Bobby Doherty Agri Contracting has been providing an exceptional service to a large client-base in Co. Donegal for over half a century.
Based in Ramelton, which is about eight miles north of Letterkenny, the family-run business specialises in pit and baled silage, slurry spreading, septic tank cleaning and servicing, reseeding and low loader / dumper work. The Dohertys are also dairy farmers who supply their milk to Aurivo Co-Op in Killygordon.
“We farm 250 acres, about half of which is rented,” explains Alastair Doherty, who runs the busy enterprise along with his father Bobby and wife Lorraine.
“We milk 120 Friesian cows and also keep 40 replacement heifers and another 40 beef cattle. We only started in dairying in 2012 and have gradually built up the herd. The agri contracting business has been going strong for over 50 years. We offer a wide range of services, including septic tank cleaning and servicing which is in demand 12 months of the year. We cut 2,500 acres of pit silage and make up to 11,000 round bales per year.
“We employ four full-time staff and take on additional staff at busy times. We work within a 40-mile radius of Ramelton, going as far south as Pettigo. About 70% of our customers are dairy farmers who we offer whatever advice we can to.”
Committed to providing a top-class service and complete customer satisfaction, Bobby Doherty Agri Contracting has an array 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. Their longevity and success can be attributed to the knowledge, skill and expertise of their staff as well as the quality of their machinery. Bobby, Alastair and their highly-skilled team deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
From humble beginnings when Bobby started out with a Fordson Major tractor and rotavator, the Co. Donegal operator now runs a modern fleet of eight Massey Ferguson tractors (6290, 6465, 6480×2, 7485, 6616, 7718 and 7614).
“We had up to 15 tractors in the late 1990s / early 2000s when there were less contractors around. We’ve scaled back since then,” continues Alastair, who was the Teagasc Student of the Year for 2009 after completing his Advanced Certificate in Agriculture course at Teagasc in Letterkenny.
“D&M Farm Services in Derry are our local Massey dealers. We get our parts from Donegal Tractors in Letterkenny and Jonathan Stewart from Dunfanaghy takes care of the maintenance and repair jobs we can’t do ourselves.”
As far as grass machinery is concerned, the Dohertys have a CLAAS 890 self-propelled harvester, a Volvo L90 loader, a JCB 414 loader, a McHale 5500 round baler, a McHale orbital wrapper and two sets of Kverneland front and rear-mounted mowers. They also have three Abbey and two Hi Spec slurry tankers with capacities from 2,000-3,500 gallons. Two of the Abbey tankers are dedicated to septic tank cleaning and servicing for the likes of Irish Water, Donegal County Council and local hotels. “We have a waste permit licence for hauling sewage,” Alastair notes. Completing the slurry equipment are two Slurrykat umbilical systems which have 3km of piping.
In April of last year, Bobby Doherty Agri Contracting made the news when they sent some of their slurry plant to the Annagry, Belcruit and Loughanure areas of west Donegal to help put out wildfires that had been blazing.
Two other pieces of kit owned by the Dohertys are a Kverneland four-furrow reversible plough and power harrow.
All machines are regularly maintained and serviced to avoid any breakdowns or downtime. There is no such thing as a quiet time for this agri contractor who will literally work around the clock at peak times to keep their clients happy. They retain long-time customers and attract new ones by providing a professional, reliable, friendly, clean and value-for-money service.
Alastair is full of praise for his staff who work hard and enjoy a great rapport with customers.
“We’re very lucky to have such a good team around us. We would always give a young lad a chance because he can often turn out to be your best asset. We don’t rule anyone out.”
Like most contractors, it was business as usual for the Dohertys during the recent lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while an exceptionally dry spring resulted in reduced first cut silage yields, Alastair expects second and third cut yields to be much improved.
“If anything, the lockdown made life easier for us because the roads were much quieter than usual. We didn’t have any traffic to deal with. First crops of silage were very light this year, but we’ve had a lot of rainfall since and the next cut should make up for it.”
Alastair concludes by thanking his customers for their continued support: “If it wasn’t for their loyalty, we wouldn’t be still here after 50 years. They have stuck with us through thick and thin. Our aim at all times is to provide them with the best possible service. We’ll always go the extra mile for them.”
Bobby Doherty Agri Contracting
Telephone: 086 3858358
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 3, October/November 2020