Based in Donard, Co Wicklow, Fenton Agri Ltd are experienced agricultural contractors who have built up a reputation for providing a quality and professional service for more than three decades now. Irish Tractor & Agri caught up with Marcus Fenton recently to learn all about this thriving business down in the Garden County.
Business is good these days at Fenton Agri Ltd and the plan for father and son Charles and Marcus Fenton is to try and keep things that way right through to 2022 and beyond.
Operating with nine tractors in its fleet, the family company has placed emphasis on quality and prompt workmanship since day one.
It provides its services across Co. Wicklow and Leinster, with some of its customers remaining loyal to them for over 30 years now.
Irish Tractor & Agri touched base with Marcus Fenton to learn all about the company and its secret to continued success down through the years.
“We have four full-time top class employees, plus myself and my father,” Marcus outlined.
“Right now, we have nine tractors and we keep them updated on a regular basis. We maintain a modern fleet, including two Volvo loading shovels and two JCB teleporters.”
When it comes to tractors, John Deere is the brand of choice for Fenton Agri Ltd. The business currently operates with four 6155s, three 6215s, a 7920 and a Massey Ferguson 4270 in its fleet.
When it comes to maintenance, Fenton Agri Ltd deals with TFM (Templetuohy Farm Machinery Ltd) in Enniscorthy for its tractors, while Gordon Hegarty & Sons Ltd/Hegarty Farm Machinery in Tullow, Swaine Farm Machinery in Gorey and Cooney Furlong in Enniscorthy maintain the company’s grass care equipment.
Every piece of machinery goes to good use down in Donard, where they continue to get busier and busier.
These past 12 months in particular have seen a major increase in the company’s slurry services.
“Slurry has really expanded for us, especially this year,” Marcus pointed out.
“We’re running two 12m Mastek dribble bar pipe systems which go up to 3.4km with the two pumps joined together, mostly in 5-inch pipe.
“We have a 4,700-gallon SlurryKat, a 4,000-gallon RedRock – both with 12m Mastek dribble bars – and a 2,500-gallon Hi-Spec in our fleet, so you could say that haulage of slurry has really increased for us recently.”
Even in these unprecedented times, business seems to be flourishing for the Fentons and it’s safe to assume that having such a broad range of services has done the company a world of good.
Government lockdowns brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have affected companies nationwide, but Marcus is glad to report that it’s been business as usual these past 12 months or so at Fenton Agri Ltd, whilst maintaining the highest PPE standards.
“Lockdown hasn’t really affected us,” he stated plainly. “I suppose we’ve been very lucky in that way because there are lots of businesses across the country suffering.
“Hopefully, things will improve over the next couple of months and start to open up more and more.”
So, the burning question is – what has been the secret to success for the Fenton family in Donard down through the years?
How has a small family start up grown to the stage where it now operates with an impressive fleet and clients that have been with them more than three decades now?
According to Marcus, quality and reliability go a long way with customers in this line of work.
“The regular customers keep coming back to us and we’re always grateful for their loyalty,” he said.
“I think they choose us because of the quality of work and the fact that they know we’re reliable. Over the years, as our customers’ have grown their businesses, so too has our business grown alongside them.
“One distinct result of this growth is that we now maintain a fleet of four Strautmann silage wagons, two McHale F5600 balers chased by a Wilson Monster Move 12 bale transporter, with two Tanco wrappers on the front of the JCBs for wrapping and stacking in the yards in one motion. We have also recently branched out into ploughing and re-seeding as well.”
Coming from a farming background, customers can also be assured that the Fentons know the industry inside-out and can help with whatever contracting-related issue they may have.
Charles Fenton himself runs a sheep and suckler enterprise so farming and contracting is very much in his family’s blood.
The next generation is already beginning to show a keen interest, with Marcus’ nephew Ben starting to become more and more involved in the farm and the business, while Marcus’ mother Martha and brother Nigel continue to play a key role in everything. Marcus’ wife Niamh looks after administration, whilst taking care of their tractor-mad three year old, Adam.
“We’re still running the same family farm here and, come silage season, we’ll have to add a few more seasonal employees to make sure that all of our customers’ demands are met,” Marcus said.
With that, one can understand why the company has earned a reputation for delivering quality solutions on time, every time.
Looking towards the summer months, Marcus says he and the team at Fenton Agri Ltd are keen for one thing in particular.
“Favourable weather is badly needed,” he said. “If the sun could shine during the week and rain at the weekends that would be great! The weather last summer (in 2020) started well but finished poorly. Hopefully, we can have improved weather throughout this summer, and after that we’re happy enough to keep going the way we have been going.”
Fenton Agri Ltd,
Tel: 087 629 1230
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 4, July/August 2021