Based in Bawnea, Co Cork, Bio Plant & Agri Ltd specialises in all aspects of round baling, bales supply and bale haulage. Irish Tractor Agri & Plant spoke with company co-director David Bryan to learn all about the family-run venture – from its origins to the current state of business.
Formed as a limited company in 2006, Bio Plant & Agri Ltd has grown an excellent reputation amongst its customers for providing a quality and reliable service.
The company is a specialist when it comes to all aspects of round baling, bales supply and bale haulage and also provides a wide range of other agricultural contracting as well as plant hire.
These combined services have been key to the growth of the business down through the years and the plan for brothers David and James Bryan is to continue that growth into 2023 and hopefully beyond it.
Irish Tractor Agri & Plant touched base with David Bryan recently to find out all about this venture situated down in Bawnea, Kilbrittain, Co Cork.
“We’d have been sole traders since the late 1990s and in 2006 we joined together to form Bio Plant & Agri Ltd,” the co-director outlined.
“My brother James was the first to go into the contracting side of things. He worked with our neighbour for years and then started up himself before we came together to find this business.
“The two of us are here full-time then in the summer time we’d have more working with us, including my father John and another brother Ken as well. Anyone else we hire in, so it’s very much a family-run business.”
Bio Plant & Agri Ltd’s services cover a wide range when it comes to agri contracting, with baling grass, hay, straw and maize silage a primary focus for the company.
It also offers services in mowing, tedding, raking, drawing and stacking, as well as the sale and supply of grass, hay, straw and maize silage all year round.
As David himself explained, the plant hire end of the business has been scaled back over the past decade-and-a-half as agri services have become more of a main focus in recent years.
“The main thing for us would be bales, silage, hay and straw,” he said. “We grow maize, spring barley and grass which is harvested and baled for sale during the winter.
“In the winter, we’d be selling and delivering maize and do a bit of plant hire as well. We’ve kind of scaled it down a bit as of late, with one digger and one bulldozer, and concentrate mostly on work on one-off houses with it.
“The plant hire end is going since 1999 but has scaled down ever since the recession in 2007. Since then, we’ve concentrated on the agri side of things but still do the odd plant hire job and the odd concrete job as well.”
Overall, business at the moment is thriving at Bio Plant & Agri Ltd and, so far, it’s been following the trend of 2021.
Last year was a stellar year for the company, even with the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, government lockdowns and the rising costs in both machinery and fuel.
“Last year was very busy for us here but you’d definitely notice that the expenses are creeping up,” said David.
“There’s plenty of work out there and we’re keeping busy with it. The pandemic itself had no real impact on us other than the rising costs really.”
2021 saw Bio Plant & Agri Ltd adding a new tractor to its fleet in Bawnea and it may well add again next year.
Such is the high demand from customers at the moment, that the Bryans need to have the machinery on hand to ensure that services can be carried out to a tee for the client.
It, quite simply, is the name of the game when it comes to providing agri services for customers.
“We’ve three Deutz-Fahr tractors and the newest tractor that we’ve added is a Valtra T-254 that we purchased from O’Connor Tractors in Kerry,” said David.
“Last year we added a couple of balers, one of them was a New Holland belt baler and, in 2020, we added a newer Goweil G-1 Kombi model to the fleet. This year we purchased a second hand McHale V660 belt baler which is fitted with a Goweil G5040 wrapper unit. This is to replace the NewHolland belt baler and will be used mainly for hay and straw.
“In another year or two, we’ll probably think about changing a tractor but, for now, we’re happy enough with what we have here.”
So, all of that considered, what has been the company’s secret to continued success over these past 16 years?
How has a small start-up established by two brothers grown into a thriving business with a solid reputation amongst its customers.
For David, it’s all about the service and earning trust from those you’re providing it to.
“I’d say it’s down to the fact that we supply a good service with the bales and the end product is always good with the bales,” he said.
“Our customers know they can rely on us and I think they know we’ll be honest both time-wise and price-wise, which always is important to them.”
Looking towards the coming months for the business, David and James are both hoping for more of the same with regards to the rate of work out there at the moment.
However, there’s no getting around the fact that rising costs remain a concern going forward.
“This year expenses are going up, everything from bale wrap etc, everyone’s expenses are gone up.
“So, we just have to keep a level head and see how things work out. Hopefully, the costs will level out and we can keep at the same rate of work because we’re very busy at the moment and we want to stay that way.
“Honestly, I can’t see a drop off work-wise,” David concluded.
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 10 No 3, May/June 2022