For more than four decades, Brophy Agri Services has been providing invaluable support to the farming community in County Carlow. Irish Tractor & Agri travelled to Tullow and sat down with general manager David Warren to discuss the ongoing success of a grain trading business that is built on strong relationships and a sense of community.
The genesis of Brophy Agri Services dates back to 1980, when Stan Brophy set up an agricultural merchants business on the fair green in Tullow, which was managed by his nephew Gregory Brophy, that would become an inherent part of everyday life in the local community and its environs.
This summer, David Warren succeeded Gregory as general manager of the long-established business and the challenge of steering Brophy Agri Services to the next level is not one he is taking lightly. David is determined to take his cue from the company founder and provide all customers with the exceptional level of service for which Brophy’s have become renowned:
“Greg retired in May after 43 years and I took over the day-to-day running of things,” he reveals. “Greg has stepped back after guiding the business to where it is today and I’m honoured that he has placed his confidence and trust in me to keep pushing the business along. It’s a big challenge but I’m certainly up for it.”
These are difficult times for grain growers in Ireland and Brophy’s will be doing everything they can to help them through the current uncertainty. “There’s unprecedented volatility in the grain market due to the Russia – Ukraine war but we have to deliver the best possible information we can to suppliers and growers so that they can weather the storm.
“We pride ourselves on fostering and maintaining good close, harmonious relationships and working hard with growers and suppliers on all sides. That is going to be more important now than ever.
“Relationships are key. Our main business is grain trading and we deal with a few commodity traders with whom we enjoy good relationships. We’re trying to get value for them and to pass that back to our growers.
“It’s all about supply chain integration and we have to make sure we are as fair as possible to everybody and that they all have a chance to progress and make a living.”
In a typical year, Brophy Agri Services sell up to 35,000 tonnes of barley, wheat, oats, oil seed rape and pulses, the vast majority of this going to commodity traders who in turn supply animal feed merchants and piggeries. They also supply some mills and get back a range of feed (dairy, beef, horse) from those mills, manufactured to the specification of local farmers.
Brophy Agri Services are immersed in the tillage sector and do everything in their power to support local tillage farmers in planning and producing their produce and getting it to market. To help them manage their enterprises, they have their own agronomist, Alan Burns, who goes on site, walks crops and advises farmers on what they should grow, selecting varieties and every other aspect of the growing process through to harvesting.
Brophy Agri Services are also experts in soil nutrition and supply local farmers with a full range of fertilizers. “We try to cater for everyone and if we don’t manufacture it we will source it,” David adds.
As with all businesses that serve the agricultural sector, Brophy Agri Services is first and foremost a local company with a local outlook and intent on supporting local people and businesses. This ethos permeates every facet of the company and David is adamant that it should continue to do so:
“We’re a local company, founded in and located in Tullow, and our focus is very much on Tullow and its hinterland,” David confirms. “We’re a proud Carlow company and five of the seven people who work here are from Tullow.
“Furthermore, all of our maintenance needs, structural engineering needs and non-agri-related needs are catered for by local people and we absolutely pride ourselves on being an integral part of the local community. We are very much relationship-focused and people-focused.
“The business has been part of everyday life in Tullow for over 40 years. We were in the green in the middle of the town up until 2010 before moving to our current location on the Carlow Road. During this time, we have built strong links with local businesses and local people. We’re very low-key, but are into promoting tradition, loyalty, mutual respect and synergies where everybody can progress and prosper.”
While the prevailing economic climate dictates that the challenges lying ahead are considerable, Brophy Agri Services has a strong history of delivering on behalf of local farmers, and the company is in a strong positon to continue doing so going forward:
“Greg has done a fantastic job over the last 43 years and he leaves the company in good health. And it’s just as well it’s in good health because of the challenges we are facing,” the general manager concludes. “The grain market isn’t where it needs to be at the moment to support growers but we will support them as best we can and hopefully the grain market will rebound soon.
“Brophy’s have seen other bad years and have continued to support growers through thick and thin. We will weather the storm through supply chain integration and we will all get through it together.”
Brophy Agri Services Ltd.,
Tel: 059 9151242
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 5, October/November 2023