Celebrating 50 years in business, Cassells Agri Ltd is a leading agri contractor based in Rathvilly, Co. Carlow. The company is run by brothers Billy, Tom and Jim Cassells along with Jim’s son, Kenn and Tom’s son, Thomas. The Cassells’ are also large tillage farmers, growing wheat, barley, fodder beet, oilseed rape and beans.
Cassells Agri provides a top-class service to customers within a 25-mile radius of Rathvilly. The family-business specialises in silage and grain harvesting, sowing, ploughing, spraying, tilling, round and big square baling, bulk lime and fertiliser spreading, haulage, dung spreading, land drainage and excavation.
Billy, Tom and Jim initially focused on land reclamation before branching into silage cutting and beet sowing, which was very popular in the area before the closure of the sugar beet factory in Carlow in 2005. The family-run business now caters for nearly every aspect of contracting and even has its own weighbridge for weighing trailers of grain and fodder beet. The Cassells’ run the contracting business in conjunction with their tillage enterprise. Wheat is the main crop grown on the 1,000-acre holding in Ricketstown which comprises both owned and rented land. They also grow about 250 acres of fodder beet along with barley, oilseed rape and beans. The grain is supplied to Quinn’s of Baltinglass.
Committed to offering a professional and reliable service as well as complete customer satisfaction, Cassells Agri has a wide range of machinery to carry out work quickly and efficiently for their clients, providing them with value-for-money and an alternative to investing in their own expensive equipment. Their success and longevity are down to the knowledge, skill and expertise of their staff, not to mention the quality of their equipment. The Cassells deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
Cassells Agri runs a fleet of eight tractors consisting of seven John Deere (6215rx2, 6195r, 6150r, 7820, 7710 and 6800) and a JCB Fastrac. The 6150r is a new tractor with a bale loader. “We were thinking of going down the bale chaser route, but don’t have to now,” Kenn Cassells says of the latest addition to the fleet.
The second-generation operation has also invested in a new Krone BiG X 630 forage harvester and an AGRIFAC Big 6 beet harvester. “Tom Shaw (Machinery) sold his first Krone BiG M to us over 20 years ago which is still going strong and steered us towards the BiG X,” Kenn explains.
“We sell fodder beet to customers as far away as Co. Monaghan. We can deliver to them or they can collect the beet themselves. It keeps us busy during the winter when we’d otherwise be quiet. It also enables us to hold onto our staff who I cannot praise enough.
“We’re lucky to have four great lads in Kieran McGuirk, Peter Conway, Michael O’Brien and Stephen O’Brien who can turn their hand to any job. We also take on extra staff during the busy silage and harvest seasons.”
Other new equipment includes a CLAAS Lexion with 9.2m convio header, two 24ft triple-axle Broughan trailers, which are used for drawing beet, grain and silage, and a 16-reg Volvo FH12 500 truck which pulls two Fruehauf bulk trailers, a low loader and a flatbed trailer.
In addition, the Cassells’ run 20ft and 22ft double-axle trailers, a Hitachi track machine with a 400mm shears which is ideal for clearing overhanging trees, a Lely round baler, a Tanco square baler wrapper, two Bredal lime / fertiliser spreaders, a CLAAS rake, a Volvo L70F loading shovel, a Massey Ferguson 187 big square baler, Monosem 12-row and Stayhay six-row beet seeders, a Joskin dung spreader, a Horsch four-metre drill, Kverneland five-, six- and seven-furrow reversible ploughs, a Horsch Joker disc harrow, a Househam Merlin 6,000-litre sprayer with 30m boom and a Knight Crusader 24m beet sprayer.
All machines are upgraded on a regular basis to avoid breakdowns and downtime. Servicing and maintenance are carried out in-house while for bigger repair jobs, machines are sent to Kelly’s of Borris or TFM (Templetuohy Farm Machinery). Cassells Agri also enjoys an excellent relationship with ECI JCB, Gordon Hegarty & Sons, Broughan Trailers, Joe O’Toole Farm Machinery and their other suppliers.
There is no such thing as a quiet time of the year for the busy tillage farmers and contractors. Between the sowing, silage, baling, drainage and excavation work, haulage, lime and fertiliser spreading and grain and beet harvesting, there is never a dull moment.
“We do everything except for maize, round bale wrapping and slurry spreading. The rest is pretty much covered. We retain existing customers and attract new ones by providing a reliable, clean and cost-effective service,” Kenn adds.
While 2022 was a good year business-wise, it was tinged with sadness following the sudden death of staff member Leon Kelly in May. Tom Cassells also underwent major heart surgery and, thankfully, has since made a full recovery.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients and suppliers for their continued support as well as our team for their hard work, dedication and expertise.”
Here’s to the next 50 years!
Cassells Agri Ltd
Telephone: 059 9161127
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 2, March/April 2023