Is the relationship between farmers and silage contractors invariably built around tall tales, half-truths and downright lies?

Silage contractors in action.
Silage contractors in action.
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The relationship between farmers and their silage contractors is one that’s invariably built around tall tales, half-truths and downright lies.

The contractor’s repertoire includes stalwarts such as: “We’ll be with you tomorrow” – which usually means around 10 days’ time.

“We’ve four to do around your place, and you’re the first of them” — silage talk for we’re moving to the other end of the county, or province.

“We’ve had a bad breakdown but we’re nearly back on track” — could be true, but it’s as likely that the lads went AWOL after a wedding or the Whit Weekend. 

Being careless with the truth comes just as easily for the farmer, ­particularly when the contractor is hunting for ­money. Here are some of the old reliables:

“Are you sure that was the acreage?”

“I’ve a blast of cattle to sell in November and you’re the first man on the list.”

“After the Single Farm Payment lands.”

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I’m sure these lines have been trotted out ad infinitum again this year, but have mindsets shifted ever so slightly as a result of the severe difficulties encountered this summer?

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) certainly seems to think so. It reports that outstanding farmer debts are not as bad as would have been expected in such a difficult year.

“We have noticed that there is a growing appreciation of the role that farm contractors have played, and ­continue to play, in facilitating our farmer clients to manage their fodder needs,” said Richard White, FCI ­national chairman.


“Farmers are responding to the cash-flow needs of farm contractors, and at FCI we are confident that they will use their Single Farm Payments to manage their farm contractor debt in a structured way. 

“Our farmer clients are growing in appreciation of the unique services that farm contractors now provide and this comes with an increased level of  structured payment programmes being put in place between farm clients  and their contractors.”

Steady now lads, the art of lying could be dead by the time next year’s silage season comes around if this rapprochement takes hold.

Indo Farming

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