‘Farmers will forge ahead and invest in their businesses despite Brexit uncertainty’

Abbey Machinery, based in Toomevara, Co. Tipperary, was one of a cohort of Irish manufacturers showcasing its wares at last week’s LAMMA show.

The firm manufactures a wide range of equipment, from slurry tankers to diet feeders.

Agriland spoke to Michael O’Grady, Abbey’s Sales, Marketing and Business Development Manager at the event, to get the company’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, including Brexit.

According to O’Grady, while Brexit will bring undoubted difficulties in some areas, the business of farming continues on – both here in Ireland and in Britain. Farmers will forge ahead and invest prudently in their businesses.

Commenting on product developments at the factory, O’Grady said the company’s Tri-Auger tub feeders, the most recent addition to its diet feeder line-up, are proving popular – not just in export markets but also here at home.

“It’s surprising how many large herds, of up to 500 cows, there are in Ireland.”

Larger auger feeders

“We have recently been building a significant number of 33.5cu m machines; the range goes right up to a 40.5cu m model. The main markets for the top-of-the-range unit are Australia, mainland Europe and the UK.”

According to O’Grady, these machines typically have a (tractor) power requirement of 170hp. A key selling point is the provision of six weigh cells; smaller machines typically have just four.

Another noteworthy feature is Abbey’s new front cross conveyor. Like other machines, it can direct material to either side. However, this latest conveyor has a ‘slide and raise’ function, allowing an adjustable discharge height – up to a maximum of 1.5m.

Abbey Tri-Auger vertical auger (tub) diet feeder
Abbey Machinery’s Tri-Auger diet feeder is proving to be a popular export product.

“Asking price for a 33.5cu m model is about €77,000 excluding VAT,” said O’Grady.

The big volume-selling vertical-auger feeder is now a 15 cu m machine. Previously, the most popular size would have been 12 cu m.

Pride of place on Abbey’s stand at last week’s show was reserved for its latest 2750R (2750-gallon) vacuum tanker.

“This machine fills a gap in the market, especially in instances where a 3000-gallon machine is just too big or too long,” said O’Grady.

Here in Ireland, the 2750R (with 30.5 R32 wheels/tyres) costs €19,500 excluding VAT. An auto-filler adds €5,000 to the price.

Asked how the company is settling into its new factory in Toomevara, O’Grady said that the official opening was last May, though it has been manufacturing some products there since 2014. The facility now extends to over 100,000 sq ft. We make 84 different variants of seven different products lines there.

In any given year, over 1,500 machines pass down the production lines.

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