Wickham Agri Contracts has been providing an exceptional contracting service to farmers within a 20-mile radius of its Clonroche, Co. Wexford base for the past 38 years.
Aidan Wickham was only 17 when he started the business which has become one of the leading agri contractors in the South-East. His services include pit and baled silage, dung and slurry spreading, ploughing, reseeding, corn and maize harvesting, crop spraying and drainage / land reclamation work.
Aidan is joined in the business by his son Jack and three other full-time staff. His wife Margaret looks after the bookkeeping. The Wexford man is also a tillage farmer who grows 400 acres (300 of which is leased) of winter wheat, winter barley and spring barley every year.
Committed to providing superior service and complete customer satisfaction, Wickham Agri Contracts 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 contracting firm’s success can be attributed to the knowledge, experience, skill and expertise of its staff as well as the quality of its machinery. Aidan and his highly-skilled and highly-motivated team deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
Aidan has come a long way since he started out pulling beet with a second-hand single-row Armer Salmon harvester and his father John’s Ford 4600 tractor all those years ago. He now runs a stunning fleet of nine tractors – five John Deere, two Fendts, a Massey Ferguson and a CLAAS. The John Deere’s are two 6210Rs, a 6215R, a 6155R and a 7530. The Fendt’s are a 939 (recently purchased new from Kehoe Bros Machinery in Camolin) and a 724, the Massey is a 7720 and the CLAAS is a 650 Arion. TFM in Enniscorthy looks after all of Aidan’s John Deere needs, and supplied him with a new 6215R last year.
His grass machinery includes a CLAAS Jaguar 980 forage harvester, a set of Krone EasyCut B1000 butterfly mowers – which are powered by the Fendt 939 – a CLAAS self-propelled mower, a Fendt 12.5m tedder, Pottinger four-rotor and two-rotor rakes, seven Smyth silage trailers (three 24ft Super Cubes, two 20fts, a 24ft and a 22ft), two McHale Fusion balers and two Volvo L90 loading shovels which are used for backing up silage on the pit and are also hired out to Glanbia.
The CLAAS Jaguar was purchased new from Kelly’s of Borris in 2019, as were the Fendt tedder and Pottinger four-rotor rake more recently from Kehoe Bros Machinery and Kelvale Agri in Glenmore respectively.
For slurry, Aidan has a Major 3,500-gallon tanker with trailing shoe and a smaller Major 2,600-gallon tanker with splash plate. He also has a NC dung spreader.
For tillage work, he operates two Kverneland five-furrow reversible ploughs, a Vaderstad 6.3m press, a Vaderstad 6m Rexius Twin, a Vaderstad 4m Spirit sower, a Pottinger 5m one-pass and a Samco six-row drill for maize. The sower was supplied by Cooney Furlong Machinery Company in Enniscorthy, the one-pass by Springmount Tractors in Gorey and the drill by Samco Agricultural Manufacturing in Adare.
Other machines operated by Wickham Agri Contracts include a new CLAAS Lexion 8700 combine harvester with 30ft head from Kelly’s of Borris, a Volvo EC220 track machine and a Bateman RB35 30m sprayer.
All machines are maintained and serviced on a regular basis to avoid downtime, with most of this being carried out in-house. Machines under warranty are sent to the main dealer.
The affable agri contractor has built up a large and loyal client-base in and around Clonroche, which is located about halfway between Enniscorthy and New Ross.
“There is a lot of competition from contractors in the area, so you won’t get work unless it’s the best of the best,” Aidan points out.
“We’re fortunate to have some great, long-time customers who have stuck with us through thick and thin. We’ll always go the extra mile for them. We pride ourselves on our efficient, reliable and value-for-money service. We get a lot of repeat business which is a sign that our customers are happy with us.”
There is no such thing as a quiet time for this highly-regarded operation which will work around the clock and take on extra staff at busy times to keep clients happy. Ploughing, sowing and slurry spreading take precedence in the early part of the year, followed by silage and baling during the summer months. After that comes corn and maize harvesting.
Rising fuel costs caused by the conflict in Ukraine are leaving contractors like Aidan with little choice but to increase their rates.
“Diesel has doubled in price in the last two years. Everything else has shot up too – machinery, parts, tyres etc – and we’ve had to raise our rates accordingly. If we didn’t, we would go out of business. That’s the harsh reality of it all.”
After nearly four decades in the game, Aidan remains as passionate as ever about agri contracting and looking after his valued customers. He would like to take this opportunity to thank them and his suppliers for their continued support.
Wickham Agri Contracts Ltd
Telephone: 087 2597372
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 10 No 5, September/October 2022