Based in Ballyellen near Gorebridge in Co. Kilkenny, Whitford Bros is a third-generation agri contracting firm specialising in pit and baled silage, corn harvesting, ploughing, reseeding, slurry and dung spreading, hedge-cutting, spraying and digger work.
The Whitford name has been synonymous with farm contracting in Kilkenny and Carlow since William Whitford threshed corn many years ago. Nowadays, his son, also William, along with his sons Damien, William Jnr and Ross, are keeping the family tradition alive by offering a complete service which they run in tandem with their drystock farm.
Committed to providing superior service and total customer satisfaction, Whitford Bros have an array of machinery to carry out your work quickly and efficiently, providing you with value-for-money and an alternative to investing in your own expensive equipment. Their longevity and success can be attributed to the knowledge, experience, skill and expertise of their staff as well as the quality of their machinery. The Whitford’s highly-skilled and highly-motivated team deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
“We pride ourselves on our exceptional service and solid reputation that has been built up over many years,” Damien Whitford says.
“Without that reputation and the loyalty of our customers, it would be very hard to survive in the current climate. Costs have skyrocketed across the board since Covid and everyone is feeling the squeeze. It would be very difficult for anyone starting out in agri contracting at the moment.”
The Whitford’s run a top-class fleet of tractors, including a new top spec’ Valtra T195 which was purchased from Kilkenny Agri Machinery. Boasting 205HP, it has a range of impressive features, including front 5500kg links, 9500 rear links, five rear valves c/w Power Beyond HD Dramone Hitch, metallic paintwork, new model Black Evolution seat, electric heated windows, roof hatch, climate control, cool box, surround sound system, Isobus, Smarttouch, Tourch and much more.
“We’re very pleased with the new arrival. We traded in a T194 for it. I worked as a mechanic with Kelly’s of Borris for nine years and became very familiar with Valtra during that time. They’re a great tractor in terms of power, fuel efficiency, reliability and comfort, and we’re big fans of them,” Damien explains.
Whitford Bros are running two other Valtras – a T151 and a 6350. The fleet is completed by four John Deeres – a 6930, a 7810, a 3130 and a 2130.
Their grass machinery includes a CLAAS 840 forage harvester, two Krone silage wagons, a Krone Big M mower, a CLAAS mower, CLAAS and Pottinger rakes, JCB 419 and 414 loading shovels, Welger 220 and McHale Fusion 3 Plus balers, and a range of Broughan, Redrock and Brennan silage trailers. They have two combine harvesters for cutting winter and spring barley – a John Deere 1085 and a CLAAS Dominator 208 Mega.
For slurry, the Whitford’s have SlurryKat (4,000g) and Joskin (11,000ltr) tankers as well as NC and Cross agitators. They also operate a HiSpec rear discharge dung spreader. When it comes to tillage, they have Overum four- and five-furrow reversible ploughs, a Horsch Pronto seed drill, a Lemken disc harrow and a Lemken 6m power harrow. Other pieces of kit include a Berthoud crop sprayer with GPS system, a Hitachi EX60 digger and a new Twose hedge-cutter supplied by Michael Eardley Farm Machinery in Kilkenny.
All machines are maintained and serviced on a regular basis to avoid downtime, with most of this being carried out by Damien himself. Machines under warranty are sent to the main dealer.
There is no such thing as a quiet time for this highly-regarded contractor who will work around the clock at busy times and take on extra staff if needs be to keep clients happy. Slurry spreading, ploughing and sowing takes precedence in the early part of the year, followed by pit and baled silage during the summer months. After that comes the harvest, more slurry spreading and hedge-cutting.
The Whitford’s would typically make 10,000 bales, and cut 1,500 acres of pit silage and 400 acres of barley in a year.
Whitford Bros are a member of the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI) which was formed in 2012 to give agricultural contractors a voice at Government and EU level. Its other objectives are to promote good contractor / farmer relationships; to promote the benefits of a good agricultural contracting service; to provide members with knowledge and courses to help them run their business; to promote a good working relationship between contractors.
The family business has a large and loyal customer-base in Kilkenny and Carlow. “We cover within a 20-mile radius of Ballyellen and work exclusively for farmers. We provide a top-class, reliable and cost-effective service, and would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers and suppliers for their continued support.”
For all your farm contracting needs in that part of the country, look no further than the Whitford’s and their professional and friendly team.
Telephone: 087 685 6647 / 086 198 2256
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 3, May/June 2023