McGrath Agri Contractors and Kiltown Agri Services are part of a family run business that provides an efficient and loyal service to a large customer base.
For this month’s edition of Irish Tractor & Agri, we profile the McGrath family, who are based in Kiltown, The Rower, Co. Kilkenny. Thomas, Dermot and Patrick McGrath with the latter speaking to us about the services they provide.
First, we take a look at the agri services that they provide and how they got into this line of work in the first place.
“Our late father Tom would have been a contractor all his life, despite the fact that he had no land of his own and neither do we. We focus solely on the businesses and don’t do any farming ourselves. We would have about an acre of land at the yard and that is it,” said Patrick.
“Our father spent all his left contracting and was doing it right up until his passing, which was 51 years in total. So, we are always around tractors and machinery, and it was a natural progression for us to get involved in the business.
“The customer base was built by my father and he had one of the first forage self-propelled harvesters in the area. He would head off for a week at a time cutting silage as they could be anywhere in counties like Waterford and Tipperary.”
Their father had a massive influence on their careers and Patrick admits that they didn’t need much convincing to get involved.
“We all love what we do and I don’t think we could see ourselves doing anything else to be honest. That comes from our father.”
Service-wise, the team offer the full pit silage services, baled silage, mowing, ploughing, tedding, raking, reseeding, hedge-cutting, slurry (including trail and shoe), agitating, Dung Spreading, lime spreading, bulk fertiliser spreading, sowing and even landscaping. Not only this, but they also offer dump trailer services, fodder haulage and much more.
To carry out this work, they have an impressive fleet of tractors and machinery that is kept in pristine condition at all times.
Currently within the McGrath ranks, they have a fleet of nine tractors on the go, varying in makes and models. Tractors: Case Puma 150(2019), New Holland T6080, New Holland T6030, Valtra T170, Tm165, 2 x New Holland 8360, New Holland TL90A, Ford 7840.
Grass: McHale Fusion 3Plus, New Holland Fx50 and 2205 forage Harvester. Claas 2900 rake. Deutz Topline Combine 4070. Deutz 2780 combine. SaMASZ mowers. Slurry/Dung – Hi-Spec 2,500 gallon with trail and shoe. Richard Western 12 tonne dung spreader. Other: Two McConnell Hedge-cutters. JCB 414S loading shovel. JCB 416S loading shovel. Dump Trailer. Simba Express disc cultivator. 3m Kuhn power harrow. 4M Kuhn power harrow. Kverneland 4-furrow reversible plough. Kverneland 3-furrow reversible plough. Bredal K65 lime spreader. Bogaballe M2W 4Tonne and AGREX 3.5 tonne (GPS ready) fertiliser spreaders.
“We do maize on a small scale, while reseeding would be a big part of our workload. We also do dump trailer and low loader work too.” He added. “Fertiliser and grass seed would be huge for us as it takes up the whole season and keeps us busy. “Grass seed is actually all spread with a quad bike…We are not big believers of drilling in grass seed, we try to broadcast all grass seed, for better results.” The Kilkenny man said.
Patrick spends a lot of time in the workshop where he has developed a number of pieces of equipment that have helped aid their work, some of which has proved to be a great success.
“I would always be looking at ways of improving the work that we do and we have brought a few ideas to reality which have worked really well for us.”
The McGrath brothers, their partners and children, along with their mother Margaret are very much involved in the day to day running of the business as they look after all the invoicing where a tight rein is kept to ensure there are no credit issues.
This November sees the Agri Stores opened four years and it has gone from strength to strength during that period. Dermot looks after this area of the business as Patrick revealed they all have their own areas to ensure everything runs smoothly, even though the businesses are all the one.
“We have our different areas and it works well between us. Dermot runs the store and it is basically open seven days a week. We would never turn anyone away as we know the needs of the farmers.
“There are thousands of parts stocked here including genuine New Holland parts, Fleetguard filters and any accessory that you could imagine.
“A wide range of batteries are stocked also. We would be big into stocking the major brands and supplying quality products to our customers.” McGrath Agri are sales agents for AGREX Fertiliser Spreaders, Metal-Fach equipment and full range of SaMASZ grass equipment.
The three brothers make up the core of the team, with one other full-time employee on the contracting side and another working in the team’s agri-parts shop. The brothers are also helped out during the peak season with some part-time drivers, mainly during the summer and also their uncle Billy.
The three contracting brothers are happy enough with their workload at the moment, with no major urge to add any further services to their ever-growing list of jobs. They will though, continue the hard work which has proved them well thus far, while striving to continually make their customers happy through jobs well done.
McGrath Agri Contractors
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 7, December 2019/January 2020