Centenary ploughing celebrations at Killead

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Ploughing represents one of the major advances in agriculture, and for members of Killead Ploughing Society the art of “turning the sod” is steeped in history that can be traced back for several generations.

The Co Antrim society is one of the longest-established in Ireland, and is currently celebrating its centenary.

Sophia Erwin admires the horses at Killead Ploughing Society's 100th Anniversary match. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Sophia Erwin admires the horses at Killead Ploughing Society's 100th Anniversary match. Picture: Julie Hazelton

The society was founded in January 1916, and during its 100-year history members have witnessed the transition from ploughing with heavy horses to the introduction of tractors, and the advancement of modern technology.

A number of Killead members have represented the province at international level, and despite the introduction of modern equipment, the society’s objectives remain unchanged.

Ploughing enthusiasts from throughout the province, Great Britain and Ireland turned out in force to support Killead’s 100th anniversary match, hosted by David and Gloria Wallace and family at Ashdale Farm.

David Wallace has been society treasurer since 1976, and represented Northern Ireland in Canada in 1969, and Minnesota in 1972.

Pictured at Killead Ploughing Society's 100th Anniversary match are, from left: host farmer David Wallace; Councillor Mervyn Rea MBE, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan; and Samuel Pinkerton, chairman, Killead Ploughing Society. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Pictured at Killead Ploughing Society's 100th Anniversary match are, from left: host farmer David Wallace; Councillor Mervyn Rea MBE, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan; and Samuel Pinkerton, chairman, Killead Ploughing Society. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, the event attracted a number of dignitaries, including South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan, Councillor Mervyn Rea MBE, and office bearers from the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association, namely William King MBE (president), Wilson Holden (chairman), and Lindley Deans (vice chairman).

NIPA president William King MBE expressed his congratulations to Killead Ploughing Society.

“This is a special year, and we are grateful to Killead’s founder members who helped to promote ploughing in Northern Ireland. Members of Killead have ploughed at world level and held office within the NIPA. I’d like to acknowledge the dedication of past and present members who have contributed to the successful running of the association and its international matches.

“Killead Ploughing Society can look back with pride on its great legacy, and may its members continue to be good stewards of the society’s ‘Ploughing Inheritance’.”

William Gill, Moneyreagh, was placed second in the senior vintage class at Killead Ploughing Society's Centenary match. Picture: Julie Hazelton

William Gill, Moneyreagh, was placed second in the senior vintage class at Killead Ploughing Society's Centenary match. Picture: Julie Hazelton

A variety of methods and styles of ploughing were on show, with Co Down man Lindsay Hanna providing a horse and plough exhibition. Various models of vintage tractors with trailed and hydraulic ploughs were taking part in the competition.

“These included a utility model Fordon with Ransome RSLD plough used by Killead president Norman Erwin, and a selection of wee Grey Fergies, McCormick International and Massey Ferguson tractors.”

Local collectors provided a display of vintage tractors which included an Allis Chalmers – the first tractor purchased by the late Bob Wallace for Ashdale Farm in 1947; a 1953 limited edition McCormick International Farmall Super BMD – one of only ten painted gold for the Queen’s Coronation; and a Massey Ferguson Super 90.

Judges for the Centenary match included: William King MBE, William Hood, George Murphy, Tom McCracken, Harold Simms and Des Wright MBE – world champion in 1984 and 1986.

Rouge de L'Ouest sheep breeders from throughout the UK and Ireland were among the visitors to Killead's Ploughing Society's 110th Anniversary match, held at Ashdale Farm, Antrim. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Rouge de L'Ouest sheep breeders from throughout the UK and Ireland were among the visitors to Killead's Ploughing Society's 110th Anniversary match, held at Ashdale Farm, Antrim. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Champion of the field was 12” world-style competitor Brian O’Neill from Moy Ploughing Society; while the runner-up was world-style reversible ploughman Thomas Cochrane from Coleraine Ploughing Society.

Chairman Samuel Pinkerton expressed a sincere thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the Centenary celebrations.

“We are indebted to our many sponsors for their generosity, and the various land owners who have hosted the matches over the years.”

Competition results from the centenary match include:

Open world style – 1, Brian O’Neill; 2, David Gill; 3, Alan McAnally; 4, Rodney Crawford.

World style, confined – 1, Andrew Nevin; 2, Richard Pinkerton.

World style, reversible – 1, Thomas Cochrane; 2, Adrian Jamison; 3, David Wright; 4, James Coulter.

Reversible, under 25-years-old – 1, Ryan McCoy; 2, David Fleming; 3, James McComb; 4, Peter Allen.

Commercial reversible – 1, Alan Wallace; 2, William Johnston; 3, Gerald Erwin; 4, David Ward.

Senior vintage – 1, Ian Simms; 2, William Gill; 3, Tom Clyde; 4, Marc Gamble.

Vintage trailed – 1, Mark Taggart; 2, Norman Erwin; 3, Nigel Gamble.

Ferguson class – 1, Raymond Clifford; 2, James Fitchie; 3, Pauline Davison; 4, Jim White.

r Killead Ploughing Society’s annual dinner and prize distribution takes place in the Templeton Hotel, Templepatrick, on Friday 18th November 2016. Tickets are priced at £20 per person, and are available from society treasurer David Wallace on tel: 028 9443 2238; or chairman Samuel Pinkerton on tel: 028 9082 5257.