A family affair

16 Aug , 2019  

Based in Fergus, Co Cork, Cronin Agri Brothers is a third generation agri contracting company now run by three brothers from its base in the heart of the Rebel County. Irish Tractor & Agri learned all about the business from one of its directors, Derry Cronin. 

These are busy times at Cronin Agri Brothers and the plan for brothers Derry, Trevor and Greg is to keep things that way down in Fergus, Co Cork. 

Set-up by their late father William decades ago, the company has grown from strength to strength in offering close to the full range of agri services. 

The brothers are also milking 150 cows and farming 350 acres – between being owned and rented – which are a mixture of grain, maize and grass. 

Operating a dairy farm, sees the Cronin brothers taking on up to seven staff – all of whom are very reliable – during their busiest time of year and they’re once again fast-approaching what is sure to be another busy summer season.

Irish Tractor & Agri learned all about the ins and outs of the business recently from Derry Cronin, who was good enough to take time from what’s becoming an increasingly hectic schedule for his family company.

“We’re agri contractors that basically offer our customers the whole package and on top of that we’ve our own farm as well,” Derry outlined.

“Baling is one of the main aspects of the agri business and we’ve two McHale balers here and do anything between 12,000 to 13,000 bales a year here. 

“We’d also cut between 1,700 and 1,900 acres and have two slurry tankers as well. Trevor does bulk fertiliser for us and last year would have seen us covering somewhere around 25,000 acres.”

Zero-grazing is another string added to Cronin Agri Brothers’ bow as of late and something which the siblings will be hoping to expand on again further this year. 

Derry was happy to report that the first 12 months with the new zero-grazing system has gone very much to script for the company.

“We started it in February 2018 and we’re happy enough with how it’s went so far,” he stated.

“We’d initially bought it for our own work on the farm here and just felt that it was something our customers might want as well.”

He continued: “We do a lot of plant hire as well have two 20-tonne dump trailers here so as we can continue to offer all the general work.”

Having a sizeable repertoire of services always helps any agri contractor’s cause, but for Derry the success of his family’s company to date goes much deeper than that.

For him, it’s down to the trust that has been established with clients from ‘Day One’ and he sees that – more than anything – as being the reason why Cronin Agri Brothers can look forward to another busy summer. 

“We just try and provide the best service for them and we don’t go mad looking for new clients,” Derry put it plainly.

“Repeat business is a big part of what we do here and it’s better to have than having to go looking for work. We have customers here that go back to my father’s time and we just try to give them the best service we can all year round.”

As for the tractors in the Cronin Brothers Agri fleet, New Holland seems to be the preferred choice of brand for the brothers with one Case Puma 230 also in their yard.

All of the company’s tractors are from 2012 through 2018, with Derry not ruling out the possibility of adding another to the fleet before the end of this year. 

“We’ve six New Hollands, once Case and there’d be another tractor then that we’d hire out for the summer. We’d hire one or two more off farmers as well,” he said.

“When it comes to the tractors we have here we’d be buying off John McCarthy in Ballincollig. 

“We get our tractors serviced and buy parts from Mc & S and Lynch & McCarthy.”

The fleet at Cronin Agri Brothers in its entirety reads as follows: New Holland T7 270, New Holland T7 270, New Holland T7 270, New Holland T7 260, New Holland T6180, New Holland 740, Case Puma 230. 

As aforementioned, the company is also operating with two balers which are McHale Fusions (2+3), a PÖTTINGER mower, while they’ve a Lely rake and tedder. 

Both of the slurry tankers are Slurry Kats, one of which has a trailing shoe, and the Cronins are also operating with a 4.5tonne mounted spreader and trailer for spreading fertiliser. 

The fertiliser end is a big part of the business now and this year will see the Cronins running a 4.2 tonne ZA_TS and 4 tonne Kuhn axis spreaders, with one tri axle and one double tri axle trailer which are both fitted with augurs. 

A Volvo 210 track machine, three silage wagons and dump trailer complete the machinery fleet in which they operate with down in Fergus, where they’re also running a Moore Grass stitcher.

Since taking over the running of their parents’ business over a decade ago, Derry, Trevor and Greg have certainly continued to steer it in the right direction as 2020 looms closer and closer.

This year will be about keeping things on the right path by keeping clients’ satisfied and continuing to diversify with their zero-grazing during the spring season. 

“We’d plenty of work to keep us going in 2018 and so far things have been going well this year, thankfully,” Derry concluded. 

“Even with the drought at the start of last summer, we were still fairly busy. It was a difficult year for the farmers themselves so hopefully things will improve for them in 2019 and we’ll keep as busy as we were last year.”

Cronin Agri Brothers

Fergus, Dripsey, Co Cork

Mob: 086 347 4212

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 2, April/May 2019