An all-encompassing agri service

19 Dec , 2016  

Based in Lissanore, Castleisland, O’Mahony Machinery Hire Ltd. offer farmers an exceptional agricultural contracting service. They are also main agents in Kerry for PÖTTINGER farm machinery and run their own suckler enterprise. We travelled to the Kingdom and met Padraig O’Mahony to find out more about this outstanding, wide-ranging family operation.

With over four decades of experience providing optimal solutions to farmers in Kerry, O’Mahony Machinery Hire Ltd. is a top class agricultural contracting business fronted by the father and son team of Danny and Padraig O’Mahony. As a main PÖTTINGER agent for County Kerry, they also sell a superb range of farm machinery.

“For the contracting, a broad area in Co. Kerry,” notes Padraig, whose father has been looking after local farmers since the early 1970s. Under the O’Mahony Machinery Hire Ltd. banner, Danny and Padraig offer a full contracting service including varied silage and slurry solutions and any other service a farmer might require.

“Silage, slurry and reseeding are the three big things,” says the latter. “We’ve been at this a long time and a lot of the ‘old guard’ are still with us. Customer loyalty is important and generally speaking farmers will stick with you when you provide a good service. There are many families here who we’ve been working for since the 1970s.”

What’s the key to offering a good contracting service? “You have to operate good machinery – modern and well maintained. And you have to be there when you say you are going to be there.”

Mitigating factors include the weather and driver availability. “Weather is a big problem and the work is so seasonal now that it’s proving quite difficult to get drivers,” Padraig concurs. “Drivers won’t stick around for a few months’ driving work. Labour is definitely the biggest problem facing contractors in Ireland today.”

The condensed nature of the season is becoming more and more apparent with each passing season. “We were doing 20 acres a day in the ‘70s and can now do that in two hours, so there has been big changes,” Padraig continues. “Also, as farms are getting bigger, farmers’ sons are staying at home. The option of using young lads has also become less feasible because machinery is getting bigger and you can’t put a 16-year-old on them.

“The high cost of insurance is another big issue and the black economy is a huge threat. There are a lot of guys flying under the radar and they are making life very difficult for people who are doing the job right. This is something we are trying to address with the FCI (Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland).”

From their Lissanore base three miles outside Castleisland town, the O’Mahonys have been main PÖTTINGER agent for County Kerry for the past two years, supplying the best tractor-mounted and trailed machinery for use in tillage, drilling and harvesting. “We had been selling tractors prior to that but hadn’t done anything for a few years. PÖTTINGER provides a really good range of high-quality farm machinery and the man who really knows what he wants is buying them. We do sales, parts and servicing and the agency is going very well. They have upgraded and modernised their equipment and their forage wagons have a great name and are a big seller, while there is also big demand for PÖTTINGER mowers, rakes and tedders.” Good finance options available out there.

On the contracting side of things, the O’Mahonys run a fleet of six tractors (John Deere, Case, Hurlimann) and hire in an additional three during peak season. They also own and operate loading shovels, balers, silage wagons and a precision chop harvester, all of which are maintained and serviced in-house.

“We also supply reseeding, ploughing, disc harrowing and subsoiling services and offer an umbilical slurry system, which is very big with us because of the weather and soil type down here.

“A lot of preparations are done during the winter and we do a good bit of lime spreading before the summer. March – May is also a busy time for machinery sales, with new equipment coming in that has to be assembled etc.”

Padraig’s mother Helen is also involved in the family business, while Padraig’s sisters, Maria,Karina and Michelle help out during the busy times. Between the contracting, machinery sales and a suckler farm at home with some 80 cows, there’s always something to be getting on with!

Looking to the future, Padraig hopes to consolidate and expand the business on all fronts: “I’m hoping the contracting will keep going strong and that we can add a few more services,” he concludes. “We’re also hoping to expand the machinery sales in Kerry. We are only really finding our feet with the PÖTTINGER dealership but the equipment on the ground is performing extremely well and I can see that pushing on.

“If the gloom surrounding the agri sector shifts, farmers will spend more money and that would be good news for us on both the contracting and sales fronts.”

O’Mahony Machinery Hire Ltd.,
County Kerry.
Tel: 087 2531621

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 4 No 6, July/August 2016

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