Agri contracting has been a way of life for the Griffin family for over 35 years. Based in Ballinskelligs, Gerard Griffin & Sons Agricultural Contracting Ltd provides a top-class service to farmers on Kerry’s beautiful Iveragh Peninsula.
Like the Griffins themselves, the vast majority of their customers are suckler farmers. They calve over 40 cows on their 200-acre holding in south-west Kerry. Covering Ballinskelligs, Caherciveen, Waterville, Portmagee and Valencia Island, their agri contracting service include baled silage, slurry spreading, reseeding, ploughing, fertiliser and lime spreading, drawing bales and plant hire / excavation work.
“Our work is divided equally between agri contracting and digger work. We have six diggers which are used for land reclamation, drainage, site clearance and digging foundations for houses and other buildings. We operate within a 20-mile radius of Ballinskelligs,” Kevin Griffin explains.
Owner and founder Ger Griffin runs the business with his wife Joan and their sons Ger Jnr and Kevin. Committed to offering a professional and reliable service as well as complete customer satisfaction, Gerard Griffin & Sons have 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 Griffins deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
The Kerry contractors operate one of the most modern fleets of tractors and machinery in the country. They’re currently running eight tractors, including new SAME, Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini and CLAAS models. The latest addition is a SAME Vitrus 140 which they took delivery of from Pratt’s Garage in Cavan last October.
“We bought four new tractors in the space of 15 months,” Kevin explains.
“The SAME Virtus replaced a 191-registered Deutz-Fahr 6130 and will be used for raking and ploughing this year. Before that, we purchased a Deutz-Fahr 6165 from WW Doherty & Sons Farm Machinery in Tralee and a Lamborghini Strike 120 from O’Connor Bros Garage in Castleisland. My brother Ger also bought a new CLAAS Arion 530 from McCarthy Plant & Agri Sales in Cork in July 2021.
“The other tractors in the fleet are a 201-reg New Holland T7 210, a 181-reg CLAAS Arion 460, a 171-reg Deutz-Fahr 6180 and a 151-reg SAME Fortis 140. We try to keep our tractors and all our machines as fresh as possible to ensure a reliable and top-class service for our customers.”
Other recent purchases include a new McHale Fusion 3 baler from GA Allen in Banbridge, Co. Down, a new Fleming 2,000-gallon slurry tanker with dribble bar from Hoare Machinery in Killorglin, a New McHale rake from Buckley Agri in Listowel, a new HiSpec dung spreader from Kerry Agricultural Services in Killarney, a new Kverneland conditioner mower from Samco in Tralee and a new Hitachi ZX130-7 excavator from TBF Thompson (Garvagh) Ltd. Bought in January 2022, the Hitachi was put to work on the new N70 Brackaharagh Road project which comprised the improvement of 1.3km of the road between Castlecove and Caherdaniel, and is located on the Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way tourist routes.
The improvement works, which were overseen by Sorensen Civil Engineering, included the introduction of a new single carriageway as well as active travel facilities in the form of a segregated two-way pedestrian cycling facility.
“We had a few other track machines on that job which lasted 10 months and involved widening the existing road, installing a new cycle track and associated drainage works. We had a Hitachi 210-5, a Hitachi 130-6, a New Holland T7 210 and a JMP 18ft dump trailer as well as the new Hitachi 130-7 dedicated to the project,” Kevin continues.
“The other diggers we run are a Hitachi 130-5, a Hitachi 48U-5 and New Holland backhoe loader.”
The second-generation operation is now running two McHale Fusion 3 balers, having invested in their first in 2021. “The first one we bought has already made about 12,000 bales. It’s a great machine and hopefully the new one will be just as good. 2022 was a very good year for us. The good weather we had in the summer was a big help.”
Servicing and maintenance are carried out in-house while for bigger repair jobs, machines are sent to the main dealers. There is no such thing as a quiet time of the year for the Griffins who will work around the clock and take on extra staff at busy times to keep clients happy. Reseeding and slurry spreading take precedence in the early part of the year, followed by silage cutting and baling during the summer months. After that comes more slurry spreading, while the plant hire work is a year-round thing.
The business has come a long way since Ger started out with a square baler in the mid-1980s before adding a second one in 1992. He has received tremendous support from his family and employees Michael and David – not to mention his loyal customers – to make Gerard Griffin & Sons Agri Contracting the success it is today.
“We’ve lucky to have some great customers, some of whom have been with us from the beginning. We’ll always go the extra mile for them and pride ourselves on our efficient, reliable and professional service.”
The Griffins’ quality work hasn’t been compromised by soaring diesel and plastic bale wrapping costs. Passionate about agri contracting, they would like to take this opportunity to thank their customers and suppliers for their continued support.
Gerard Griffin & Sons Agri Contracting Ltd
Telephone: 087 4127216
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 2, March/April 2023
Gerard Griffin & Sons Agri Contracting