Malone Farm Machinery Ireland is a company that is renowned for its commitment to innovation and creativity in the agricultural sector. Irish Tractor & Agri touched base with its Sales Manager, Fearghail Connolly recently to find all about the business, its origins and some of the products it has on offer for clients.
2022 marks 23 years in business for Malone Farm Machinery Ireland and sales at the moment are strong for the agricultural products manufacturer.
That’s at least according to Fearghail Connolly who has been with the company for the past 13 years and is its current Sales Manager, operating from HQ in Ballyglass, Claremorris, Co Mayo.
Now employing 45 staff and distributing its wide range of products across three different continents, Malone Farm Machinery or, as its better known ‘Malone’, has always appreciated the needs of their customers as being central to its growth.
Irish Tractor & Agri spoke with Fearghail to learn more about a thriving company which prides itself on providing Grassline Technology for professionals.
“Mike Malone is the managing director of the company and his brother Jarlath looks after production,” he outlined. They are both heavily involved in R & D and in all aspects of new product design.
“The business would’ve been originally established by Mike in 1999, making log splitters and post drivers and in the last 12 or 13 years we’ve got more and more into grass equipment.
“We try and bring a new machine on the market every couple of years and it takes a few years testing before we can actually bring them on the market.”
Indeed, it’s fair to say that grass machinery has been the focus for Malone for the best part of a decade-and-a-half now, as today it offers a wide range of agricultural products including, mowers, tedders, wagons, post drivers, log splitters and toppers.
2003 was when Malone first started to manufacture toppers and it proved hugely successful from an early stage.
The initial plans that year had been to make 25 toppers and, by the end of 2003, the company manufactured 450, such was the demand.
The demand has remained high ever since, with Malone’s toppers being the most popular machines amongst customers all these years later.
In 2009, another huge step was taken by the company as it launched its self-loading wagons and, two years previous to that, it expanded into the UK market and has since exported its products to South Africa, Costa Rica, Chile and as far as New Zealand.
All of that considered, it’s safe to label Malone a success story at this stage and it’s one which Fearghail Connolly has been proud to be a part of.
The Co Mayo native has been part of the team in Ballyglass 13 years now and, putting it simply, he says he loves what he does.
“I’d have a bit of a farming background myself and would’ve also been involved in sales over the years before I started here,” he said.
“Farm machinery is something I would’ve always had an intertest in and it’s a job that I really love doing every day.”
An award-winning business renowned for its excellent products, Malone also endeavours to look after its employees and that approach has seen its staff numbers swell up to 45 strong.
Last year saw the company experience one of its busiest years yet and, after the first month, 2022 has started off in exact same vein with the phone constantly ringing with customers’ enquiries.
“We came off a good year for sales in 2021 and 2022 has started off very strong for us,” explained Fearghail.
“Farmers and agri contractors seem to be out early this year for whatever reason and we’ve had a lot of enquiries in for a lot of equipment already.
“Of course, there has been no shows in Ireland or the UK with the Covid pandemic, so that’d be one of the reasons why we’re so busy with enquiries at the moment.”
Ironically, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government lockdowns which followed in order to combat the spread of the virus, has actually served to largely benefit companies like Malone.
As Fearghail says, 2021 was “a record year” in regards to sales of post drivers while farmers in general remain as busy as ever all over the country.
“I suppose when the pandemic started in March 2020, people might have got excited and jobs weren’t getting done,” said the Sales Manager.
“We’d have had a record year on post drivers during the pandemic because you had a lot of lads that were at home and seeing what could be done around the place.
“Overall, the pandemic has been fairly good to the farmer and dairy men and that, so we can’t complain.”
To this day, Malone’s tedders are the most popular product that the company has on the market.
The 2015 Ploughing Championships saw the launch of its Malone Tedd-Air range which immediately proved a huge hit with customers as it allows farmer and contractor to increase the dry-matter content in crops quickly by speeding up the drying process.
As for the agri shows themselves, normal times would see Malone’s products at up on 15 to 20 shows a year worldwide and the hope is that they get back up and running soon, as things begin to get back to some sort of normality.
So, the burning question is, what has been the secret to such success over the past 23 years for Malone?
How has a small start-up grown into a flourishing business which now employs over 40 staff and distributes its wide range of products across three different continents?
For Fearghail, it all comes down to the fantastic dealer network across the island of Ireland and also the continuity of excellent service.
“Malone would be known for providing a good, strong and reliable machine,” he said.
“If there’s any problem, we have a great back up service for our customers and are always there for them when they need us.
“I think a lot of people like our products here because there’s lots of strength in them.”
Looking towards the coming months for the company, it’s no surprise to hear the optimistic tone in the Sales Manager’s voice.
The plan is to keep going like they’re going in Malone and perhaps bring out a couple of new and exciting products along the way.
“We’re looking forward to launching a couple of new products, including mounted disc conditioner mowers.
“Hopefully, things can continue the way they have been and we can have another strong year in 2022,” he concluded.
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 10 No 4, July/August 2022