PORTADOWN is to host the 99th annual Mullahead ploughing match on the last Saturday in February. The agricultural event will give farmers the perfect excuse to showcase their ploughing skills.
The family day out, which is sponsored by Craigavon Borough Council, will take place on the Richardson’s estate on February 23.
Competitors will test their skills at what has become the largest one day event of its kind in the British Isles and Ireland. Ex-world champions judge and more recent world champions take part. Over 150 tractor ploughing competitors take part in the various classes, from vintage to modern. Thirty “Ferguson” enthusiasts compete to become All Ireland Ferguson Ploughing champion while up to 40 pairs of horses compete for the title of Ulster Horse Ploughing champion.
The sport of tractor pulling is also on display, with competitors travelling from all over to compete in the farm class section. These tractor pulling competitors are made up from some of Northern Ireland’s most prominent farmers and contractors and bring a dedicated following of enthusiasts along in support. Trade exhibits, side shows, prize give aways, and the opening up of the countryside make this a good day out for all the family.
The Richardson Estate is situated in the Bann Valley, its deep fertile soil provides world class ploughing conditions.
Mullahead Ploughing Society was formed in 1912 and has held a ploughing match almost every year since with only a break for war years and more recently foot and mouth in 2001.
Mullahead & District Ploughing Society continues to enjoy the support of Tesco NI & 15 local primary producers, Armagh City & District Council, Banbridge District Council, Craigavon Borough Council and approximately 120 local businesses. At a recent press launch held in the Seagoe Hotel, Cliff Kells, commercial manager, Tesco, said, “Tesco is delighted to continue sponsorship of the Ploughing Championships. Since coming to Northern Ireland over 15 years ago, we have worked consistently in supporting the local agri –food sector. We purchase over £322 million per year from suppliers local to the Portadown area, and I am delighted that so many of them are taking part in the show with us, making a unique contribution to this celebration of rural heritage. We have invested over £72 million in the area with new stores and stores refurbishments, and I’d like to thank the customers in the Portadown and outlying areas for their continued support over the years.”
Jo-Anne Dobson Upper Bann MLA and Ulster Unionist Agricultural spokesperson, praised the organisers of the ploughing match, describing it as a “magnet for investment and tourism in the area”. She added, “The ploughing match provides a fantastic platform for our local agricultural companies and for those in the agri – food sector to promote their produce which ultimately helps sustain and increase local jobs.”
Mayor of Craigavon Borough Council, Carla Lockhart said, “I always look forward to this outdoor agricultural event when farmers are able to showcase the very skilful art of ploughing and for all the rest of us we can enjoy the great range of funny things to do and watch such as the tractor pulling, visiting the food tent and seeing the selection of animals.
“Well done to the organising committee and all of Bleary Young Farmers who have for many years helped the organisers.”
You can follow progress at www.mullahead.org,