Four decades of excellence for McPhillips Woodshavings

30 Jan , 2019  

McPhillips Woodshavings Ltd continues to be one of the country’s leading distributors of wood shavings and also delivers quality animal bedding. Irish Tractor & Agri learned more about the Co Monaghan-based company from its Managing Director, Sean McPhillips.

Coming up on 40 years in business, McPhillips Woodshavings Ltd is still delivering its customers quality week in, week out from its base just outside Newbliss in Co Monaghan.

The company has become renowned for its excellence in supplying animal bedding to the poultry, equestrian and dairy (sawdust) sectors all over Ireland, with its customer list revealing names such as Cobb Europe Western Brand Group and Manor Farm Group.

The high-quality products which are produced by the business are 100% pure white softwood kiln-dried shavings, with no recycled materials or MDF content. Every bale is dust extracted and composed of clean dry soft wood shavings, making it an excellent choice for animal bedding.

At the moment they are very busy in Drumloo South, where the company’s headquarters are located, having recently upgraded their facilities two years ago.

Managing Director and owner Sean McPhillips took the time to fill Irish Tractor & Agri in on what they’re all about.

“Right now we’re employing six staff and we’ve five trucks on the road,” Sean outlined.

“We’re very busy at the moment and we’ve had a couple of new customers come on board with us and we’ve also upgraded the facilities here to have two new bale machines in operation for us.”

McPhillips Woodshavings Ltd ensures a consistent quality of bales and that is achieved through an advanced production and control process, providing an ultra-compressed bale using state-of-the-art equipment.

Every single 25kg bale is vacuum-packed using a weather-proof, heavy gauge plastic cover which is then heat-sealed. Bales are then built on a 36-strong pallet, which is in turn wrapped and protected from all weather conditions.

Shavings are readily available in bales or bulk and sawdust can also be provided in bags or in bulk.

The benefits of McPhillips wood shavings are manifold: quality-assured poultry bedding offers biosecurity, excellent absorption, comfort, hygiene and better crop results; sawdust is super absorbent, ideal for cow mats and offers a practical and value-for-money solution; equestrian shavings boast excellent soakage and absorption properties and are also soft, comfortable and easy to muck out.

Looking back on the history of his family’s business, Sean, who took over operations in 2010, stated:

“It’s coming up on 40 years now as my father (John) would have started the business in 1979. I think it was around ’95 that our local mill expanded and, as a result of that we expanded.”

He continued: “My father had broiler chickens himself and was also farming beef cattle. He found that it was very difficult to get a good supply of quality shavings so he started getting them himself from Agnew & Co, the timber importers in Redhills, Co Cavan.

“They just had a small mill at the time and as they have grown, we have grown. He started using those shavings on his own farm and soon enough other poultry growers in the locality were making enquiries about them and he realised that there could be a business opportunity there, so he started supplying them.

“From there, we branched out and got into different timber mills in Dublin, Galway (ECC, Corr Na Mona) and Clare and started bringing the shavings up to Monaghan for distribution.

“One thing led to another and the business kept growing. He started to supply Grove Turkeys – and still does – and then Western Brand in Mayo also came on board and we picked up more and more customers before getting into the equestrian side of things.”

For Sean, the business model is simple but very effective…

“We take the shavings from the timber mills and distribute them into the poultry farms and other clients,” he outlined.

“We have our own baler in situ at Agnew & Co, baling the 25kilo packs, which are popular with equestrian centres for topping up etc. As well as poultry farms and equestrian centres, we also supply dairy farmers with sawdust, straw and bales of shavings.”

Wood shavings would have been classified as waste 17 years ago but are now considered to be a by-product, which has meant an increase in cost for the Newbliss-based business. However, this hasn’t prevented Sean – and his father before him – from continuing to develop at an impressive rate.

So what has been the secret down through the past four decades for the company? Sean feels it comes down the quality they’ve continually offered their clients.

“I suppose it’s just down to quality and the fact that we try to deliver that every day for our customers,” he said.

As for things on the home farm, Sean still keeps three chicken sheds with some 175,000 broiler chickens inside them.

Those chickens are sold to Manor Farm and more recent times have seen the McPhillips’ family investing in 120 acres of forestry land which will be ready for harvesting in about 20 years.

It all makes for a bright future for McPhillips Woodshavings Ltd and who’s to say there aren’t 40 more years to come from this family-run success story in Monaghan?

McPhillips Woodshavings Ltd,

Drumloo South,


County Monaghan.

Tel: 047 548 18

Mob: 086 884 4027


[email protected]

Web: www.mcphillipsshavings.ie

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 6 No 6, September/October 2018