Since farming is one of Northern Ireland’s most important industries, it follows that tractors are also an important facet. If you’re looking for a tractor or need to find out what might best suit the uses you plan for it, there is a mass of useful information to be found online – or you can just walk into your local dealer and start asking questions.
However, if you really want a quick and comprehensive education in tractors and what they can and cannot do, spend a day at the annual Ploughing Championship. In fact you can plan to visit it this year, as it’s taking place at Balmoral Park, Maze, Lisburn from October 9th through 10th. The Championships attract a truly amazing crowd of participants, dealers, exhibitors, spectators and tourists, but the purpose is quite serious; it’s a way for farmers to stay abreast of competitive technology, and stay in business for themselves.
This is where you’ll find working demonstrations of the best tractors for a variety of uses and circumstances, interspersed with all sorts of other entertainment to keep everyone enthused. The event is organized – and has been for 72 years now – by the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association (NIPA), as a means of encouraging friendly competition and improving the overall picture for the farming industry. All of the big tractor manufacturers are present, promoting their latest and greatest machines.
Tractors are not toys, not for farmers in Northern Ireland. They can literally mean the difference between making a profit and losing the farm, so the right choice for the job at hand is a crucial decision. When you’re investing as much as £100,000 or more in a single piece of machinery, which is often the case, it makes a lot of sense to learn as much as possible about the options, even if you’ve been using tractors for years.
High Tech, Big Names
At the Championships event, those options include high-tech machinery made by John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Fiat and others, each manufacturer vying for best-in-class as demonstrated by the competition’s entrants. As a matter of interest, anyone between the ages of 13 to 18 must pass a formal driving test and get a LANTRA certificate in order to drive a tractor anywhere in Northern Ireland. This gives you an idea of what an important role tractors play in the life of anyone who works the land.
There is really no more educational and enjoyable day out for farmers, would-be farmers, and anyone with an interest in agriculture and the equipment needed to successfully work the land. Besides the display and performance of tractors with their various capabilities, visitors will find scrumptious food and drink, a plethora of live entertainment provided by local and national talent – and a friendly welcome for all.