‘Don’t cut charges to feed the appetite of expensive silage harvesters’ – FCI

According to the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI), it was “a wet seven days at silage last week”. The forecast, in some regions, is not much better this week.

The association says that this downtime should be used to “examine costs, plan any improvements to the harvesting system and prepare invoices for the work done”.

The association’s chief executive, Michael Moroney, explained: “With over 50 new self-propelled silage harvesters in action, it’s time to ensure that the value of your investment and your effort, and that of your team, is recognised. So don’t cut corners.

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“Most of all, don’t cut charges to feed the appetite of expensive machines [such as self-propelled silage harvesters].”

In a video message to contractor members around the country, Michael explained: “This year, grass yields have increased significantly due to the weather. Grass moisture levels have increased. Diesel usage is going to increase.

“The cost of the actual harvesting system, in terms of numbers of trailers per acre of grass harvested, will increase. That’s why it’s vitally important that you take a little bit of time and examine your costs again.

“Just one of the tractors drawing silage is costing you €50 per hour, before you include the cost of the trailer. In a system where you’ve four or five tractors, that’s a significant cost per hour – apart from the harvesting cost.

Image source: Shane Casey

“That’s why it’s really important this year that you make sure that you get a proper rate for the work you’re doing. You bring a huge amount of equipment on to every farm. You manage the system to be as efficient as possible in terms of harvesting grass.

“You make sure that the job is done effectively, with a clean cut…with a short chop as required by many, many dairy farmers.”

He added: “You’ve made your input; it’s important that you get paid for the job. Make sure that this is a year that you can maximise the return that you really need.”

Image source: Shane Casey

He urged contractors to sit down with customers to make them aware of the investment and what the ongoing needs are in a cash-flow business.