Screggan, Tullamore was the home of this year’s National Ploughing Championship, known locally as the ‘Ploughing Match’ – as apparently only townies say ‘Championship”. This is Europe’s largest outdoor event. The event took place over the space of 3 days. 18th – 20th September 2017.
The national ploughing championship has run almost every year since 1931. It’s the biggest event in the farming calendar.
The grounds have almost 2 million feet of trade space. That consists of a vast tented village for exhibitors such as Bio Energy, KBC and a food fair. Fashion shows, motor shows and celebrity guests also take place at the event.
The outdoor event is of huge scale hosting over 250,000 visitors, 26 car parks, 1700 exhibitors and over 3000 competitors.
But there is more to the Ploughing Match than tractors and ploughshares. Technology is hugely important for farmers and farms.
Farmers are using more and more technology, every day They are becoming more interested in high speed broadband to the extent that the Department of Communications’ tent for the National Broadband Plan (The NBP) had a constant stream of people through three days of the national ploughing championships to enquire about when high speed broadband would hit the farms. The NBP is an ambitious project by the Government to bring high speed broadband to over 540,000 rural homes and businesses.
Why would the farmers want this broadband you might ask? It is not just to watch Netflix. Farmers are looking for new and better ways to use technology to improver their quality of life.
One way is it to set up tinder for the bulls and the cows. This is no joke there really is a tinder-like app used by farmers where they can put in the genetic profile of their bull or cow and look for a match for the purpose of breeding.
They can also use infra red cameras linked back to the house on their phone to keep an eye on sheep during lambing season. Saves them having to get up in the middle of the night to go down to the shed to check that they are ok. Many farmers also have another day job, as the farming is not economic so they can keep an eye on the animals remotely by smartphone.