Fleet profile: Clare contractor reveals his machinery ‘hits’ and ‘misses’

What is the most reliable tried-and-tested machinery for contracting? What works best on the ground? To answer these questions, AgriLand got in touch with prominent Clare-based agricultural contractor Tom Garvey, of Garvey Agri Services, to ask his opinions on what works best for him.

Garvey currently operates with Claas and Massey Ferguson tractors, Claas mowers, a Claas forage harvester and a CAT loading shovel.

How loyal are you to particular brands?

“We mainly decide by the service provided by dealers. Breens [Farm Machinery] are very good for service, so we have some Claas machinery. We also have Massey tractors.”

Machinery
Image source: Olivia Charles Photography

Who is your favourite dealer?

“We go to both Breens [Claas] and Joe Whelan of Kilrush [Massey Ferguson].”

What is the best tractor your ever had?

“A Massey [Ferguson] 6490 tractor, which we still have.”

What is the worst tractor your ever had?

“We had a New Holland T7060 that gave a good bit of bother and was a lot of hardship. On the subject of tractors, Claas hasn’t got it just right with tractors just yet – they can give some niggly trouble that you wouldn’t expect with a new tractor. However, the grass-cutting equipment is great. Claas mowers are excellent – we’ve never used mowers as good as them. It’s the same with the forager, which we got from Timmy McCarthy in Cork.”

Garvey

What is your favourite piece of machinery?

“That’s a hard one, but if I had to pick, I would say the Conor 3,500-gallon slurry tanker that we bought during the year. It’s a recessed tank on double axles. It cost a fair bit but gets through a huge amount of work. It can do almost the same as an umbilical system and is quick – meaning it’s cheaper for the customer with reduced work times.”

What is your least favourite piece of machinery?

“I don’t really have any that stick out.”

What is your latest purchase?

“The CAT [926M] loading shovel we recently got.”

Also Read: Video: Watch this new CAT tackle the silage scene in Clare

Oldest machine still at in use?

“Our Massey [Ferguson] 6490, which was gotten new in 2009.”

How long do you keep tractors and machinery?

“With tractors, we usually change every four or five years, maybe up to six; it depends on how much work is done and how good a machine it is. With other machinery, we keep it fairly fresh, changing mowers every three to four years – again depending on work done and so on.”

Machinery
Image source: Olivia Charles Photography

Do you buy new or second-hand?

“We buy new.”

Best bargain you’ve ever gotten?

“We always get fairly good deals. We would be quite a prominent contracting business in the county, so dealers see us as an advertisement [for their products] as well as a customer.”

Most embarrassing machinery mistake?

“I suppose getting stuck in soft ground and needing to be pulled out, which was embarrassing, but that happens to everyone at some point.”

Most costly repair job?

“We haven’t had anything too bad; nothing major has happened yet as we keep the machinery fresh.”

Do you buy genuine or spurious (generic) parts?

“Genuine, always.”

Most useful item in the farm workshop?

“Well, in our set-up we get the machinery serviced by dealers and do any maintenance ourselves. I suppose a good toolbox would be key.”

Machinery

Any home-built inventions or changes to your set-up that stand out?

“Not really; between running a suckler and beef farm as well as the contracting, we don’t have time for inventing or changing things around the yard.”

What is you favorite machinery job?

“I like a lot of it; the silage, digger work and reseeding – I suppose my favourite would be the digger work.”

What is your least favorite machinery job?

“I don’t have one; I like working with machinery.”

Have you any classics in the yard?

“No. I would like to get into vintage, but I simply don’t have the time to get round to it.”

What classic tractor should still in production?

“The Massey [Ferguson] 399; it was a great tractor.”

Machinery

What is the next planned purchase?

“We have two tractors up for changing this year. We haven’t decided what make or model to go for yet, so I’m sure there will be a bit of rivalry going on. At the end of the day it’ll all come down to money and the best deal on offer.”

What would you buy if you won the lottery?

“I would upgrade the digger and buy one or two tractors. I’d also buy another Conor tanker with the full spec.”

Thoughts for the future?

“I’d just like to thank my customers, both new and old, for their loyalty over the years, in the past, present and hopefully future. I’d also like to thank our employees for all their hard work.”

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