Against all odds

14 Mar , 2019  

Agricultural Contractors depend a lot on the weather in order to get through their workload, their patience can be tested at times given the uncertainty of the weather in Ireland, but 2018 is set to be a year that they won’t forget in a hurry.

Just seven months ago, the island of Ireland was covered in snow and it was impossible to get out on the land as livestock were forced to be kept in sheds longer than usual. This meant that a shortage of feed hit as farmers began to panic. Roll on roughly four months and the country was hit with one of the warmest summers on record and this brought about its own problems for the farming community.

Agricultural contractors have been playing catch up since March and the latest setback has left them bewildered to say the least. However, they are well adept at adapting to the conditions and making the most of the unpredictable weather.

So for this month’s edition of Irish Tractor, we decided to focus on an agricultural contractor and we spoke to Fermanagh based Kyle Farlow who runs Farlow Agri Contracts.

“We are always at the mercy of the weather in this job, but I don’t think we’ve seen a year like this in a long time,” said Kyle who set up the business in 2001.

“The snow set us back a few weeks then we had the heatwave to contend with. Farmers were beginning to panic, but fortunately we got through the first and second cuts with the third cut now well underway.

“There is nothing we can do about the weather we just have to take what comes and when the weather turns good, we work long hours to get through the backlog to keep our customers happy.”

Farlow Agri Contracts provide the full range of agricultural services, which include, mowing, silage cutting, round baling, ploughing and reseeding, slurry spreading, dungspreading, hedgecutting and diggerwork.

Every service is carried out with a professional manner and this is why their customer base has grown considerably over the years.

“Many of our customers have been with us from the start,  we have worked hard and have managed to build upon our customer base over the years. As farmers ourselves, we know the need to get through the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. Like I said, there are big time constraints in this line of work, so it is important to get through as much stuff as you can when you can.”

A tremendous investment of personal care and attention to detail goes into every job, allied to an innate understanding of the land and a steely determination to get the job done right.

Not only does Kyle boast over 17 years’ experience and a track record that is second to none in the province, he also has at his disposal a superb fleet of tractors and agricultural machinery which he has assembled and maintained painstakingly and meticulously down through the years, always mindful of the fact that a modern fleet would provide key efficiencies and in turn a better service to their clients.

Regular, routine checks, servicing and repairs ensure optimum performance from every unit in the fleet, while a programme of continuous reinvestment and refreshment sees to it that Kyle consistently owns and operates one of the best fleets of agricultural machinery in the region.

”We are currently running eight tractors which are all New Holland, we upgrade them on a regular basis. It is important to keep the fleet well maintained and fresh, one thing that always needs to be avoided are breakdowns. They will always happen, but you can keep them to a minimum with a well-maintained fleet.

Our silage season is busy, cutting over 5000 acres of grass, it is important to have machinery which can cope with the workload, we run a Krone Big M 420 along with a Claas Jaguar 950, two Claas rakes and a fleet of five Donnelly trailers along with our two JCB shovels.

Kyle carries out a lot of slurry work, 99% of which is through the umbilical system .

“We run 2 umbilical pipe systems, both of which are complete with optional spread via dribble bar, which customers are opting for, we have capacity to pump slurry up to 2500 metres from the tank.  Further distances are covered with ferry tankers, we have three tankers, a 4,000 and two 3,000gls.”

As stated, Kyle and his wife run their own dairy farm where they milk 75 cows and he revealed that a new robotic milking system has helped ease the pressure.

“The cattle are kept in all the time and we have the robotic milking system for about four months now and it has made a huge difference to us saving time while increasing production.”

Kyle and the team have to travel up to 45 miles away to provide their services to their customers, but are happy to do so.

Looking to the future, Kyle says the goal is to keep the business expanding with three young sons coming behind and to continue to provide our strong customer base with a solid and dependable agricultural contracting service: “We’ll keep providing a good service. We have a lot of good customers, who have been loyal to us over the years. We value all of our customers. and look forward to bringing them a high quality service for years to come”

Farlow Agri Contracts

41 Ballgonnell Rd



Co Fermanagh

BT93 7AE

Tel: 0777 345 9281

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 6 No 7, November 2018