Moloney Agri Ltd is one of Ireland’s top agricultural contractors and even has the award to prove it, having scooped the Farming Independent / Zurich Insurance Contractor of the Year award for 2014 in Dublin on May 9 last.
The Clogheen, Co. Tipperary-based concern was one of three contractors shortlisted for the prestigious award along with Eugene Headon Farmers & Agri Contractors in Naas, Co. Kildare and Tony O’Mahony Agri & Plant Hire in Bandon, Co. Cork. As well as earning the title of Contractor of the Year, Moloney Agri received a cash prize of €2,500.
In its inaugural year, the awards scheme featured eight separate categories – agricultural contractor of the year, dairy, beef, tillage, sheep, equestrian, alternative and other enterprises. Judging was based on a number of criteria, including standard of the machinery fleet, operator training, health and safety, cash flow management and environmental standards. The judges for the contractor competition were Derek Casey, machinery reporter with the Farming Independent and John Kennedy, inspector with the Health & Safety Authority.
“We were delighted to receive the award,” Thomas Moloney of Moloney Agri enthuses.
“It reflects very favourably on our business and the service that we provide. We were nominated by PAC (Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland), which we are a member of, and were judged on various different aspects of our business. It means a lot to receive this kind of recognition.”
Moloney Agri is a family-run farm contracting and tree care company based outside Clogheen, which is eight miles from Cahir, four miles from Ardfinnan, 13 miles from Mitchelstown and 14 miles from Clonmel. The business was established over 45 years ago by present owner Jim Moloney, who is joined in the company by his wife Maureen and son Thomas, who is also the company’s safety officer. The Moloney family are also beef cattle breeders.
Moloney Agri employs five full-time staff, with this number rising to nine during peak season. The company’s mission statement is to “provide a range of agricultural services designed to maximise the productivity and profitability of their customers’ farming operations.”
Among the services offered are round baling and wrapping (for silage), hay baling, slurry spreading, wood chipping, fertiliser spreading using GPS guidance systems and saw and flail hedge cutting. In recent years, the Moloneys have branched (excuse the pun!) into tree surgery covering all aspects of tree care using NPTC City and Guilds certified chainsaw operators to spread the workload throughout the year. Services include tree felling, woodchipping and chainsaw use from both rope and harness and MEWP.
While about 65 per cent of the tree care work is done for farmers, some tractors have been modified to accommodate tree surgery for semi-state bodies and civil engineering companies. The key to winning these contracts has been Moloney Agri’s dedication to health and safety, top-class training and high machinery maintenance standards.
“Most of our farm contracting work is carried out within a 20-mile radius of Clogheen, but when it comes to the tree care side of things, we could be working anywhere within a 150-mile radius,” explains Thomas.
“Our quality is influenced by the quality of our equipment, our knowledge and our staff. Together these components combine to deliver the value and quality farmers now expect from their agricultural contracting partner.”
The Moloneys operate a fleet of 11 modern New Holland tractors, which range from 100 to 180hp. This year alone, they have invested in a new tractor, a Moffett saw hedge cutter, a welger round baler, a NC road sweeper and a McConnel 8085 Tele-VFR hedge cutter, which has a forward-reach telescopic system. At the time of writing, they were awaiting delivery of this state-of-the-art machine (it’s the first of its kind in the country) from M&S Machinery in Cashel.
Moloney Argi’s other equipment / plant includes two round balers (Welger and McHale), two Pottinger mowers, one Abbey slurry spreader, McConnel and Moffett hedge cutters, silage rake and tedder, loaders, agitator and slurry pump, wood chipper, dump trailer, cherry picker and various other equipment.
Servicing and repair of machinery under warranty is carried out by the relevant dealers, but the rest is carried out in-house at the company’s workshop. The Moloneys keep maintenance and inspection forms for each machine, while all equipment is subject to a weekly inspection.
“Regular servicing is crucial for any farm contractor. You have to keep machines operating. You can’t afford any breakdowns or downtime,” stresses Thomas.
As another silage season draws to a close, Thomas believes that most farmers will be happy with the quality and yield of this year’s cuts.
“It was a good year weather-wise which is always a help when it comes to silage production. In general, the silage was of a very high quality. The first cut was a lot earlier than last year when, as every farmer remembers, the winter dragged into April and May, leading to a fodder shortage and genuine hardship for many,” says the young farm contractor.
As mentioned already, Moloney Agri is a member of PAC, which represents the interests of Irish agricultural contractors at local, national and EU level as well as on Government agency and NGO committees.
The benefits of being a PAC member include: assurance of professional and independent representation; first stop professional, impartial advice on machinery, employment law, finance or any issue affecting your business; telephone helpline; health and safety advice; exclusive access to information on issues that affect you and your business; national meetings; discussion groups.
Looking to the future, Thomas says the family-business will continue to offer a service that is second to none. He also identifies slurry spreading as a potential growth area.
“We are committed to providing a top-class farm contracting service. We expect demand for our slurry spreading service to grow as farmers have invested in bigger storage tanks but have not updated their slurry tankers because they feel the contractors can spread and cover the ground faster, especially in the springtime when they are busy with other things.”
Moloney Agri Ltd
Telephone: 052 746 5120
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 5, October 2014