Claire agricultural entrepreneur
As part of this week Agricultural Entrepreneur of the Week Segment, It’s farming, profile Shane Hughes Agri and Feeds. Shane plans to quit his job to take over the family business, cutting company services, cut 2,000 acres pit silage, rising input costs and its outlook for the industry.
In 1995, Shane Nolan left a full-time electronics company in the capital to take over the reins of the family agricultural contracting business from his father, Jimmy, with his brother, Ronan.
Clare’s agricultural entrepreneur then took over the business entirely and expanded it.
During his humble beginnings, some of the machines he invested in included a John Deere 550 baler, a McHale 991 wrapper, a Zetor Crystal 8011 tractor and a John Deere 2140 tractor.
Later, he bought John Deere 3040 4WD tractor, John Deere 3050 tractor, John Deere 3350 tractor, John Deere 6800s tractor, John Deere 6600s tractor and new John Deere 6610 tractor.
“At the time, my father was the first to own a round baler. He bought a John Deere 545 new and I bought mine used,” he said. It’s farming.
“There was an opening for baling and packing services in my area, and there was money to be made at that time. I have therefore always been interested in agricultural contracts from an early age.
“My dad had three square balers when I was younger. I drove one, my father drove another and my brothers, Michael or Donald, drove the third. In addition, my father was hired to cut corn and spray. »
In addition, Shane operates a large tillage farm that grows spring barley, beets, winter barley and oats and also sells beets.
In the mid-1990s, he acquired a cereal number. “I had 500 acres of tillage, but cut back drastically due to weather and low prices.”
Claire agricultural entrepreneur
Shane Nolan Agri and Feeds serves farmers in Clare and Galway. He rolls barley and oats through the winter and harvests up to 30 acres of beets in October and November.
In addition, the company offers pit ensilage, hedge trimming, plowing, tillage, seeding, spraying, fertilizer spreading and beet harvesting services. He started offering a stone picking service this year.
He employs 4-5 people full-time during the winter and 12-14 people during peak hours who also work in his garage, which repairs machines for customers.
“I would never have gone looking for work; it’s all word of mouth. I maintained my clientele. They are almost all regular customers; it is quite rare that you get new customers.
“I gave up baling at the end of last season and slurry. I was too busy and had too many things to do, then I tried to find staff in some cases.
“A local contractor across the road takes over the baling service. So, I will help him in any way I can.
The company completes 2,000 acres of pit silage, having gradually expanded its customer base each year.
“There were always people coming out of agricultural subcontracting. We came when the clients asked us to come, and we did the work when they wanted, and they were happy. We provide good service, and that’s how we got to where we are.
“Also, we do a good job, so we maintain our customers. Honestly, we lost a few customers because of the price, but we better not do the job if we don’t make a profit.
“It’s hard work because no matter what price you charge, there are people who will underestimate you. In general, farmers are not looking for the best price; they are looking for the cheapest price.
Its fleet includes seven John Deere 6920 tractors, one John Deere 6620 tractor, one John Deere 7920 tractor, one John Deere 6610 tractor, one John Deere 6410 tractor, one John Deere 2140 tractor and one John Deere 1040 tractor.
“We maintain the tractors ourselves. We have a fully equipped workshop and carry out many repairs for customers, for example engines, transmissions and wiring. In addition, we try to specialize as much as possible in the John Deere brand.
His grass equipment includes a John Deere 7480 self-propelled forage harvester, a KRONE BIG M mower, a KRONE rake, John Deere balers (genuine items), a Tanco wrapper, four 22-foot Herron silage trailers, an 18ft Herron Silage Trailer, a 16.5ft Herron Silage Trailer and an L70E Wheel Loader – Volvo, – F-Series.
Some of the tillage equipment includes a Kivi-Pekka rock picker, Kverneland reversible five furrow plow, Mandam 4m disc harrow, Vaderstad Rapid 300-400C/S 3m seeder, ring roller 6.3m Cross and a Kuhn MDS .2 hydraulic fertilizer spreader.
He also uses a John Deere W 540 combine (with a 16 foot cutting head), a John Deere 955 combine, a Ferry telescopic hedge trimmer, an Armer Salmon beet harvester, a John Deere mounted sprayer from 15 meters and a trailed John Deere 24m. sprayer.
Challenges Shane faces include rising input costs, lack of credit facilities for farmers and getting a carbon tax refund.
“I have noticed colossal changes in my fuel bill. We pay around 1.30 c/L for diesel, but I don’t know if that will go down. »
“The government gave us no incentive. They gave white diesel 15c of an excise reduction and agricultural diesel got 2c. It’s a slap in the face. »
“For example, if you take my forage harvester, it takes 1,100 liters of diesel to fill it, and it takes about a day and a half. Thus, the diesel went from 70 c/L to exactly double in price. »
“Any of my tractors takes around 220 litres, but it depends on what the tractor is doing. So my fuel volume is going to be significantly reduced this year, my work is going to be down, but my fuel cost is going to be way up.
“I guess because I won’t have three balers, a mower, a rake this year it will reduce my diesel volume, but who knows when diesel prices will stop rising.”
“The price of diesel hasn’t increased much around the world; the government skims it. I think about 51-60% of diesel is a tax.
“They use the excuse that it’s Europe but it’s not Europe. Every government has its guidelines and has a direction, but our government does not want to deviate from the direction given to it.
“These guidelines guide you on this path. You don’t have to stick to the path; you can turn left or right.
“In my opinion, the biggest problem we have is with our government. It is not the ministers who run it; they are the civil servants. Until the civil servants realize this, they are working for us, and we are not working for them, we are paying their salaries, we are finished in Ireland.
Plans and future of Irish agricultural contracts
Shane believes that the key elements to running a successful agricultural contracting business are “watching” your costs and having a “good” customer relationship.
Shane added that he believes “more and more people are going to withdraw from contract farming due to labor shortages, rising costs and not being paid in a timely manner. “.
To share your story like this agricultural entrepreneur from Clare, email Catherina Cunnane, Editor-in-Chief of It’s farming – [email protected].
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