When attending shows dedicated to machinery, it becomes rather easy to forget that not all farmers are giants of the industry with thousands of acres under their wellies.
In the border, midlands and western (BMW) areas, average farm size is 68ac and these holdings will require machinery just as much as those with the resources to spend hundreds of thousands on large tractors.
Catering to this segment of the market is JF Farm Machinery of Tullamore, Co. Offaly which has added the Polish brand, Talex, to its range of products.
Machines from beyond the former ‘Iron Curtain’ have something of a mixed reputation, which is not always deserved.
It is a question of choosing wisely, looking carefully at the machines and, just as importantly, the company selling them, before purchase.
Beyond the forage harvester
The JF Centre has been around for many years and Alan Gethings, the proprietor, is well known in the trade for refurbishing trailed forage harvesters as well as suppling new Kongskilde models.
Having first imported Talex in 2018, he has had four seasons to get to know the machines and is quite satisfied that they are up to the job, while still remaining affordable to the less intensive grower.
The company was formed in 1990 and now serves both the US and Africa, as well as its home European market. All of its products are designed and built in Poland rather than being badged imports from the east.
Whatever the size of a farm, the chances are that it will have grass that needs cutting and fields that require topping.
A 6ft drum mower will often fit the bill and the Eco-Cut 185 from Talex costs €2,800 +VAT, which is hardly astronomical.
Likewise should you be struggling on with a well worn haybob, then a replacement Talex 3.6m single rotor rake will set you back €4,500 +VAT.
The rake in particular appears a very solid tool with neat welding holding the box section frame together and a four-wheel bogie to support and guide it over the field.
It also benefits from a jockey wheel mounted on the A-frame for extra guidance over rough ground and to help park it away come winter.
Attention to design details can be seen on the Leopard universal shredder which has its power take-off (PTO) shaft in two sections, ensuring it cannot snag the frame when in use at full extension.
Alan notes that the drum mower is the bestseller from the range but not far behind comes the Bocian cylindrical reel tedder or ‘wuffler’ as many will know it.
Ideal for turning straw swaths, it finds a ready market in the tillage sector at €3,800 +VAT.
Also in Talex’s favour is the fact that it is prepared to send its staff over to help support the product, suggesting that it means business and is willing to stand over its machines; it should not be too lightly dismissed.