Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Silage wagons making a comeback as Clonmel takeover works out seamlessly

Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Six months ago Pottinger, the Austrian farm machinery company which sells a lot of grass and tillage kit in Ireland, completed the takeover of its Irish distributor, T Traynor and Sons of Clonmel.

It was a significant move at the time but if sales figures since the changeover are the true barometer then it is a move that seems to be working out. An impressive 29 silage wagons have been sold so far this year under the new arrangement.

The new structure sees area sales managers Seán Fitzgerald and David Osborne look after the south and north of the country, respectively. Both men are well known in machinery circles and have substantial experience.

The Clonmel base stocks a large supply of parts, but parts will only be supplied to local dealers; the company will not provide retail parts directly to farmers or contractors.

The new company has continued to be based at the Clonmel premises and is called Pottinger Ireland. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pottinger Austria.

Under the new arrangement the emphasis is on Pottinger machinery alone. The plan was that a series of machinery demonstrations with good technical back-up would help boost sales in 2013 and that seems to be materialising.

A number of machines were sold at the New Ross demonstration, including tedders, mowers and rakes.

Interestingly, according to Seán Fitzgerald the majority of the 29 wagons sold this year have been bought by farmers rather than contractors.

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Mr Fitzgerald explained: "I think we are starting to see early signs of another cycle of silage wagons becoming popular again, similar to what was seen around 2005.

"Wagons are popular mainly because of their pricing; you can get a very good machine capable of picking up an acre of grass at a time for around €50,000 plus VAT.

"A good few farmers have bought from us this year and financed through our partner bank De Lage Landen, including guys trying wagon silage for the first time.

"The self-propelled forage harvester market is a lot quieter now compared to the boom years where up to 50 machines a year were sold.

"I would say a lot of it comes down to financing; it's far easier now to get a €50k loan from the bank than a €250k loan for a big harvester."

Another trend that Mr Fitzgerald has identified is increasing sales of mounted mowers but at the expense of trailed units which can be bulky on the road.

"We are seeing a lot of our customers opt for a mounted 10ft mower on the rear and then pair that up with a mounted 8ft mower on the front.

"For a good sized 220hp tractor, that gives you an impressive cutting width and a set up that is very manoeuvrable for narrow country roads."

Irish Independent