Many businesses focus on one specialty, but for those that offer a wide range of services in different sectors, it allows them the peace of mind that if any particular industry is quiet then chances are the other will be busy.
This has stood Coral Plant & Agri well over the years as they provide services in both the agricultural and construction sectors.
These days, the business is run by brothers Cormac and Alden McBreen from their headquarters in Shercock, Co Cavan. The business was initially started by the guys’ father and uncle back in 1985 when the focus was on baling.
Innovation has always played a major part in the success of the business and McBreens bought one of the first round balers in the country during the mid-eighties and they followed that up with one of the first net-balers in Ireland.
Over the years, there were a number of agricultural services added to the business and these days they include slurry, reseeding, hedge cutting, fencing, stitching grass, baled silage and much more.
When Cormac and Alden decided to take over the family business, they had been working on tower cranes and they had a knowledgeable background of the construction industry. So, the decision was made to run a plant hire business alongside the agricultural contracting, oh and the guys also farm their own land where they rear sucklers.
“We are always busy,” said Cormac. “The construction is quiet at the moment due to the lockdown, but we have now started slurry work and the contracting side of the business is busy.”
With the ban on slurry being lifted in the month of January, the aim now is to get through their customer base and give them services that they are accustomed to.
“The slurry work is taking off now, we do all types of slurry work as in tanks, splash plate, trail shoe and the umbilical system, so the customer has a choice of which they prefer, it all depends on the land really and it was wet enough at the moment.”
Coral Plant & Agri have top of the range machinery at their disposal, which is upgraded on a regular basis, as well as the machinery they have for the slurry work, two McHale balers and a McHale Orbital Wrapper. A 1000 PTO baler is run as it is easier on fuel consumption, while they have six tractors made up of Massey and Claas.
“We would keep all the machinery in good condition, and we upgrade on a regular basis, We get a great service from the likes of Arthur O’Neill at McHale, Leinster Farm Machinery, Martin’s of Bailieborough, while we get a service from Earth Engineering and Denis Madigan, for our plant equipment and this includes four track machines, two Komatsu and two Case as well 18 Meter Manitou teleporter and a New 2550 Roto Teleporter which has only recently been bought from Jim McAdam Equipment Ltd.
“We would do a lot of mulching rushes to whins running two Seppi Machines one tractor mounted and one track machine mounted the Seppi is a very good machine you pay for what you get and service with Anthony in GES is second to none.”
To carry out their hectic workload, Coral Plant & Agri employ up to 50 people at peak times with many of the workers operating between the contracting and the plant hire.
“Most of the lads would be doing both. This way they are always busy and not out of work. We have had to put a few lads on the pandemic payment this time around, but hopefully we will have a full complement back soon.”
The company has some long-standing customers, many of whom have been there since their father and uncle were running the business.
“The majority of our customers on the contracting side of the business would be with us over 30 years. We cover a big catchment area that would include Shercock, Bailieborough, Cootehill, Carrickmacross, Kells, Nobber and parts of Louth, so we would be working in four counties throughout the year.
“On the plant hire, we would do a lot of site clearance on new builds, but we would also have a good bit of work in Dublin. Both the contracting and plant hire and Labour hire all go hand in hand, and we manage to work it as best we can.
“We are very fortunate with the lads that we have here, they are very experienced, loyal, and most can turn their hands to anything and this is great for us as we often have to pull lads from one job to go to another and that could be from plant hire to contracting or vice versa.”
We are pleased with the direction of the business even though the pandemic has slowed down their plant hire work, but he is confident that there is light at the end of the tunnel in that regard.
“We are an essential service with agricultural contracting, so we will always be busy at that, while the plant hire has slowed down, I do feel that once we get back going, there is plenty of work out there for the foreseeable future.”
We live by the rule “If you love your job you never work a day in your life.”
Coral Plant & Agri
Mob: 087 9981474
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 3, May/June 2021