Should you pay extra for a ‘long draw’ at silage time?

In for the long haul? The question was posed to Agriland as to how exactly agricultural contractors set their rates when the silage ground in question is a good distance away from the pit (clamp), necessitating extra-long draws.

Agriland got in contact with a number of contractors from around the country to get to the bottom of the matter. The results were somewhat varied, but contracting businesses deal with it in roughly the same manner for the most part. However, different figures were quoted – depending on region and distance.

The most common method of dealing with ‘long draws’ that contractors employed was to charge between €35 and €55 extra per hour – in order to put another tractor and trailer on the ‘draw’, thereby speeding up the whole process.

However, another method was also utilised to meet the challenge, which was to charge more by the acre for extra trailers. In general, the cut-off (distance) figure was between 1.5 and 2 miles (2.4km and 3km) each way.

Silage
Image source: Shane Casey

By-the-hour

In Co. Cork, the contractor who was contacted charged €55 per hour extra (including VAT) to provide another tractor and trailer for drawing. Two miles was the limit each way for ‘ordinary’ rates.

In Co. Kerry, the figure given was €35-€40 per hour for an extra tractor and trailer (including VAT). These charges applied for anything over one-and-a-half to two miles of a ‘draw’ each way.

Silage
Image source: Shane Casey

Meanwhile, in Co. Offaly, €40 per hour was the ‘add-on’ figure provided (again, to put an extra trailer on the road). The contractor in question stated that this worked out at about €10 extra per acre, including VAT. He said that anything over three miles (return) was considered an ‘extra-long draw’.

Silage
Image source: Shane Casey

In Co. Kildare, an extra €45 per hour was required to put on an additional trailer, which also included VAT. These rates typically applied for total distances of over three miles (one-and-a-half miles each way).

Other methods

In Co. Galway, the contractor we asked employed a different calculation regarding long draws. He charged an additional €10 per acre (including VAT) for each added tractor and trailer he put on the road.

The contractor provided some context to his set-up; for typical silage cuts, he put three tractors and trailers on drawing duties. However, this contractor was willing to draw up to ten miles, coping with the additional distance by putting up to six trailers on the road. Extra-long hauls were defined as a total distance of three miles.

Silage
Image source: Shane Casey

In Co. Dublin, a similar approach was taken by a contractor there, who said that he charged €4-5 extra per acre (excluding VAT) for each tractor he added to his standard three-trailer crew. The contractor also said that he could put up to five trailers on the road for long runs.

All contractors agreed that an additional charge was necessary for extra-long draws – to remain viable.

Silage
Image source: Shane Casey

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