Based in Dunfanaghy, JS Farm Services tends to the machinery needs of farmers from across Donegal and beyond, importing new Tolmet and Premium disc harrows and sprayers as well as selling, repairing, servicing and sourcing parts for all makes of tractors and other equipment. Renowned far and wide as a Massey Ferguson specialist, Jonathan Stewart runs the popular business alongside his wife Magdalena.
Farmers and contractors from all over the North West and further afield can testify to the outstanding and wide-ranging solutions provided by JS Farm Services – a company which has been looking after their tractor and machinery needs for a quarter of a century and counting.
A meticulous and vastly-experienced technician and fitter, proprietor Jonathan Stewart knows tractors and all other types of agri gear inside-out. His passion and enthusiasm for machinery is boundless; combined with decades of experience in working with agricultural equipment – in particular the legendary Massey marque – his services are in high demand, not just in his native Donegal but island-wide, from Cork to the capital to Achill Island.
JS Farm Services imports heavy-duty Tolmet and Premium disc harrows and sprayers from Poland, for retail locally and also for wholesale through trusted partners O’Hara Machinery in Limavaddy, Sheridan Machinery in Cavan and James Masterson in Wexford
Having worked with Masseys all his life, Jonathan also sources and sells high-quality, pre-owned tractors and diagnoses, repairs and services all makes and models of tractors and machinery. As a member of the local farming community himself, running a suckler enterprise, he understands implicitly the needs of farmers and goes out of his way to provide services above and beyond the call of duty each and every time. Little wonder the phone is always ringing, with enquiries from all over Ireland!
Jonathan has forged strong, lasting relationships with partners and colleagues across the island and also in Poland, including Martins Garage in Bailieborough, County Cavan, while he also benefits from repeat business from numerous satisfied customers, including Bobby Doherty Agri Contracting and Bonner Plant Hire to mention just a couple.
“I started the business up 25 years ago, having served my time with Massey,” he reflects. “I suppose I am mostly known for my work with Massey when it comes to repairs but we look after all makes of tractors, machinery and plant. I have three working here full-time and we specialise in transmission / gearbox repairs.
“We import two very good brands of machinery from Poland – Tolmet and Premium – and these are proving to be very popular – robust machines that get the job done.”
Indeed, rather ironically considering the year that’s been in it with the coronavirus pandemic, Jonathan says demand for new and second-hand machinery has been unexpectedly strong in 2020: “This year has been crazy. We’ve been very busy with second-hand tractors. We also import most of those from Poland and the retail side has been much busier than I would have expected.
“Dunfanaghy is a small village and I expected sales to take a big hit due to the restrictions and loss of work but it really has been the opposite. It’ll be very surprising if this lasts. Next year is going to be interesting as the country can’t possibly be in good shape with all the money that’s being paid out. There has to be a major recession on the way. Hopefully not, but that’s how it appears to me.”
Although he has access to the latest diagnostics, Jonathan says it’s not always practical to rely on computer software when informed manual investigation can get to the bottom of a problem more accurately. “To be honest, I don’t really need to use diagnostics. Often, they can put you in the wrong direction, where common sense is a better approach. I can get to the bottom of a problem fairly quickly and get the machinery back in the field with very little downtime.”
Repair services can be offered from the workshop, but a swift mobile, on-site breakdown service is also provided. “With the silage season, you have to be able to offer a mobile, call-out service,” the Donegal master technician continues. “We also repair all makes of diggers, including Hitachi, teleporters and plant machinery.
“Local people are very supportive of us and, to be honest, I couldn’t manage without my wife, Magdalena, who is a big part of the business. She looks after the imports and handles a lot of the communications with our suppliers and partners in Poland. I was working out in Poland as a fitter on the motorway when I met Magdalena. She speaks the language and knows the laws and regulations over there and her contribution to the business is immeasurable.”
With a large selection of tractors and machinery in stock at any given time, JS Farm Services can offer customers prompt and value-added solutions. “Generally, the yard is full and we keep a lot of stock to cater for demand,” says Jonathan. “It definitely worked in our favour when the Covid hit as we had a good range of stuff here. It’s important that when Spring comes, you have the machinery available. Farmers expect to get it straight away – they can’t really afford to wait around. They also like to be able to see things before they buy. So, I find that if you have something in stock it will be a lot easier to sell than if you are trying to sell it from a brochure.”
Farmers and contractors alike can rest assured that when they purchase from JS Farm Machinery that they will receive a high-quality machine that’s in perfect running order. “If anything goes wrong, we will look after it,” Jonathan promises. “We make sure everything goes out of here in perfect condition and people are prepared to pay a little bit more for better – so there are new parts added wherever necessary as opposed to fixing up an old part.
“There’s great value in imported second-hand Polish tractors. They have been better kept and have worked in a better climate and more favourable conditions. There are less hours on them and they haven’t had to contend with the bad land or humidity and dampness we have here in Ireland – so they will be in good condition.”
Looking to the future, Jonathan says he’d be more than happy to consolidate the business and maintain it at its current size: “We’ll keep it as it is – bigger isn’t always better,” he concludes. “We’re more than happy as we are and I can cope with it and provide a good personal service to all my customers. We couldn’t really be any busier than we are so, if things continue as they are, I’ll take that.”
JS Farm Services,
Tel: 074 9136451
Mobile: 086 6790346
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 1, January/February 2021