The 90th Anniversary Of The National Ploughing Championships Was A Huge Success

The National Ploughing Championships first established in 1931 celebrated its 90th anniversary in Ratheniska, Co Laois with the focus firmly back on the Association’s ploughing roots.
A true ‘Ploughing’ master class was on display with the finest ploughmen and women from all over the country battling it out on 150 acres in 22 separate classes over the 3 days as old friend’s reunited and new marvellous memories were made.

Martin Kehoe from Wexford became the National Senior Conventional Ploughing Champion and  Dan Donnelly from Wexford  won the Senior Reversible Contest.  Siobhan Dermody from Co Kilkenny was crowned the ‘Queen of the Plough’ following her win in the farmerette class.

Aisling O’Toole from Co Kildare was named the 2021 National Brown Bread Baker winning a prize fund of €15,000, her award winning loaf will be available to purchase in Aldi stores nationwide for the next year.

This year’s overall Innovation Arena Awards with Enterprise Ireland winner was marine biotech company Brandon Bioscience in Tralee, Co Kerry. In collaboration with the traditional fertiliser manufacturer Target Fertilisers, the company’s winning entry is an innovative new biostimulant product using extracts from common brown seaweed that has the potential to reduce chemical nitrogen input on farms by up to 20 per cent.

The best overall start-up award went to Jennifer and Kevin Corley, founders of EquiTrace which is an app that works with a horse’s microchip to identify, locate and track individual animals as they move while also recording animal temperature and health records when used with a Merck Bio-Thermo chip and scanner. Both the overall and best start-up Award winners will receive a prise fund of €5,000 each.

So as the final sod was turned in Ratheniska today signalling the end of the 2021 National Ploughing – thoughts are firmly on the 2022 event returning to Ratheniska from 20th – 22nd September.


Emo Oil – Our Brand New Sponsor


#Ploughing2021 is due to take place behind closed gates from September 15th to 17th in Rathenisa, Co Laois

This year the National Ploughing Association will celebrate its 90th Anniversary with the National Ploughing Championships competitions brining the focus back to its 1931 ‘ploughing’ origins.  It is tremendous to have Emo Oil on board as the new Official Fuel & Lubricants sponsor who will provide fuel for all of the 350 competitors who will be battling it out throughout the 3 days.

At the launch Managing Director of the NPA, Anna May McHugh spoke of how she looked forward to working very closely with Emo Oil as a new National Ploughing Association sponsor.  She said, “I am delighted that Emo Oil have come on board this year as sponsorship partners. Emo Oil are a very well-known brand throughout Ireland and instantly recognisable throughout the rural community.” 

“As an organisation, they have a great appreciation of the importance and impact events such as the National Ploughing Championships have on both the national economy and the rural community.”

Managing Director of DCC Oil Ireland Andrew Graham said, “It’s fantastic to see the ploughing competitions back in action in 2021 for the 90th year anniversary, and we’re excited to be partnering as the new fuel & lubricants sponsor.  We are proud to be a part of an event that brings the very best of Ireland’s agri sector together. “

“Emo Oil is a local Irish business that has been supporting farmers for over 40 years with quality agri fuels & lubricants – so partnering for the 90th running of the ploughing championships was something we didn’t want to miss. While unfortunately we cannot welcome any customers to the event this year, we will be fuelling all the competitors throughout the event and will be on hand to offer advice and support.“


Emo Oil Managing Director Andrew Graham and National Ploughing Association Managing Director Anna May McHugh


The National Brown Bread Baking Competition sponsored by Aldi

With the National Ploughing Association and The Irish county Women’s Association

A grand prize of €15,000 for the overall winner!

Winner will be announced on 17th of September

Aldi will once again, sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA). 

Do you know someone that has perfected their brown bread baking skills over the past year? Have you made a brilliant brown bread whilst stuck at home over the past few months? If the answer is yes, then this is the competition for you! 

The competition will be open to all members of the public; all entrants will be asked to drop off their freshly baked bread at one of the following Aldi stores on the prescribed date:

WEDNESDAY 4th AUGUST 09:00- 11:00

Aldi Head Office Naas, Newbridge Road, Naas, Co.Kildare, W91 VE40.

Aldi Swords, 10 Seatown Rd, Townparks, Swords, Co. Dublin, K67 V2N7.

Aldi Athlone, Golden Island, Ankers Bower, Athlone Co. Westmeath N37 FC04.

WEDNESDAY 11th August 09:00- 11:00

Aldi Macroom, Oakwood, Sleveen East, Macroom, Co. Cork, P12 ER89.

Aldi, Newcastle West, , Co. Limerick, V42 KD35.

Aldi, Main Street, Gort, Co. Galway, H91 PV44.

WEDNESDAY 18th August 09:00- 11:00

Aldi New Ross, Marshmeadows, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Y34 NP48.

Aldi Castlebar, Lannagh Rd, Garryduff, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, F23 TV29.

Aldi Cavan, Dublin Rd, Tullymongan Upper, Cavan, H91PK29.

All successful entrants will be contacted on 20th of August, to attend the finals, due to take place on the 10th of September in Howth Castle Cookery School.

Group Buying Director, John Curtin said, “At Aldi, we are a proud supporter of Irish suppliers and producers, so we are delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition again this year and to be able to host the competition during these challenging times. Last years’ winning product ‘Marie’s Brown Bread’ has been a great success, and we want to ensure that Ireland’s best bakers have the opportunity to take part in this fantastic competition again this year. We look forward to sampling Ireland’s best brown bread in the coming weeks and announcing the winner on September 17th in Howth Castle Cookery School.”

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh saidThe NPA are delighted that the hugely popular National Brown Bread Baking competition is returning this year.  Every year the interest grows and the standard is escalating with hundreds of entries from all around the country.  Despite having to cancel this year’s Trade Exhibition due to Covid the National Ploughing Competitions will take place from Sept 15th to 17th and plans are in place to build a programme of activities around  #Ploughing2021 including digital activations for all to get involved with and the highly anticipated National Brown Bread Baking winner will be announced on the final day. ” 

Hilda Roche, President of the ICA said, “The members of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association are very much looking forward to participating in this year’s National Brown Bread Baking Competition. I wish everyone the very best of luck.”

If you think you have the recipe for success, log onto or for information on how to enter, full terms and conditions and competition rules.

The winner’s brown bread will be stocked in all Aldi Stores in Ireland for twelve months and they will receive a grand prize of €15,000.

The National Brown Bread Baking Competition

The National Brown Bread Baking Competition

Ploughing Executive Cancel Trade Exhibition & World Ploughing Contest

Cancelled Due to Restriction, Uncertainty and Public Health and Safety Concerns.

Ploughing Competitions still scheduled for September.

The NPA Executive have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Trade Exhibition following months of monitoring the Covid-19 status and taking into account the Governments updated roadmap for the next few months.

Given the sheer scale of the Ploughing with 297,000 attendees in 2019 and the lack of clarity about what Covid-19 restrictions and regulations will look like in September for outdoor events it was felt that cancelling the 1700 trade exhibitor event was the only option. 

Public Health & Safety is of paramount importance to the Association and unless the NPA were confident the Trade Exhibition could go ahead without causing any risk to exhibitors, competitors & visitors it would not be feasible.  As the timeline to start site works is imminent – the NPA just could not wait any longer to make a decision.

The World Ploughing Contest due to be held in Ireland to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the NPA attracting visitors from 30 countries was also cancelled given the extent of current International Travel Restrictions.

The NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said, “It’s a massive disappointment to the Association to have to cancel the trade exhibition two years in a row in particular when you consider the estimated annual economic impact of €50 million that will be lost to the Irish Economy.   We are very conscious of the loss of revenue for our exhibitors and the disappointment of patrons.  However, the NPA is a strong establishment, we have a massively committed team behind the event, our exhibitors and our patrons have been very loyal over the years and we look forward to bringing the Exhibition back at its full potential in 2022.    We will run our National Ploughing Competitions this year and hopefully we can welcome some visitors (pending regulations).”

The plan will be to build a programme of activities around the “Ploughing Competitions” that will keep the focus on “Rural Ireland” during Ploughing Week (15th – 17th Sept.) – this will include virtual content promoting exhibitors combined with a week of highly interactive and immersive #Ploughing2021 digital activations for all to get involved with.

The NPA have also confirmed that the event will return to Ratheniska in 2022 from   20th – 22nd September when we look forward to enjoying the Ploughing as usual.

National Ploughing Championships

Probably the largest National Ploughing Association in the world the NPA, will host the National Ploughing Championships in 2022 on September 20th, 21st & 22nd in Ratheniska, Co. Laois.
Attracting an annual attendance of almost 300,000 this spectacular annual “Farming Festival” has it all!

On entering the golden fields of stubble prepare to be awed by the precision and skill of the ploughman as they hone their craft to join the realms of the elite National Ploughing Champions.
Leave behind the silent intensity of the competition fields to enter the trade arena comparable only to a busy town on market day.
Over 1,800 exhibitors sprawled over hundreds of acres Promoting, Selling, Educating and Entertaining the throngs of visitors that make their way to this bustling town built on a green field for just a few days once a year.

Agricultural Machinery and Livestock at the core of the Exhibition extending out to almost every product and service associated with Irish Life.
It’s not just about business – there are Food Fayres, Craft Demonstrations, Fashion Shows, Funfairs and traditional events Pony Club, Hunt Chase, Sheep Shearing, Sheep Dog Trials, Vintage Machinery Exhibition, Horse Shoe Throwing.
Some say “if you’ve been to “The Ploughing” then no explanation is necessary!
BUT if you haven’t no explanation is possible”
, such is the uniqueness of this event.

And once every decade or two the privelege of hosting a World Contest comes around bringing with it World’s finest ploughers from over 30 countries.
Let’s hope we get to see this premiere in Co. Laois in September and watch history in the making.