Celebrating 10 years since its inception, Clarkill Farming Ltd is a small family-run business located outside Borrisokane, Co Tipperary which specialises in the producing of high quality Bord Bia approved potatoes. Irish Tractor & Agri learned all about the company from co-director Stuart Platt recently.
Clarkill Farming Ltd was set-up by brothers Stuart and Mark Platt in 2009 and today offers its clients services in Dammann Sprayers, Clarkill Potatoes and Agricultural Contracting.
With four full-time staff, the company operates from the family’s home base Clarkill, Borrisokane in Co Tipperary with clients all over the Premier County and across its borders.
The business itself has been built on service, reliability and loyalty, according to Stuart Platt, who was good enough to take the time recently and tell Irish Tractor & Agri what they’re all about.
“We’re established since 2009 and myself and my 2 brother’s Gary and Mark are directors of the company,” he outlined.
While Clarkill Potatoes and Dammann Sprayers are a huge part of the lifeblood of the business nowadays, the origins of the business date back to a time when the now 62-year-old Wray Platt was getting his company off the ground.
“My father Wray would have started out in the 1970s with a MF 165 and MF seed drill. This was built up while working in Gurteen Agricultural College. Since then it has seen Stuart, Gary and Mark evolve into the business. Not to miss anyone out, Heather, Jennifer and Leanne have from time to time found themselves behind the wheel of a Case or John Deere.
Putting it simply, it’s a business which has been built on service, reliability and loyalty and today Clarkill Farming offers a wide range of services in areas such as Birr, Roscrea, Nenagh, Terryglass and Portumna.
The company began growing potatoes in 2001. A few years later, as the area increased and sales grew, an 800-tonne refrigerated store was built which allowed the Platts to supply all year round to its customers.
Clarkill Farming Ltd now supplies wholesalers, supermarkets, butchers, local shops, nursing homes and restaurants.
Varieties grown are predominantly Rooster, Record and Golden Wonder. They are packed is sizes from 2.5kg, 5kg, 7.5kg, 10kg and 1 ton boxes and sold as Clarkill Potatoes.
The company’s most popular potato is washed rooster in all of these sizes.
During the warm dry summers, Clarkill irrigate the crops to insure that they get the highest quality potatoes for their customers in this even more and more demanding market.
All of the company’s potatoes are Bord Bia approved which insures the potatoes are grown to the highest standards.
“We’re growing 70 acres of potatoes that are predominantly rooster for the pre-packed market. They’re harvested for the retail and wholesale market,” explained Stuart.
All in all, the Platts are farming 900 acres, with a mixture of wheat, barley, oats, rapeseed and potatoes.
As for the fleet that the company are running, Case and John Deere make up the tractors down in Clarkill.
“We’re running Case Puma tractors John Deeres,” said Stuart. This is down to us having 2 very good dealers to back us up. Garahy Tractors in Birr and TFM in Templetouthy. This is the main reason in us staying with these brands.
The contracting side of the business focuses on mowing, cutting silage, spraying, discing, ploughing, reseeding, drilling cereals, round baling, big square baling, combining and hauling grain and straw.
Our silage outfit comprises of a JD 7400 forager kept moving by our 22’ Kane trailers and put away with ease by a Volvo L60G. All the grass is cut with a Kvernaland triple mower driven by a Case CVX230.
Clarkill runs 2 sprayers, an Agribuggy selfpropelled and a trailed JD 824. Both 24m can cover all the farm in 2 days. This is very important given the irish weather and busy schedule.
All the cereals and OSR are established with a 5m Vaderstad XL disc and a 6m Vaderstad Rapid disc drill. We find that this system is very flexible and land is improving with the use of a min till system. The plough is only used when necessary and for the potatoes.
Harvest machinery comprises of 2 rotary JD combines. A C670 and a CTS 9780 which we are very happy with. They are narrow on the road compared with a 6 walker machine and are gentle on the straw. Straw is then baled with a MF 2270 big square baler. We can clear fields quickly and they are great for transport.
Clarkill Farming Ltd keeps its machinery excellently maintained, updating the fleet whenever machines need to be rather than a strict replacement policy. Machines are bought new and secondhand depending on their workload.
In regards to its selling of Dammann Sprayers, it’s a venture which has gone very well for them since first starting, with self-propelled sprayers, trailed sprayers, mounted sprayers, golf course sprayers, rail track sprayers, airport de-icers and brine sprayers all on offer.
Dammann are very well established and are a premium brand. We have one selfpropelled machine working at Keogh Farming in Wexford which has met all expectations so far. It has gone very well since we took it on, thankfully.
So what has been the secret to success for Clarkill Farming Ltd after 10 years in business?
A lot of it comes down to the high calibre of service that they give clients paired with the top of the line machinery that they use. All of the machinery are fully gone through during the winter by ourselves and that makes the difference in the middle of a busy season. We have competitive rates and flexible paying arrangements.
“We’ve very little downtime here – we’re busy all year round – and we have had a very good relationship with our clients down through the years and still continue to have to this day.”
Just to finish I’d like to thank employees Chris Healey and Pat Phealan who put in the hours when needed. And very importantly to all our customers for their continued support over the years.
Clarkill Farming Ltd
Phone: 086 988 8498 or 087 410 2556
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 1, February/March 2020