Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Huge demand for zero-grazers

Darragh McCullough and Caitriona Murphy

There's been an explosion in sales of zero-grazing machines as farmers look for ways to avoid being caught out by disastrous grazing conditions.

"We just can't keep them made. We've taken on extra staff, the factory is still flat out, and we've enough machines forward sold to keep us going for months, so business is booming," admitted Cavan-based zero-grazer manufacturer, Niall O'Reilly.

He expects his sales to double this year to 60 machines, including two into England.

Meanwhile, Offaly machinery manufacturer, Belmac, is experiencing a similar jump in demand.

"We're heading for a doubling of sales, with a lot of interest from Northern Ireland and Britain," said Belmac owner, Michael Gavin.

Mr Gavin said that the attitude of the agricultural research institutions was also softening towards the machine, with enquiries from Waterford Institute of Technology about establishing trials to assess their benefits.

There are now over 300 zero-grazing machines in operation on Irish farms and two Belmac models were exported to New Zealand in March.

"Our workforce has increased by a third so far this year, which is great for the area here," said Mr Gavin.

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His company, which also manufactures traditional machinery lines such as manure spreaders, only perfected its first zero-grazer in 2010.

Since then the machine has become its most important sales line.

Irish Independent