From their well-appointed bases in Inniskeen and Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Dooleys Agricultural Ltd. provide farmers with the best animal feeds money can buy. We had a chat with general manager Joe Butler to find out more about one of Ireland’s premier agricultural merchants / millers, who have been delivering the goods big time for coming up on 40 years.
Since its genesis in 1982, Dooley Agricultural Ltd. (Dooleys Agri) has established itself as an essential link in the everyday life of the farming community across counties Monaghan, Louth, Cavan, Meath, Armagh and the North East in general.
A family-owned and -run agricultural merchants and quality millers, Dooleys provide superior animal feed throughout the region from their branches in Inniskeen and Carrickmacross.
Committed to consistently delivering the highest quality products and service, the team at Dooleys work closely with farmers to ensure the products they receive are tailored to their exact requirements. As well as being millers of distinction, producing a full range of exceptional animal feeds (beef, dairy, calf and sheep), they also supply grass seed, seed grain, milk replacer, fertilisers, agri chemicals, veterinary medicines, coal, cement and light hardware.
Members of the Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS), Dooleys go to great lengths to ensure that they offer farmers only the very best – and most cost-effective – products on the market, cases in point being Champion Calf Milk Replacer or Supergraze grass seed, both of which deliver unbeatable results. The experts at Dooleys Agri are on hand to offer priceless advice and guidance to their customers on a full range of issues, including all aspects of grassland management and reseeding.
Some other services provided include silage testing using an NIR4 machine, soil analysis and advice, fertiliser plans, bespoke ruminant diets to suit each particular herd, spray plans and crop walking.
Meanwhile, regular ‘farmer’s talks’ are hosted at sister company Dooley’s Restaurant, Edmondstown, Reaghstown, between Carrickmacross and Ardee on the N2. On Monday, January 20th, for example, the guest speakers were Katie Tiernan from Trouw Nutrition and John Gilmore from FarmLab Diagnostics, who is an expert in identifying cattle diseases on farms, how to eradicate them or reduce their significance. Topics covered included driving thrive in young bucket-fed calves.
Very much cognisant of the fact that quality inputs mean quality output, Dooleys make sure that the best ingredients go into all their feeds. To this extent, they are known far and wide for having access to the best barley in the country. Also key to the business is their immaculately-preserved old-style roller which presses and flakes the barley.
“Quality is the name of the game,” confirms general manager Joe Butler. “We don’t use any filler; just the best ingredients we can get and that’s why so many farmers keep coming back to us. For our dairy nuts and beef rations, we have worked extensively with leading nutritionists to drive on quality.”
Feeds are available in all sizes, from 25kg and 40kg bags up to bulk / blown deliveries, covering the entire North East region and even as far away as Fermanagh. The unique pressing mill and company HQ are located at the Inniskeen premises, straddling the Monaghan / Louth county boundary.
“We source native as much as we can,” Joe continues. “We have a large number of local suppliers and we buy 80% native for rolling. We have to import dry barley sometimes, while we also import most of our wheat as there’s not enough available locally. We have large stores here and we draw off the boats using our own fleet of trucks as well as engaging the services of subcontractors. We handle all the deliveries ourselves.”
A veritable hive of activity, Dooleys Agri generates direct employment for a team of 14. One of their targets over the coming twelve months is to grow their B-to-B business (sales to other co-ops / merchants). Meanwhile, local trade is omnipresent at the heart of day-to-day business, as Joe attests: “It’s very much a traditional agri merchants business, with a homely feel. We have all local lads employed and they are all knowledgeable. It’s a one-stop shop and anything that the farmer could need they can get it here. For example, if they want, they can come in with the spreader and fill it up here.”
While standard, high-quality feeds are readily available, a large percentage of the rations are tailored to the exact requirements of each customer, depending on what specific systems the farmer has in place… “About 60% of it is bespoke,” says Joe. “I can’t stand here and say there’s a ration to suit every dairy man because every dairy farm is different.
“We take it on a case by case basis, take in all the information they give us and come up with a ration to give the animal a balanced and high-performing diet. If you can get the best protein into a cow, you will get that back in the tank. You have to tailor it to suit each system.
“Our lads have a great rapport with the farmers and they are always available to talk to them and answer their queries. We will give our advice if asked because it’s always good to have a second opinion on things. We know a lot about nutrition and we can ring nutritionists on behalf of our customers if necessary.
“We’re a big part of the local community at this stage, with a lot of customers on our books and we are growing the business year on year,” Joe concludes. “A lot of farmers are changing their systems, to increase efficiencies and improve quality levels, so – as well as quality products – they are looking for advice on everything from calf rearing to milk replacer and disinfectant, etc. We are only too happy to help out in any way we can.”
Dooleys Agricultural Ltd.,
Tel: 042 9378266.
Tel: 042 9663018
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 2, Summer 2020