Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Irish ploughing event great showcase for agriculture

Green technologies being developed at the new Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy in Hillsborough are to be showcased at one of Ireland's biggest agricultural events.

Staff from the centre at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute will be on hand to discuss the potential of the new technology at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly, from September 25 to 27.

They will also demonstrate the technology associated with retinal imaging of sheep and cattle at the event - one of Europe's leading agricultural exhibitions.

As well as this, the AFBI Cattle Health Scheme will demonstrate the partnership between herd- owners, their veterinary practitioners and AFBI in improving animal health and welfare. The application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as a tool to study environmental issues will be highlighted.

AFBI and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will have a stand promoting the work of the Countryside Management Scheme, Rural Development Programme and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise.

Visitors will learn about the new £500m Rural Development Programme and viewing projects funded by the present one, including specialist sand-blasting and decorated glass by Kingfisher Designs, Sperrin Trailers, Teemore Engineering, Paul McAuley Bodhrans, All-Wood Planters, SA Adventure Centre, Breezemount Farm and Moneymore Heritage Trust.

DARD's Rural Enterprise Advisers will help farm families explore diversified business opportunities, of which a number will be exhibiting.

More than 300 competitors will take part in the main event, the National Ploughing Finals, which will be attended by President McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Pedigree cattle and sheep will be on display at the livestock exhibition, and the Tented Village will features lifestyle and leisure, household, tourism, fine foods and crafts as well as an extensive education and business section.

Buyer delegations will be travelling from Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and even Sydney. The event will also host the first ever Irish Stihl Timbersports Series - thrilling off-roading with Land Rover Terrapods and Austrian Schuhplatters.