The Great Grass Event has set a new world record for the number of self-propelled forage harvesters working simultaneously in one field.
The spectacle took place on Saturday, May 6, close to Trim, Co. Meath. It saw 105 self-propelled harvesters descend on the 100ac site; all but one worked on the day. There was also a tractor-mounted forager in action too. It was all organised by Combines 4 Charity, which was responsible for events back in 2009 and 2012 which saw 184 and then 208 combine harvesters set world records.
The Great Grass Event was run in support of several charities including Barnardos, Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre (Drogheda) and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (Dun Laoghaire).
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The gates opened at 10:00am to the public, who streamed onto the site over the course of the day - with traffic jams reported up to 3:00pm due to the enormous number of spectators trying to get in to witness first-hand this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
People travelled from all over Ireland to be part of the day, as well as from overseas with some attending from countries such as the UK, Germany and even Australia.
The weather stayed dry overhead, allowing the 100ac of grass to be prepared by Farmhand (the Irish Krone equipment importer).
The field had been mowed by a trio of Krone mowers - a Claas Arion 650 fitted with front and rear mounted mowers, a JCB Fastrac with 33ft butterfly mowers and, if that wasn't impressive enough, a pre-production Big M 450 even made an appearance.
The grass was tedded using a Fendt 300 Series tractor coupled to an 8-rotor krone tedder. Finally, two Krone rakes tidied it up into 20ft swaths - in preparation for the army of eagerly-waiting foragers.
From 3:00pm on an air of anticipation swept across the site, as 113 tractors and trailers along with 106 foragers paraded around the field and then assumed their positions for the main event. Once in place, a flare was shot into the sky and 65,000hp roared into action - travelling down the field in unison and setting a new world record in the process.
After no more than seven minutes, the 100ac of grass that had been lying on the ground was now chopped and blown into the 113 trailers - waiting to be tipped in the nearby silage pit.
This event was a magnet for machinery fanatics, with foragers of all shapes and sizes taking part. There were also numerous trade stands, representing local manufacturers and dealers. One of the more impressive static displays included a 300hp Case IH Optum tractor.
Starting off with the trailers, they ranged in size from a small 12ft timber unit - pulled by an old-school Massey Ferguson 65 and side-filled from a Hesston - all the way up to 22ft Kane 'half-pipes' towed behind Fendt 936s and everything else in between.
Perhaps the most interesting trailers were the two 'compactor' units. One was from Northern Irish manufacturer Kompact Engineering; the other was from English-based K-Two. Although the day was very much about self-propelled machines, some self-loading forage wagons did also make an appearance - doubling up as trailers.
Tractor wise, there were some real gems in the mix - with people bringing out their biggest and best toys on the day. A black Case IH Maxxum 5150 (50,000th edition), as well as a silver Claas Axion and a Ford 7810 'Jubilee' were among the most eye-catching.
Undoubtedly, the main attraction had to be the foragers. Claas was in the majority; 41 of the machines present bore its livery. Next up was John Deere, followed by New Holland.
Krone, a later entrant to the self-propelled forager market, had seven machines in action.
There were also some rarities, including a Mengele Mammut 7800 and its red sibling - the now-famous 'Charity Case' 7400 (Case IH), which was restored for the event. It now looks destined to be raffled off at the National Ploughing Championships in September - to raise even more money for charity.
Drivers hauled their machines from all over Ireland, with some coming from as far away as Donegal and Kerry. Cork contractor Tony O'Mahoney took the opportunity to christen his new Claas Jaguar 970 - chopping its first blade of grass at the event.
Older harvesters were also in the thick of it, with two Hesstons and even a Mercedes MB Trac (coupled to a Pottinger harvester) keeping up with the pace. The most impressive 'classic' forager had to be a fully-restored New Holland 1895 Crop Cruiser - owned by Noel Kane (Kane trailers).
In total, over €30 million worth of metal was in action in front of the amassed crowd, making it one of the most notable events of its type not just in Ireland but possibly across much of Europe. Speaking that evening, Combines 4 Charity's Tony Brady asked: "Will it ever be repeated again?"