Plenty of rain, but event proves a crowd pleaser
The Irish National Ploughing
Championships lived up to
expectations last week –
large crowds, a large number
of exhibitors and no mean
amount of rain. Andy Collings
and Geoff Ashcroft
braved the mud to report on
one of Europes largest
outdoor agricultural events
OVER 140,000 people spent three days last week trudging through ankle deep mud to see all that was new in Irish agriculture.
Despite the trying conditions few, if any, were disappointed in an event which annually captures the attention of the countrys farming scene.
Encouraging as such enthusiasm is – it belies the state of an industry which, like the UK, is suffering the effects of falling market prices with the resulting decline in machinery sales.
Tractor sales are widely expected to drop 10% this year, from 2200 in 1996 to below 2000. But precise figures are hard to come by. Only the number registered for legal road use, ie for which a road tax disc has been bought, are recorded. Most manufacturers admit to the numbers being sold differing from those actually recorded.
Even so, as in the UK, tractor development continues. A new clutch of Zetor tractors was presented at the event – the UR1 range.
Offering power from 60hp to just under 80hp, the four-model range joins modern tailoring trends by having a sloping, curved bonnet and a cab which should meet the demands of the most luxury conscious operator.
Power for the 60hp 4351, 64hp 5341 and 70hp 6341 comes from a naturally aspirated, four-cylinder water cooled engine while the range topping 79hp 7341 benefits from a turbocharger.
Transmission, throughout the range comprises a mechanical box equipped with 10 forward and two reverse gears. Differential locks are pneumatically activated.
Rear linkage lifting power with one assist ram on the smaller three models is rated at just over 3t. An extra assist ram for the 7341 results in a 4t capacity.
Completing the basic specification is hydrostatic steering, wet disc brakes (hydraulic optional) and 540/1000 rpm pto.
Four-model URI range from Zetor spans the 60-80hp bracket.
Plenty to see, and plenty of mud greeted visitors at Birr, Co Offaly.
Zetor UR1 tractor
Transmission10 x 2