Ballinadee pays tribute to 80 years of Ferguson tractors

July 30th, 2016 2:32 PM

By Southern Star Team

Checking on the grain for the De Courcey Classic Vintage Harvest Working Day, which takes place on Monday next, August 1st, in Ballinadee were – from left – Ann Burns, Irish Guide Dogs Assoication, charity beneficiary; Brendan Nyhan, Johnny Neill, Paddy McCarthy, landowner, and John Quinn.

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NEXT Monday (Aug 1st), the sixth annual DeCourcey Harvest working day will take place in Ballinadee outside Bandon. 

This year the theme is 80 years of the Ferguson Tractor and it will be officially opened by Andrew Pollock, editor of the Irish Vintage Scene magazine. 

While 2016 may be the 100th anniversary of the Rising, it is a lesser known fact that it is also the 80th anniversary of the start of production of the Ferguson tractor line, with the Ferguson Brown being manufactured in 1936. 

One of these rare tractors will be on display in Ballinadee at the event, courtesy of Mick Forde of The Farm in Grenagh.

As a result of the anniversary, there will be a large number of Ferguson tractors and Ferguson system implements on show and they will be demonstrated by their owners in a special ‘Ferguson tilling’ area.

Star attractions of the Harvest Working Day will of course be the growing numbers of vintage combines from all over the country that attend this event each year. 

Mick Forde has promised to bring a Massey Harris 726 combine, which he believes is probably the oldest self-propelled combine in Ireland. 

Another highlight of the event will be the annual raffle. Top prize will be a trip to London, thanks to the Barter Travel Group of Bandon.

‘The DeCourcey Harvest Day began in 2011 as an idea to put on a working demonstration using several restored vintage combine harvesters from the locality,’ said a spokesperson. ‘The event was very successful and the following year increased in size with both participant and visitor numbers doubling.’

Both 2013 and 2014 saw a radical change to the show, as sponsorship from initially Claas, and then New Holland, allowed the DeCourcey Vintage Club to organise an event of national significance on a 35-acre site. 

‘These shows attracted several thousand visitors to Barrell’s Cross in Kinsale. Both these events received much positive coverage in overseas publications, as well as in Ireland,’ added the spokesperson.

The harvest working day now features working areas with continuous activity. Harvesters, reaper and binders and every sort of machinery associated with the harvest past and present can be seen working throughout the day.

 Tilling is also well represented, with a ploughed field filled with vintage machinery turning the soil and planting crops.

Many horse-operated machines will be operating on the day. 

 Horses will be ploughing, harrowing, cutting corn, threshing and drawing cartloads of sheaves.

Also on site will be a picnic area surrounded by food outlets, showcasing some of West Cork’s best products. Last year’s participants included Clonakilty Black Pudding, Barracuda BBQ and Clóna Dairies. 

Of course, the event will also have a large static display of vintage commercial vehicles, cars and tractors. This section continues to grow each year. Continuing with the committee’s commitment to supporting local causes, this year funds raised will once again go to several local groups in DeCourcey’s parish, but the main beneficiary will be the Irish Guide Dogs For The Blind. 

A number of these gorgeous animals will be in attendance to meet the public on the day – always a huge draw with children, although their gentle nature is a big hit with every age group.  

Other groups in attendance will include the Ballinadee Development Association, the local Foroige group and Courcey Rovers Ladies football and camogie club.

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