Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Moloney Agri: Giving service at the top of the tree

Family-run Moloney Agri have been going strong for 40 years and are still expanding

CANDIDATE: Thomas Moloney of Moloney Agri has been shortlisted for the Contractor of the Year Award
CANDIDATE: Thomas Moloney of Moloney Agri has been shortlisted for the Contractor of the Year Award
THE FUTURE: Investment plans for Moloney Agri this year include a new Welger baler and a New Holland tractor

This week we profile Moloney Agri, the third contractor on the shortlist for the Farming Independent/Zurich Insurance Contractor of the Year 2014 award. The winner will be revealed at the awards ceremony in Dublin next Friday (May 9).

Moloney Agri is a family-run agricultural contracting and tree care company based in Clogheen, Co Tipperary. Established over 40 years ago by present owner Jim Moloney, the company employs nine people during peak season. The company directors are Jim and his son Thomas who is also the company's safety officer. A home farm breeding beef cattle is also part of the business.

The company's mission statement is to "provide a range of agricultural services designed to maximise the productivity and profitability of their customers' farming operations".

Services provided by the Moloney team include saw and flail hedge cutting, fertiliser spreading using GPS guidance systems, slurry spreading, round baling and wrapping (for silage), and baling of hay.

Mainly focused on agriculture, Moloney Agri has also diversified into tree care to spread the workload throughout the year.

Approximately 65pc of the tree care work is done for farmers, but some tractors have been modified with special railway gear to accommodate tree care work for companies such as Irish Rail, Coillte, Eircom and Roadbridge.

Top class safety, operator training and relevant insurance are essential to winning these contracts and the judges got the impression the Moloney team are well on top of these rigorous requirements.

"Our quality is influenced by the quality of our equipment, our knowledge and our staff," says Thomas Moloney. "Together these components combine to deliver the value and quality farmers now expect from their agricultural contracting partner."

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Maintenance and repair of machinery under warranty is carried out by the relevant dealers but the rest is carried out in-house at the team's impressive workshop. The team keep maintenance and inspection forms for each machine and all the company's equipment is inspected weekly.


The Moloneys recognise that investment in new machinery is crucial for maintaining performance and customer confidence.

That said, the benefits and cost of each new machine purchase are carefully considered before a decision is made; if a cleaner or cheaper second-hand model will suffice, then so be it.

To date this year, Moloney Agri has invested in a new New Holland tractor, a Moffett saw hedge cutter and an NC road sweeper. The company also plans to invest in a new McConnel hedge cutter and a Welger round baler this year.

Thomas Moloney told the judges that his preference is for four cylinder tractors where suitable because they have lower depreciation rates than six cylinder models.

Machines are generally not replaced for a minimum of six years. Grassland machines are generally replaced after six seasons; tractors are often kept for longer as they tend to be more reliable if well maintained.

Safety training is required in order to assist in the maintenance of a high standard of service. To this end, all new employees receive induction training including good housekeeping practices and hygiene.

Moloney Agri ensures that all employees are made aware of the hazards present and the safety precautions necessary. Employees are given further training or retraining as required.

Looking ahead, the Moloney team have identified slurry spreading as a potential growth area. "A lot of farmers have invested in bigger storage tanks but have not updated their slurry tankers because they feel the contractor can spread and cover the ground faster, especially as farmers are quite busy during the spring time," says Thomas Moloney.

Getting paid on time can be a major problem for machinery contractors and staying on top of invoices is vital for cash flow.

The Moloneys record all work done on a daily basis, and this is then transferred to invoices on a client or job basis depending on the client's requirements. Accounts are sent out as soon as a particular client or job is finished and credit terms are 60 days.

Anything outstanding after this time (a second reminder) is followed up by telephone and, if necessary, by a personal visit. "It rarely comes to this – we have the best customers," says Thomas Moloney with a laugh.

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