Co Down based Moffett Livestock are a leading specialist in dairy imports and exports and supplied 3,500 cattle last year.
The father and son team of Ray and Bradley Moffett have used their extensive knowledge and contact base to supply cattle to many farmers both in Ireland and the mainland U.K.
Sourcing and supplying in-calf and fresh milking dairy heifers, their customer base covers not only Ireland and the U.K, but other European countries as well.
Bradley spoke to Irish Tractor about the services that they provide and how they have earned the trust of their customers, which is not easy when you are dealing with the farming community.
“That’s true, it can be hard to earn the trust of a farmer and rightly so, as they are putting their livelihoods into your hands when asking you to buy cattle for them,” said Bradley.
“We have built up an extensive client base over the last few years and we import and export cattle depending on where the customer is and what breed they want. We can source all breeds of cattle including pedigree and cross-bred Fleckvieh breeding females.
Bradley revealed that they have their own farm where the keep 310 replacement heifers all the time.
“My father would be on the farm, while I would be in charge of the exports so I would be out of the country a lot of the time on business.”
When Bradley revealed that they were just seven years involved in the importing and exporting of cattle, it came as a surprise to say the least, given the level of service that Moffett Livestock supplies to a customer base that covers many countries.
“We have always been involved in farming and I started off on a small scale buying cattle for a few people locally and it has just taken off from there. Farmers would come to us and ask us to pick out the cattle for them, so they are placing a great deal of trust in us.”
To transport the cattle, the company invested in their own truck, which Bradley stressed cut out the reliance on other hauliers to transport the cattle.
“We bought our own truck which is specially designed and has two decks. Now, we can move our loads when we went to and we are not reliant on others to do the work for us. The new cattle cruiser is completely different than what is used in Ireland at the moment. It gives more head height, more space and air flow. The cattle travel a lot better.
“A European permit allows us to operate throughout all the countries, but they all have different health permits that must be obtained.
“We focus primarily on the dairy market, but in more recent times, we have extended more into beef, but dairy would still and will be the core of the business.”
Health and safety is paramount with the Moffett’s both when transporting cattle and on their own premises where the facilities are kept in excellent condition.
“In the last couple of years, we have invested a lot of money into the yard at home to get to the standards needed to house the amount of cattle that would be passing through the yard on an annual basis.”
Bradley stated that word of mouth has been their best form of advertising as that old word trust pops up again, while social media has also played its part in promoting the business.
“If you do a job right and the customer is happy with what you have bought them, then they will tell someone else and that really was how we go up and running.
“The biggest form of advertising we can do is through social media, everyone is on it in some form these days, so you have to exploit that to get word out there about the services you provide.”
Bradley added that 2019 was tough as the uncertainty over Brexit hit the industry as it did many sectors in the country.
“Yeah, it was certainly a bit bleak last year compared to the previous year when he moved 3,500 cattle during the year. Brexit has put a cloud over a lot of decision making, but already, it looks as if 2020 will be a lot better.”
Bradley stresses that working closely with the customer is one of the keys to their success as their willingness to listen and advise has stood them in good stead.
“It is well-known that if there is a problem, we will sort it out. We supply good stock and I select the stock for 90% of our customers.”
With so much legislation and regulations to be adhered too, Bradley told us that it is essential to keep on top of all the paperwork, which is a job in itself.
“The livestock is one aspect of the business, but we also realise the importance of keeping the paperwork and records organised. We have a professional procedure for this end of the business too.” Bradley said.
Moffett Livestock have a full-time salesman in England as well as a full time driver and a lady in the office to look after that paperwork.
The team works well together and Bradley is hopeful that going forward they can build the business even further and see it grow.
“Our customer base is increasing year on year, which is massive for us. We are looking into buying a new trailer that hasn’t been seen on the Irish market before, and this will allow us to carry more stock. We are pleased with the direction of the business and the aim is to continue supplying the level of service that are customers are used too and build from there.”
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First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 3, October/November 2020