Features

No-nonsense contracting from JP Agri

18 Nov , 2021  

Since its inception, JP Agri Contracts has focussed all its energies on delivering no-nonsense agricultural contracting solutions, invariably with optimal efficiency, maximum customer satisfaction and minimal fuss. As this Enniskillen-based enterprise continues to go from strength to strength on the back of regular repeat business and positive referrals, we interrupted proprietor John Patrick’s busy schedule to find out more.

Within the space of seven short years, JP Agri Contracts has developed a stellar reputation for excellence across counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Sligo and Cavan. From his base in Letterbreen, Enniskillen, founder / proprietor John Patrick provides a full range of contracting services to an ever-growing group of satisfied farmers.

Actively involved in farming all his life, John grew up on suckler farm and now runs a dairy operation with his wife – as such, he possesses an innate understanding of the standard of workmanship farmers expect, nay demand, when they engage the services of an agricultural contractor.

Essentially, it all comes down to getting through the work smoothly, efficiently and without delay… “It’s all about providing a good service. If you keep your machinery well-maintained and do the job right, that’s half the battle,” the humble Fermanagh contractor notes.

“We provide all the services and we’re lucky to have very good customers – we look after them and they look after us. Once you provide fast and reliable services at a fair price, they tend to come back to you. Word of mouth is very important in this line of work. If you do a good job, the farmer will let others know and you will pick up new customers every year.

“Of course, weather is one of your biggest unknowns and it seems to be getting more difficult every year but you have to set yourself up to be able to work around that. You have to be ready to move when the window opens. Thankfully, we are busy all year around and we also have the farm at home to keep us going. There’s always something to be done.”

This is an understatement. John and his family are particularly busy during the peak months of summer, when first milking starts at 5am and, between the family dairy enterprise and the contracting business, it is not unusual to stay working until late into the night. His wife Nicola and their eldest son, who’s ten, help out with the milking. With four young children in the family household – two sons and two daughters, the youngest of whom was only born in February of this year – it’s all go and there is never a dull moment on Letterbreen’s Sligo Road!

At the heart of this exceptional contracting business is a fresh and immaculately-maintained fleet of tractors and machinery which allows JP Agri Contracts to effortlessly provide a complete range of services, from silage and slurry to ploughing and reseeding, dung spreading, hedge cutting, etc.

Tractor-wise, John is a Massey Ferguson man and he runs a total of six tractors. The 6270 was purchased in November, 2009 and the 7618 arrived last spring, while the Fermanagh man also owns a 6290, 6480, 7624 and 7626.

He runs two John Deere self-propelled harvesters – a 7400 and a recently-purchased 7300 – and, for baling, has a McHale F5500 round baler with a McHale wrapper following behind. For slurry, JP Agri runs 4000-gallon and 3000-gallon SlurryKat tankers with the option of splash plate system or 9-metre dribble bar.

For mowing, John invested in a new set of PÖTTINGER A10s during the spring of 2020 as well as a new PÖTTINGER Toptech rake from local dealer McCullough Machinery. Elsewhere in the yard, there are numerous other pieces of equipment and attachments to enable the provision of a diverse and flexible range of services.

“We also do ploughing and reseeding as well as dung spreading and we have a 13-tonne digger with a saw head and flail head for hedge cutting.”

The fleet is regularly replenished and expanded, while all the machinery is preserved in the best possible condition at all times to guarantee optimal performance and no downtime. To this end, John served his time as a mechanic and is able to take on most servicing and repair jobs himself.

Due to the multifaceted nature of the contracting services offered, JP Agri Contracts provides a year-round service with full-time employment generated for two men as well as many more part-time workers during the height of the summer.

By giving farmers prompt and professional services that they can depend upon, JP Agri Contracts has proven to be a big success since John started the business in 2014. Going forward, his intention is to keep doing what he does best: “I would have cut grass during the holidays when I was a school and farming has always been part of my life, so it comes naturally to me and I enjoy it.

“I was born and reared on a suckler farm and we started milking here about six years ago. My two brothers now run the home place and this was my wife’s father’s farm. He had 40 acres and he asked us to farm it. We lease an additional 150 acres and we milk 100 cows, with the milk going to Glanbia.

“I suppose the dairy farming works hand in hand with the contracting as we can obviously do all our own work and don’t have to worry about contracting bills. We’re always busy but this is what we want to do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’d like to thank all of our customers and our great work men. Of course without the support of my family, it would nearly be impossible to be contracting. My wife and kids are a massive help and my mother-in-law drove for us for a number of years. It is a real team effort here.”

JP Agri Contracts,

Sligo Road,

Letterbreen,

Enniskillen,

County Fermanagh.

Tel: 0044 7809 574456

First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 5, September/October 2021

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