DS Agricon Ltd has been providing its customers with the kind of efficient service which keeps them coming back again and again. Irish Tractor spoke to company owner Damian Shally to find out more about the County Galway-based outfit.
Since 2005, Damian has been operating his own agricultural contracting business but his love for the industry itself stretches back a bit further than that. Farming has been a huge interest of Damian’s since he was a boy and right now he’s involved in the sort of work that he loves as the business continues to thrive. The company is based in Cloghans Hill, Tuam and employ two full-time employees Eddie McLoughlin and Michael Hughes and one part-timer David Devane on the contracting end.
“We offer a full range of farm services, re-seeding, baling and wrapping during the summer months and slurry work as well as hedge-cutting and digger work as well,” explained Damian.
“Our customer base is very much on milk production, with 65-70 per cent of our customers coming from the dairy production market. In the winter we do hedge cutting and site clearance. During the winter months we do a lot of maintenance as well.”
The secret behind the success is nothing special, according to Damian: “We keep costs down for one. Generally, anything mechanical we do it ourselves.”
That helps give the company an edge over the competition, so to speak, and in the agricultural industry you need to stay one step ahead of the game. That and providing a reliable service seems to go hand-in-hand when it comes to success in this particular line of work.
For Damian, the key section of his business has always been baling and slurry spreading which keeps him very busy during the summer months and also during autumn and spring with the slurry spreading. A great year weather-wise saw the busy times stretch into the autumn in 2018 and his maintenance work ensured that things ticked over during the winter before the spring rolled in and it all started again.
A slow progress often reaps the best rewards when it comes to business and over the years Damian, along with his employees, has gained a reputation for the excellent service that they provide.
“It slowly just progressed and just grew year by year. The ethos at this company is that we do a very clean and tidy job. That sort of stuck to us down the years and we do provide a very efficient service.
With regards to upgrading the fleet, Damian is mindful to ensure that all machinery is kept as fresh as possible.
“We have kept things sensible here, changing the balers every three years, while the tractors would be upgraded every four to five years and maintaining them ourselves which, as I said earlier, really helps when it comes to keeping down costs.”
Damian prefers John Deere tractors over the other makers, so we had to ask the question why?
“The product is good and reliable. When it comes to tractors we have a very good dealer that we work with to ensure that we get the best deals possible when purchasing a new machine.”
As stated, slurry work is a big part of the business and Damian revealed that for the past four years, they have been using the umbilical system, which he has been very pleased with.
“We use the umbilical system which we find has huge advantages over tankers, especially given the land that we are working on, which can be generally wet.”
Damian has an impressive fleet of machinery at his disposal including two Fusion 3 balers, four John Deere tractors, two track machines (13 and 15 tonne) a krone mower and much more.
DS Agricon Ltd doesn’t provide a silage harvesting service as Damian stated that due to big cutbacks in acreage, pits silage is not as common.
“We don’t do pit silage, there has been a massive cutback in the amount of land for silage and we just see more benefits in focusing on baling and wrapping.”
Tillage work is another area focused on, although Damian added that this type of work was not as plentiful as it has been in the past.
“We would sow about 100 acres every year. We would also do over 300 acres of reseeding and some land reclamation work for our customers.”
Away from the farming work, the company have been involved in a number of projects for both private builders and Galway County Council.
“We do a fair bit of digger work, we were involved in the construction of the Tuam bypass, while we have carried out a good bit of work for the local council, trimming roadsides and hedge cutting.”
Lime spreading has been added to the list of services in recent years as Damian spreads for McGrath’s of Cong using a 7-8 tonne Bredal Limespreader.
Damian concluded by thanking all his customers for their support over the past 14 years.
“Our customer base would include farms in Mayo and Galway, many of who have been with us years now and I would like to thank them for their support.”
DS Agricon Ltd
Belmont, Cloghans Hill, Tuam, Co Galway
Tel: 087 6107795
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 2, April/May 2019