Making tracks

3 Jul , 2015  

The adverse weather conditions in Ireland mean that cutting silage is not a procedure that can be achieved at the same time every year, but when we do get ‘dry spells’, it is essential for agricultural  to move quickly.

To do this, they need a modern and efficient fleet of machinery that will stand up to the demands of this hectic period. However, this year’s weather has certainly favoured farmers and contractors alike.

For the last 30 years, Beckett Agri has provided a top quality service to a large customer base as the agricultural contractor built up a reputation for reliability and efficiency.

Beckett Agri not only concentrates on silage harvesting, but other services including slurry, baling, hedge cutting and plant work.

Based in Kilconnell, just outside Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Beckett Agri’s customer base covers parts from West Galway to South Roscommon, while the company revealed that to ensure customer satisfaction it was important to get a good job done as quickly as possible.

“The customers can choose between a self-propelled silage harvester, a forage wagon system or get their grass baled and wrapped,” explained Beckett Agri.

“The main aim is to get in and get the job done as quickly as you can with no compromise on quality. With the weather being so unpredictable, there is only a small window of opportunity to make silage, so it is a case of working 24/7 during that period.

“Fortunately, this year has been great weather wise and it makes life so much easier when you have a bigger window to work through.”

Having a top quality fleet and work force enables the company to get through large quantities of work at one time.

“We have a modern fleet of machinery which is very up to date and this avoids any unnecessary breakdowns that may occur. During the summer months, we have three silage outfits on the go and this allows us to get to a number of jobs at once. We have 18 tractors here, most of which are John Deere, while we also have a couple of Fendts and a Claas. The silage machinery includes five Strautmann wagons, one Claas harvester, numerous mowers, one Volvo and two Komatsu loaders, along with two McHale Fusion 3 Plus net free balers. A lot of farmers are showing a big interest in this new net free system.  It means the bales are wrapped and there are no twines or net on them at all.  This is time saving for the farmer both when feeding and afterwards for disposal.  The bales produced are also of a higher quality.”

Drivers have adequate training on a machine before being sent to operate it. The aim is to match an operator’s responsibility with his/her experience.
“All the workers have a lot of experience in operating machinery and we have to say that there is a great crew of seasonal workers here.”
Of course, operating such an extensive fleet means that the team use a lot of diesel. “The price of diesel is high, it is definitely one of the biggest overheads that we have.”

The majority of the maintenance work is carried out by themselves and Beckett Agri has the facilities to do this at their premises. They have two huge machinery sheds, so everything is housed for the winter and they do the most of the repairs and servicing work themselves.

William Beckett initially set up the business and is still involved to this day. His son Martin served his time as a mechanic before coming on board, while Martin’s mum Pauline looks after the administration side of the business.

As mentioned, Beckett Agri provide a number of agricultural services and for this time of the year, spreading slurry, muck and lime and hedge cutting is their main focus.

“We would do a lot of slurry and muck spreading, but it makes no sense to have the cut off point from October 15th to January 15th because December often proves to be a dry month.”

Plant work is another area that the firm specialises in and they are ready to start working on the new Tuam to Gort motorway in the near future.

“We will have a few machines on the job. The construction of a 57-km motorway – part of the so-called Atlantic Corridor on the west coast – will take thousands of vehicles out of Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam each day. It will be constructed as a Public Private Partnership project and will greatly aid an improved traffic flow and journey times in the west.”

In our industry, a cautious approach must be taken when obtaining new business.

“We have no plans to expand for the time being at least. You have to take a cautious approach when taking on extra work outside the farming sector, the farmers that we are working for now, are the ones that we’ve been dealing with since the company first started and they are our main priority.”

Beckett Agri’s great strength of being financially sensible and adopting the latest machinery to provide a quality, efficient and reliable service will ensure they remain a viable contracting business for years to come.

Beckett Agri
Co Galway.
086 782 9040

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 6, November 2014