Fintona based farm machinery dealer T. McFarland is pleased to announce another very successful start to the grass silage season with vibrant sales for both Pottinger grass equipment and Merlo Telehandlers.
To find out more about this dealer we contacted McFarland’s and spoke to Aaron. We began by asking him the following:
What would you say the secret of success has been for the machinery business this year?
A. It’s very difficult to say the precise reason because as with every aspect of farming there are so many variables, number one being the weather as this alone can have far reaching financial impacts for any farmer but especially for dairy farmers. But to answer your question I believe that a lot of farmers have been as it were riding out the dairy and beef crisis of recent years and simply could not afford to buy new or replace their ageing equipment, but now with a slight increase in commodity prices and also Brexit around the corner, I know that some farmers have bought new equipment this year in order to be future safe for a number of years.
What impact do you think Brexit will have on the machinery business and on farming in general in Northern Ireland?
A. If I knew the answer with certainty I would be very popular but I don’t. Most of all the equipment we sell comes from the Euro zone so prices will vary as the exchange rate varies. The big thing I suppose will be where the exchange rate will eventually stabilize and level out. Import tariffs may or may not be in the mix but to be honest I don’t think it will be as bad as many politicians and critics are making out it will be. Presently we import workshop heaters and quads from two non European Countries, America and China and there are no trading problems whatsoever.
I think Europe has too much to gain financially and socially from Britain so that is why they don’t want to lose them, but Britain is and will leave Europe and yes short term it may cause some minor inconveniences and change in trading arrangements but long term the big picture will be to our advantage.
Single farm payment schemes is one area of big concern to farmers as a whole, but British money is being paid to Europe and a low percentage paid back only for Europe to implement rules and regulations and impose them on farmers that basically crippled and gagged them in their day to day duties, for example, slurry ban and nitrates directive, field boundaries and hedge cutting periods and the list goes on. Farmers want to farm and get on with their work rather than fill forms and tick boxes for Brussels officials who realistically are out of touch with the farming community.
What range of farm machinery do McFarland’s offer the farming community and your own customer base?
A. We have two main suppliers and they are Pottinger and Merlo. Pottinger manufacturers grass and tillage equipment and Merlo offer a comprehensive range of Agricultural and Construction Telehandlers.
For Pottinger equipment we are joined by Hunter Kane and sons in Ballycastle, covering counties Londonderry and Antrim, in Lisburn Henry Porter covers counties Down and Armagh and then we cover counties Tyrone and Fermanagh.
For Merlo Telehandlers we are joined by D.A. Forgie in Limavady and Lisburn. These two depots cover the other four counties and we cover counties Tyrone and Fermanagh,
Forgie covers all of Northern Ireland for the construction Merlo and we sell only the agricultural models.
We also offer a range of equipment from Reck, a German manufacturer of grass silage spreaders and slurry mixing solutions ranging from pig tank electric mixers, standard under ground tank mixers and a varied range of tower mixers for above ground stores. Slurry lagoon mixers are also available but are not the most popular in this country.
In quads we offer the Jianshe range of 250cc 2wd and the 400cc 2/4wd. These quads are in the cheaper end of the quad market but still suit some farmers for general feeding and shifting of livestock from field to field.
Hedge cutters come from Shelbourne in the UK and are a brilliant machine, not the cheapest but the best. Shelbourne advertises their machines under the heading “we cut hedges not corners,” a very true statement as these machines are both strong and neat but also leave a very tidy finish on any hedge.
Ground care comes from ERTH, a local manufacturer of subsoilers/panbusters/seed drills. Again the four legged Panbuster is a market leader in both being effective and leaving a tidy finish.
Slurry tankers come from NC engineering and again have a range of sizes to suit every customer. We also sell their road sweepers.
Our most local supplier is Johnston brothers engineering of Fintona.
From them we sell their silage trailers, buckets, sheargrabs, bale handlers, buckrakes etc. Again they are a company that puts a lot of pride and detail into everything they build.
On a break down of sales how have the brands stacked up this year to date?
A. The combined sales of both new and second hand in the Pottinger brand has reached 30, the Telehandler sales have reached 8, Johnston engineering products have reached 18, but certainly on comparing sales to last year things are looking much more promising.
The big thing this year was being able to keep abreast of the sales as regards the four workshop staff being able to cope with building the new machines, refurbishing the trade in machines while continuing to offer a comprehensive service and repair facility.