The National Ploughing Championships is “like Christmas morning” for the farmers in attendance, one of the organisers has said.
The annual event in County Laois begins today and already the site is a sea of overalls, colourful ponchos and umbrellas as hundreds of farmers arrive amid miserable weather.
Despite the rain, site coordinator Noel Dunne, said people were still “quite happy” and there was a “great bounce” as people arrived through the gates this morning.
Many farmers come to research and buy new equipment and Mr Dunne said there is a huge amount of diversity on offer.
“I can give you a vintage tractor here that’s 1930s, 1940s, up to the 60s,” he told Newstalk reporter Josh Crosbie for The Pat Kenny Show.
“I can bring you up along here and get you a bargain basement Chinese tractor for €20,000 and I can put you in a brand new [one] for €189,000 plus VAT if you want that.”
Attendees can also find mowers, bailers and rakes on sale and Mr Dunne was keen to stress that there is “everything here for every size of farmer and contractor and this is like Christmas morning to most of them.”
Despite the cost of living crisis, Mr Dunne said the past couple of years have been “quite good for farming”.
That has changed this year; due to the torrential rain this summer, farmers expect a “very weak harvest”.
However, whatever the weather, Mr Dunne said the farming community is rarely downhearted.
“There’s a great old saying among farmers down here, ‘There’s money in muck’ and, in fairness, we’ve a bit of it here today,” he said.
“There’s three things said about Irish farmers, they spend money in good times, they spend money in bad times but if uncertainty is around, they won’t spend.
“Then again, they’re total optimists.”
The Ploughing Championships end on September 21st.
Main image: National Ploughing Championships. Picture by: Alamy.com