 expected at ploughing contest
CLOSE to 200,000 people are expected to attend this year's National Ploughing Championships which will be held in Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois, at the end of the month.
The organisers said the event was Europe's biggest agricultural event and they expected attendance to top last year's total of 187,000 for the three-day event which runs from September 24 to 26.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney launched the event yesterday, travelling on a tractor around the 250-acre site.
Nearly 22km of steel roadway is being laid for the event and there are over 1,300 trade exhibitors booked, with live robotic milking, vintage tractor building, sheepdog trials and welly throwing competitions as well as over 300 ploughing competitors. National Ploughing Association managing director Anna May McHugh said that given Laois's strong connections with the event it was fitting it would return to the county for the fifth time.