Based in Crusheen, Co. Clare, McGrath Agri is a third-generation agri contracting business run by father-and-son Mickey and Shane McGrath. The McGraths offer a wide range of services to local farmers, including pit silage, slurry spreading, reseeding, lime spreading, fertiliser spreading, crop spraying, livestock transportation and dump trailer hire.
Established by the late Michael McGrath about 70 years ago, McGrath Agri continues to go from strength to strength under the guidance of his son and grandson. “My father Mickey started on the silage pit when he was 10 or 11 and has been on it ever since!” Shane remarks.
“We’ve been in the business a long time and hope to be around for many more years to come.”
Committed to providing a top-class service and total customer satisfaction, the family business has an array of machinery to carry out your work quickly and efficiently, providing you with value-for-money and an alternative to investing in your own expensive equipment. The contractor’s longevity and success can be attributed to the knowledge, experience, skill and reliability of its staff as well as the quality of its machinery. Mickey, Shane and their highly-skilled team deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
“We pride ourselves on our service, machinery and staff. We have some great people working for us, including Joe Butler who has been with us for 40 years. It’s a real team effort.”
The McGraths run three New Holland tractors along with a Case Puma 155. Two of the New Hollands are T6080s, while the other is a T7200. The T6080s were purchased from M&S Machinery and Breen Farm Machinery, with the T7.200 coming from Joe Whelan Ltd in Kilrush.
Before the 2021 silage season got underway, the Co. Clare enterprise invested in a second-hand John Deere 7550 self-propelled forage harvester which is complemented by a JCB 416 loading shovel, a Kverneland 4332 conditioner mower with swather, two 20ft Broughan trailers, two Kane trailers (22ft and 18ft) and an NC 16-tonne dump trailer.
Other equipment / machinery operated by the McGraths include a Conor 2,000-gallon slurry tanker which was retrofitted with a dribble bar last year, a Conor 2,250-gallon slurry tanker with splash plate, a Conor agitator, a 3m Mandam disc harrow, a 3m SMS seed drill which is used for stitching and overground work, and a Bredal lime spreader. Mickey and Shane buy their lime from McGrath Quarries in O’Callaghan’s Mills and offer a spreading service to local farmers.
McGrath Agri also runs 14ft and 26ft cattle trailers, one of which is a converted artic trailer for the tractor to draw cattle locally as well as to surrounding marts on a regular basis.
All machines are maintained and serviced regularly to avoid breakdowns and downtime. There is no such thing as a quiet time for this highly-regarded contractor who will work around the clock during peak times to keep clients happy. The fleet is maintained both inhouse and by local mechanic Paul Nilan.
McGrath Agri works closely with another agri contractor in the area, Grady Agri, as Shane explains: “They offer the services we don’t offer and vice-versa. Their services would include baling, hedge-cutting and mulching. Grady Agri is run by Raymond Grady, who started out working with my father 30 years ago. They continue to enjoy an excellent working relationship.
“Like most agri contractors, the summer is our busiest time. We cut about 1,800 acres of pit silage each year. The rest of the year is divided between slurry spreading, fertiliser and lime spreading, reseeding and spraying. We’re also dairy and suckler farmers, so there is always something to do.”
McGrath Agri operates within a 25-mile radius of Crusheen, which is situated between Ennis and Gort.
“We cover most of north Clare and south Galway,” Shane continues.
“Our catchment area takes in Tulla, Feakle, Barefield, Corofin, Ruan, Tubber, Clooney, Killanena and Kinvara. We have some great customers who have stuck with us through thick and thin. We’d like to think that we do a good, clean job for them. We retain customers and attract new ones by providing a service which is second to none. We’re willing to go the extra mile and won’t leave anyone stuck.”
Agri contracting rates have increased across the board this year due to greater fuel and machinery costs. However, McGrath Agri are committed to keeping their rates as low as possible.
“We haven’t increased our rates in recent years and only increase them when we have to. Last May’s carbon tax hike has put pressure on contractors to up their rates. Our aim has always been to provide value-for-money for our customers without compromising our service.”
Shane is grateful for the support of his mother Anne and sisters Triona and Roisin as well as his brother-in-law Brian and girlfriend Rachel. Anne takes on the task of milking the family’s 44 cows during the busy silage. The milk is supplied to the Kerry Group creamery in Ennis.
The team at McGrath Agri would also like to take this opportunity to thank their customers and suppliers for their continued support.
Here’s to the next 70 years of this exceptional family business!
Telephone: 087 7735198 (Shane) / 087 8127236 (Mickey)
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 5, September/October 2021