Since 1986, Ward Agri Contractors have been supplying a top class and efficient service to a loyal customer base who have been with them since the start.
Little did Padraig Ward know when he established the business 34 years ago that they would be still going strong today and he has been joined by his two sons Aidan and Mark in recent years.
Aidan joined the family business full time having studied mechanical engineering in college five years ago, while Mark has been full time for the past three years.
Together the Ward’s have built the business into what it is today. They have a wide range 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 with almost 40 years’ experience in agricultural contracting.
Based in South Roscommon near the Galway border and Ballinasloe, Ward Agri is very much a family business, which means that a friendly and personal service is guaranteed at all times. The operation has grown organically down through the years – through word of mouth.
“Today, 34 years down the line, the business is still getting bigger as we go on. We are bringing in new customers and, thankfully, we are busy all the time,” Aidan told Irish Tractor.
Not only does the Ward family boast more than 30 years of experience and a track record that is second to none in the province, Aidan and the lads also have at their disposal a superb fleet of tractors and agricultural machinery which he has assembled and maintained painstakingly and meticulously down through the years, always mindful of the fact that a modern fleet would provide key efficiencies and in turn a better service to clients.
A tremendous investment of personal care and attention to detail goes into every job, allied to an innate understanding of the land and a steely determination to get the job done right – and on time! – every time.
This is why the Ward’s have developed a vast customer base, many of whom have been with the family for between 30 years. It’s also why he is regarded as the premier agricultural contractor in Roscommon/Galway and has been for many decades.
The Ward’s fleet currently consists of a modern range of tractors, harvesters, slurry tanks, balers, etc, etc. The range of tractors include the T7200, TM155, TM150, T6020 and T5115 models, as well as Fiat 110-90 & Fiat 100-90, all of which were purchased in recent times to add to the growing fleet.
Needless to say, with such an extensive fleet at their disposal, they provide a full range of agri contracting solutions including baling, harvesting, slurry, hedge cutting and much more.
Slurry work is big part of the work provided by the Ward’s and tanker work is the preferred choice for spreading with the trailing shoe being a favourite amongst their customers.
Many contractors operate within a ten or 20 mile radius of their bases, and Ward Agri Contractors are no different as they cover a similar area.
“Fertilising and reseeding are a major part of the business as well as everything else, so we are kept busy usually all year around with Padraig looking after the majority of that work.”
Aidan looks after the hedge-cutting side of the business and he revealed that there is plenty of rules to adhere too when operating a hedge-cutter.
Of course, to do all this, Health & Safety is paramount and all the necessary permits are needed and kept up to date.
Agricultural contractors provide an important service to farmers, particularly at these busy times of the year. Many of the services provided to farmers by contractors, such as slurry spreading, harvesting silage, also involve serious safety risks if they are not correctly planned and managed.
“Safety is obviously paramount and there are various courses to be done. I had to do a course to get a cert to say that I could put safety cones down when I’m cutting. If I didn’t do that course and an accident occurred, it would be my fault whether I had the cones down or not.”
Aidan revealed that they carry out their own maintenance work to ensure optimum performance from every unit in the fleet, while a programme of continuous reinvestment and refreshment sees to it that Ward Agri Contractors consistently owns and operates the best fleet of agri machinery in the region.
“You have to invest in the fleet,” he says. “You’d renew it a bit every now and then as you see fit. There’s always money to be spent and you have to be prepared to do it if you want to keep offering a top quality service.”
Looking to the future, Aidan says the goal is to keep the business going strong and to continue to provide their strong customer base with a solid and dependable agricultural contracting service:
“We’ll keep providing the same service and hopefully we’ll keep the business going,” he concludes. “We have a lot of good reliable customers, who have been loyal to us over the years. We have always tried to do things right for them and they look after us too. We’d be lost without them. There are families there who I’ve been working for since my father started out and you would have to have a lot of respect for those people. We value all of our customers.”
Ward Agri Contractors
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 2, Summer 2020