Murray Contracts provide a mint service

7 Feb , 2023  

Murray Contracts is a leading agri contracting firm specialising in pit silage, round baling, slurry spreading and tillage. The company operates from Killylea, Co. Armagh and has customers in Armagh, Monaghan and Louth.

Established in 1999 by Melvin Murray, the business continues to go from strength to strength by providing superior service and complete customer satisfaction. Murray Contracts has an array of machinery to carry out your agri contracting needs quickly and efficiently, offering you value-for-money and an alternative to investing in your own expensive equipment. Melvin and his top-class team deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.

Melvin also has a dairy enterprise which he runs with the help of his brother Colin and son David. His father Robert was also a dairy farmer before switching over to beef a few years ago.

“I only got into milk four years ago, but I grew up on a dairy farm,” Melvin reveals.

“I bought a 40-acre farm in 2010 which is about the same size as the home farm three miles up the road. We also have 100 acres of conacre, which gives us 180 acres in total. We have 100 Friesian cows, the milk from which is supplied to Dale Farm in Dunman near Cookstown. My brother Colin does most of the milking for me in a Dairymaster unit. My son David also helps out with feeding the calves and the yard work.

“My other son Marcus is involved in the agri contracting side of things, while my daughter Sarah-Louise is a great help as well. My father is still going strong at 79. He’s into beef now and supplies to Linden Foods in Granville. His beef is top-quality and is sold in Marks & Spencer stores.”

Murray Contracts has earned an outstanding reputation and has become the agri contractor of choice for many farmers in Armagh, Monaghan and Louth. “Killylea is only three miles from Monaghan and we’re also quite close to Louth, so we have customers on both sides of the border whose business we greatly appreciate,” Melvin says.

From humble beginnings 23 years ago when he started out with a John Deere 3350 tractor, a CLAAS round baler – previously owned by the well-known Banbridge-based agri contractor John Dan O’Hara – and a Conor wrapper, the affable Armagh man now boasts an impressive fleet of tractors and farm machinery.

“My father also bought a John Deere 6610 tractor and 9ft Kverneland 3028 mower to help get me going,” he recalls.

“It was a big undertaking at the time. We did a lot of publicity work and advertising to get our name out there. We made 12-13,000 bales in our first year which wasn’t a bad start. In 2000, we branched into silage by investing in a Mengele harvester, a Renault 155 tractor and three Donnelly silage trailers. The business grew from there.”

Melvin is currently running eight tractors. They are a John Deere 6150R, a John Deere 6125R, a Massey Ferguson 7620, a CLAAS 820 Axion, a New Holland T6080, a New Holland TM155, a Case Puma 150 and a Ford 7740, which is used for feeding the cows and general farm work. For silage, Murray Contracts run a CLAAS 870 forage harvester, CLAAS 3200 double mowers, which are powered by the John Deere 6125R, a CLAAS 3200 mower which is run off the Axion, and a JCB 816 loader with 14ft buck rake. Melvin also has a JCB 310 loader for back-up and four new Donnelly 16-tonne silage trailers which came from TH Jenkinson in Middletown.

“We recently bought the CLAAS harvester from Alan Irwin Farm Enterprises in Benburb. It’s a 2010 model and replaced a John Deere which we had run for 15 years. We’re very happy with the CLAAS and the follow-up service that Alan provides.”

For baling, the contractor has a 2020-reg Kuhn 3135 baler-wrapper combination which is run off the Massey, and a Kuhn wrapper that is driven by the New Holland TM155. Melvin’s slurry equipment includes two Red Rock 3,500-gallon tankers with built-in Doda pumping systems, a new Conor 2,650-gallon tanker, which was also supplied by TH Jenkinson, and a Slurry Mate (Mastek) 1,500 metres umbilical system.

Melvin runs a small tillage operation, for which he has two Kverneland four-furrow reversible ploughs, a Kuhn one-pass seed drill and an Amazone power harrow. In addition, he has a Massey Ferguson 29 combine harvester with 12ft tedder for his own use.

“We’re doing less bales and more pit silage than we used to. We cut between 2,500 and 3,000 acres of pit silage and wholecrop per year, and make between 8,000 and 10,000 bales of silage, hay and straw,” he explains.

“This year’s first cut was very heavy. The second cut was light and the third was reasonable. So it wasn’t a bad year for silage.”

There is no such thing as a quiet time for this highly-regarded contractor 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.

All Murray machines are maintained and serviced on a regular basis to avoid downtime, with most of this being carried out either inhouse or by the aforementioned Alan Irwin. Machines under warranty are sent to main dealers such as Erwin Agri-Care and TH Jenkinson.

The Co. Armagh contractor has built up a large and loyal client-base: “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.”

Murray Contracts’ quality work hasn’t been compromised by soaring diesel and plastic bale wrapping costs. Passionate about agri contracting, Melvin would like to take this opportunity to thank his customers and suppliers for their continued support. He is also full of praise for his two full-time men and his family, who have been a huge support to him down through the years.

Murray Contracts,

Fellows Hall Road,


Co. Armagh.

Telephone: +44 (0)77 09356861

Email: [email protected]

First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 10 No 6, November/December 2022