From his base in Blueball, County Offaly, Brendan Kelly combines the keenest agri contracting services with exceptional, plant hire, haulage and sand & gravel solutions. We headed for the midlands to find out more about Brendan Kelly Sand & Gravel, Plant and Agricultural Hire.
Covering everything from baling, wrapping, mowing, hedge cutting, slurry and dung spreading, spraying, digging, tractor and dump trailer hire, lorry hire and haulage as well as supplying broken stone, pee gravel, 804 crushed stone, drainage pebble, filling sand and gravel, Brendan Kelly Sand & Gravel, Plant and Agricultural Hire is a multifaceted, customer-focused family-run business which provides unrivalled services to farmers, builders, homeowners and the general public across the midlands.
From his well-appointed base in Blueball, on the outskirts of Tullamore, at the heart of County Offaly, where he also runs a beef farm, Brendan is ideally located to provide his vast range of services to a large catchment area, although he generally doesn’t travel too far for agri contracting, preferring to keep the tractors and agri machinery in the field as much as possible:
“I wouldn’t go too far and tend to work for the same customers every year,” he confirms. “We’re not a huge operation. We do between 4,000 and 5,000 bales a year and we keep it local, within a seven-eight-mile radius of home. We’ve built up a loyal customer base here and we focus our attention on looking after them rather than looking to expand beyond that.”
Brendan runs the business (which was incorporated as B&A Kelly Ltd. in November, 2020) in conjunction with his wife Amanda, who looks after all the paperwork, and says they are very fortunate to also have a great workforce helping them out. At the heart of the operation is a magnificent, extensive fleet of superbly-maintained tractors and assorted machinery.
Tractor-wise, the County Offaly based outfit runs four New Hollands (’97- and ’98-reg 8360s; an ’03 TM155 and an ’11-reg T6070) alongside a trusty 1992 Massey Ferguson 390. All of these are kept in superb condition all year around. “Mike Garahy Tractors in Birr helps out a good bit with maintenance and I’d buy the tractors from both him and Brendan Casey Tractors in Laois,” notes the Offaly man, who started out with a second-hand Fiat 880 DT5 in 2003.
As for the logic behind his affiliation to New Holland, he adds: “They do like diesel but they have the power and are a good reliable tractor. Every tractor has pros and cons but I just like them because they get the job done.”
Claas is another manufacturer in which Brendan has placed his faith for almost two decades. Since he started producing quality baled silage for his customers, he has used Claas grass machinery, starting with a Rollant 46 baler in 2003 and upgrading to a Rollant 254 two years later, then a Rollant 374 in 2013. He was the first contractor in Ireland to invest in the all-new Claas Rollant 540 RC, purchasing that game-changing baler from Breens Farm Machinery in Cashel (with whom he has been dealing for years) and putting it into action for the 2019 silage season.
Brendan Kelly also runs a 2020-reg Claas Disco 3200 front mower and a 2017-reg Claas Disco 3150 back mover as well as a Claas Volto 800 tedder and Claas Liner 2700 rake – all fresh and well-preserved gear from a proven brand that he’s supported for coming up on 20 years!
Completing the silage fleet, Brendan Kelly Sand & Gravel, Plant and Agricultural Hire also runs a Connor bale wrapper, while slurry services are also provided using a splash plate, NC 2500-gallon tanker and NC 3500 agitator.
From a quarry pit located on their own land, Brendan and Amanda supply a comprehensive selection of sand and gravel to farmers and builders. Using a 2011-reg DAF artic and Dennison trailer, sand is supplied to both Esker Readymix in Athenry and Vincent Cannon & Co in Loughrea for the manufacture of concrete, while all sizes of stone are available for use on construction sites or private properties, including drainage stone for land drainage, which is particularly popular amongst the farming community.
In addition to the aforementioned articulated truck and trailer, Brendan also runs ’02 and ‘07 Volvo eight-wheel tippers and an ’05 Volvo L120E loading shovel. In the quarry, meanwhile, there’s a Daewoo / Doosan LC255 excavator alongside a range of crushers and screeners, including a 2019 Powerscreen Chieftain 1400 track screener, 2006 Chieftain Warrior 1400 for separating materials, and Chieftain 1200 screener (all three-way split machines) plus TESAB 623 impact crushers and a Brown Lenox / Kue Ken jaw crusher.
Constant investment in replenishing and maintaining all the machinery – from tractors to trucks, agri gear to quarry plant – ensures optimal services are invariably provided across the rather diverse board. “You try to invest and upgrade the fleet as much as you can, as well as looking after and maintaining everything to a very high standard,” Brendan confirms. “It all comes down to good machinery and good people and you are constantly striving to keep everything moving as best you can.”
As well as Brendan and Amanda, gainful employment is generated for a team of three full-time plus two more part-time. Regarding the secret to providing a dependable agri contracting service, the former states: “Turning up on time is one of the most important things – to be there, ready and available, when you said you were going to be there. We pride ourselves on making a good, firm, high-quality bale. Farmers want reliability and value for their money and we try to give them that on a consistent basis. We are working for the same customers every year, so you have to look after them.
“We used to grow up to 100 acres of spring/winter barley a year but we’ve cut back a good bit and only do maybe 13-15 now for our own use on the farm,” the personable Offaly contractor concludes. “The sand & gravel is steady all year around and again we provide a good service, with a complete range of products. The two sides of the business complement each other nicely, with one falling into the other.”
Brendan Kelly Sand & Gravel, Plant and Agricultural Hire,
Tel: 057 9354605
Mobile: 087 9675054
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 10 No 4, July/August 2022