Farm Ireland

Wednesday 23 January 2019

‘Expansion means more farmers are getting the chance to pay down bills’

Abbey Machinery managing director Clodagh Cavanagh. Photo: Liam Burke/PRESS 22
Abbey Machinery managing director Clodagh Cavanagh. Photo: Liam Burke/PRESS 22
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Clodagh Cavanagh of Abbey Machinery talks to Derek Casey about the company’s progress

DC: How was last year in terms of machinery sales for your organisation?

CC: We had much stronger business last year on the back of lower expectation of performance in 2016. Overall the livestock sector and in particular the dairy sector is upbeat due to higher milk prices. Farmers are getting the opportunity to pay down bills post expansion and also to look forward more positively. We had strong sales in Ireland, grew significantly in the UK and our International markets beyond that look more optimistic.

DC: What was the high point of the year for you?

CC: I would say our high points were achieving 70 years in business, a generally strong business performance, positive machinery dealer and farmer sentiment and exhibiting at Agritechnica in Hanover. Our move to Toomevara in 2016 was a significant achievement and we have settled in well to our new 100,000sqft premises.

DC: What plans if any has Abbey Machinery put in place to manage the challenges posed by Brexit?

CC: Our main strategy is to strengthen relationships with our current dealers in Northern Ireland and UK, and to create new dealers in some territories. We have also put in place an international expansion strategy to try and soften the landing in terms of any after effects of Brexit. We’ve developed a lot of business with New Zealand and Australia which offsets the seasonality that used to hamper production here. That way we can plan on more even output throughout the year.

DC: How do you see sales levels unfolding for your organisation in 2018?

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CC: It’s early days but 2018 looks relatively positive. I am prepared for the fact that milk price may decrease a little. Nearly all of our dealer partners are looking to strengthen their coverage in their territories and that always is a good sign.

We have some additional new partners to come on board in the first half of 2018 and a few new products will also be important in 2018 for us in the slurry spreading and tub feeding lines.

DC: What’s the main thing you’d like to achieve this year?

CC: I think the main thing I want to achieve is to continue the development of the business and strengthen the company’s manufacturing capabilities. The products are excellent but there is always room to enhance them further and a big thing for us is to harness some new markets as Brexit looms.

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