Ireland’s disastrous ‘summer’ has been a boon for a select group of Irish agricultural machinery manufacturers. Namely those selling zero-grazing machines to farmers aiming to beat the conditions and keep a fresh supply of grass in front of their stock.
“A bad summer, believe it or not, is good for us,” said Michael Gavin of Belmac Engineering, near Ferbane, Co Offaly. Mr Gavin and his son David have seen sales of their zero-grazing wagons quadruple this year, as a combination of poor grazing conditions and expansionary pressures on fragmented units forced many farmers to invest in the concept.
Sales of many pieces of zero-graving machines have doubled over the past year. A zero-grazing machine capable of feeding at least 50 cows starts at €20,000 but can range up to €60,000 for a unit designed to cater for 250-cow herds.
However, the sales are not confined to cow herds, with both the Gavins and Mr O’Reilly selling units to bull-beef finishers and goat herd owners.
Belmac Engineering has had to take on four extra manufacturing staff, bringing its total number of employees to 16, following the company’s sale of 32 machines this year, including six to Britain and Northern Ireland.