Farm Ireland
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Wednesday 18 July 2018

'We burn about €2,000 worth of diesel per day during peak season' - Two contractors on gearing up for the second cut

Derek Casey speaks to two businesses about how the first cut has gone

Kieran Cotter
Kieran Cotter
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Cotter Agri Contractors Ltd is a family run outfit with 52 years' experience based in Cappoquinn, Co Waterford. The business was originally set up by John Cotter, and John's son Kieran is now managing the operation. They employ up to 10 staff during peak season.

The main services offered by Cotter Agri are silage and maize harvesting, slurry spreading and contract maize and fodder beet growing.

The team make all pit silage, preferring to leave bales to other outfits, and the harvester used is a trusted 2015 Claas 860. Kieran Cotter (right) says his team finished the first cut last weekend after a busy five weeks.

He says the weather couldn't have been better.

Cotters harvesting Maize in 2017
Cotters harvesting Maize in 2017

"We started a bit later than usual for first cut - on the May 15 - but pretty much it has been non-stop since then.

"Our acreage is up. We charge €130 an acre including VAT into the pit and for that we do a top class job and keep a modern fleet of machines.

"I bought a couple of new 22ft trailers for the fleet this year.

Diesel prices are up - we burn about €2,000 worth of diesel per day during peak season. Second cut is already looming - we are just over a fortnight away for those customers we took first cut from back in mid-May."

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Rough ground

Moloney Agri is a family-run contracting outfit based in Clogheen, Co Tipperary. The business is an agricultural contracting and tree care company formed over 40 years ago by present owner Jim Moloney. The company directors are Jim Moloney and his son, Thomas.

Services provided include saw and flail hedge cutting, fertiliser spreading, slurry spreading, round baling and wrapping (for silage), and hay baling. Thomas Moloney reports first cut is just about being finished up at this point and has been somewhat staggered after the later than usual start.

Contractor Jimmy Doyle from Ballymartin Co Carlow seen here getting out the new Claas kit to cut the first lot of silage for Larry and Laurance Kinsella Carrig , Bagenalstown Co Carlow. Photo Roger Jones.
Contractor Jimmy Doyle from Ballymartin Co Carlow seen here getting out the new Claas kit to cut the first lot of silage for Larry and Laurance Kinsella Carrig , Bagenalstown Co Carlow. Photo Roger Jones.

He says farmers are already eagerly eyeing a good second cut in order to boost round bale numbers after last year's fodder shortage. "First cut was more drawn out this year but on the positive side, the weather has been very good apart from a few days. Silage fields have been rough to travel in with a lot of poaching - farmers weren't in a position to roll ground the way things went. We didn't have any major machinery damage thankfully, but I did have a close one with a few rocks that I saw at the very last minute.

"We bought a new Pottinger front mower this year and it's been going well so far. We run a fleet of New Holland tractors.

"Costs are certainly up and this will have a bearing when we send out invoices for work - machinery and diesel prices are both up compared to last year."

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