Donard / Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow features some of the most breath-taking terrain in all of Ireland. As conscientious, experienced and thoroughly professional agricultural contractors who place a keen emphasis on quality and prompt workmanship, Charles and Marcus Fenton are playing their part in preserving the beauty and fertility of this lush landscape.
Fenton Agri Ltd. provide exceptional contracting services across Wicklow, Leinster and into parts of Munster. From their scenic Garden County base in Donard, the Fentons – who have been contracting for decades – have earned a reputation for delivering quality solutions on time, every time.
They’re renowned far and wide for their reliability and this is a direct result of the ethos of honest endeavour that has been consistently instilled into the business by both Marcus and his father Charles. “We do a clean and tidy job and we get in and out quickly,” explains Marcus when asked about the key to the business’s enduring success. “We run a very fresh fleet and we never let anybody down.
“There’s one farmer I’ve been mowing for now for the past 31 years. I always make sure I do that particular job myself personally every year, just to keep the sequence going.” There are two remarkable things about this anecdote: the length of the working relationship between farmer and contractor, and the fact that Marcus is still only 37!
“I started driving a tractor and mowing when I was only six,” he confirms. “Fenton Agri was started seven years ago and I would have done some contracting before that, for my father Charles, who in turn did contracting and farming with his own father.”
Marcus has been contracting full time since he left school at the age of 17. “I started off mowing and spreading lime and soon started spreading fertiliser as well,” he reflects. “I now do everything that’s over the ground. We don’t do any ploughing or sowing or any soil work but we do everything else – slurry (both umbilical and tanker), dung spreading, silage (bales and pit) and lime and fertiliser spreading. We also make a lot of hay and bale a lot of straw.”
In order to provide the best possible service, Marcus runs a stunning fleet of tractors and machinery. Tractor-wise, he operates seven John Deeres – two 16-reg 6150r’s, a ‘14-reg 6210r, a ‘13-reg 6210r and 6150r, a ‘12-reg 6210r and 2004 7920, all of which were purchased brand-new – as well as “the little baby”, a Massey Ferguson 4270.
The tractors are complemented by a truly magnificent collection of machines including three loading shovels (‘14-reg JCB 320s, ’13-reg Volvo L70G, ’03 reg Volvo L70G), six Bredal spreaders, two Bunning dung spreaders, two McHale f5600 balers and two Tanco wrap-and-stack wrappers, three Strautmann silage wagons (3601, 4001 and 4201), two tedders and two rakes and three Kverneland mowers (two 10ft and one 12ft).
“For the slurry, we have a 2500-gallon tanker and an umbilical cord which can go 1.7 kilometres. We’ve been using that system for seven years now,” the affable Wicklow man adds.
For maintenance, Marcus utilises the services of local John Deere dealer TFM (Templetuohy Farm Machinery Ltd.) in Enniscorthy to look after the tractors, while Gordon Hegarty & Sons Ltd. / Hegarty Farm Machinery in Tullow and Swaine Farm Machinery in Gorey help keep the grass care equipment firing on all cylinders.
Regarding the broad reach of his customer base, Marcus Fenton reveals: “We cover a fairly wide catchment area. For silage, we do three counties – Wicklow, Kildare and Carlow – but we have spread in every county in Leinster as well as Tipperary.
“As each year passes, I say I will consolidate the business but it keeps getting bigger. To be honest, I’m more than happy with the size it’s at but it keeps growing without me having to promote it.”
That’s what happens when you provide farmers with a service they can count on! Word spreads… “I aim for quality,” Marcus continues. “That’s always the priority, to do each job as well as it can be done. But that doesn’t come easy … you’d have to love it as well. My wife doesn’t see me much in the summer months when things get busy; she calls herself the sunshine widow!”
Gainful employment is generated for three men full-time alongside Charles and Marcus (two of whom – Ciaran and Alan – deserve special mention as they have been with Marcus for ten years, while Paul has two years under his belt), plus an additional six or seven part-time staff when high season kicks in. With an exceptional fleet of machinery and good men at their disposal, the Fenton Agri team are perfectly poised to delivery contracting solutions that cannot be bettered.
“I operate a four-year turnaround on all the tractors – with the exception of the 7920, which is part of the furniture – and the Volvos. This ensures that the fleet is fresh and in great working order at all times,” Marcus confirms.
As well as contracting, the Fentons also do a bit of farming themselves, with Charles running a sheep and suckler enterprise on some 300 acres, between owned land and conacre, Farming and contracting are very much in the blood and it seems that there’s always a new generation coming along ready to take over the baton.
“My mother, Martha, obviously plays a key role in everything and my brother, Nigel, gives us a great hand as well,” Marcus concludes. “His son, Ben, who’s twelve, is already showing a keen interest in it!”
The circle of life.
Fenton Agri Ltd.,
Tel: 087 6291230
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 4 No 9, November/December 2016