Boasting decades of expertise and excellence, P&R Regan Timber Harvesting is an outstanding, industry-leading family-owned and –operated timber harvesting contracting company located near Loughrea in County Galway. We travelled west and touched base with director Robert Regan to discuss the history of the family business as well as the range of professional services provided.
The P and R in P&R Regan Timber Harvesting are PJ and his son Robert from Ballinakil, Kylebrack, Loughrea in Galway. The company was established in its present incarnation as recently as last year but the genesis of one of Connacht’s premier timber harvesting contractors dates back more than three decades to the 1980s, when PJ – who hails from an agricultural background and still does some farming today – started out as a sole trader. Robert followed in his father’s footsteps and also began working with timber at a young age; eventually the father-and-son duo decided to set up a partnership.
“My father has been harvesting timber for more than 30 years,” confirms Robert, intimating the wealth of experience and expertise that the Regans have accumulated over the years, nay decades. “He started cutting timber with a chainsaw and tractor and did that for years before investing in a forwarder. He was one of the first in the region to buy a forwarder and he then added more machinery over the years and built the business up.”
A harvester was acquired four years ago and has been upgraded on a few occasions since to ensure that optimal service levels are provided at all times. In this line of work, where the machines have to work hard, regular fleet replenishment is important. “You have to keep things as new as you possibly can and be prepared to spend money,” Robert notes.
Pride of place in the P&R Regan Timber Harvesting fleet today goes to a fresh, immaculately-maintained Ponsse Fox harvester and an 810D Timberjack forwarder, alongside a Fendt tractor and low loader to move them from site to site. Particularly renowned for their ability to deliver keen hardwood harvesting solutions, PJ and Robert are hands-on directors and carry out the vast majority of the work themselves, although they also enlist the services of two part-time workers, at weekends or in the evenings.
Robert is pleased to report that they were flat out during the summer – not a bad complaint seeing as some sectors of the economy were ravaged by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and in particular the national lockdown that ensued…
“It was actually the busiest we have been at that time of year in a long time,” he says. “The Covid didn’t seem to affect us at all. I suppose we are isolated enough around here anyway and that stood in our favour. Thankfully, business wasn’t affected and there was good demand for our services.
“Forestry is a good long-term investment and more and more people are coming to realise this.”
Professional, value-added thinning and clearfelling services are provided, P&R Regan Timber Harvesting able to supply the manpower and machinery to ensure that everything is done promptly, efficiently and to the highest standards pertaining to Health & Safety.
Predominantly covering counties Galway, Roscommon, Clare and Offaly, P&R Regan Timber Harvesting work directly for landowners and farmers, while they also enjoy longstanding partnerships with nearby Murray Timber Group in Ballygar – one of Ireland’s largest sawmills – as well as EuroForest Ireland, who provide a complete harvest to marketing service.
While, ideally, it would be preferable to work as close to home as possible, Robert admits that this is not always possible: “We tend to travel a good bit into the neighbouring counties. You have to go where the work is but you also have to make sure that you remain competitive.
“I suppose it’s the same as in any business – there is a lot of competition. But once you keep new machines and keep them working well, then you should be alright. We have plenty of experience at this stage and we know what we’re doing, so we’re fairly well established, which results in a lot of repeat business as well as positive referrals through word of mouth.”
Experience is critical and this is not an area where P&R Regan Timber Harvesting will be found wanting. Indeed, to the contrary, PJ and Robert boast more than 40 years’ experience between them: “Dad has been at this since he was 20, while I left school at 16 and have been working at timber contracting for ten years already. I worked all over Ireland for other contractors and got plenty of experience that way. It’s great that we’re working together now and our main priority going forward is to continue providing the best service we can to our customers.”
Needless to say, Health & Safety is a prerequisite and P&R Regan Timber Harvesting are fully compliant with all the latest requirements, taking all the relevant courses and upskilling all the time to make sure their working environment is as safe as it can be.
Regarding their preference for Ponsse machinery, which is manufactured in Finland to cope with the most demanding of conditions, Robert concludes: “Ponsse machines are the most reliable. They are easier to keep going and never break down. They are up there with the best of them and we get a great service from Eamonn Scanlan in Emo, County Laois.”
P&R Regan Timber Harvesting,
Tel: 086 0757798 / 089 4757381
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 4, December 2020