As part of this week’s Contractor of the Week segment, That’s Farming speaks to Tom Garvey of Garvey Agri Services about his experience his New Zealand and establishing his own business.
Tom Gavey, Ballyortla, Ennis, Co. Clare, grew up on a small suckler-to-beef enterprise, which he runs in partnership with his father, Tom. He is married to Carol, with two children: Jack (4) and Bobby (3).
Working for an agricultural contracting firm in New Zealand from 2005 to 2006 planted the seed for Tom’s contracting business.
“I was taught how to operate a forage harvester, combine, round and square baler, and how to maintain and service these machines.” Tom Garvey told That’s Farming.
“I always had an interest in machinery from a young age, from going with local contractors when they were at silage on the farm.”
He completed his Green Certificate at Pallaskenry Agricultural College, Co. Limerick, before undertaking a machinery course and gaining experience with Oliver Taffee of Taffe Agri.
Building the firm
In 2005, Garvey combined all he knew and established his firm, Garvey Agri Services. The business employs three full-time staff with others employed throughout peak times.
“We bought a 6480 Massey in 2005 from Abbey Retail in Nenagh and a John Deere 1365 mower from John Mc Carthy in Cork. So, we started mowing for a few lads around.”
His extensive fleet of tractors now include a Massey Ferguson 6490, Massey Ferguson 7264, Massey Ferguson 7724S, Massey Ferguson 7722S, Massey Ferguson 7718S.
Machinery and services
His range of agricultural services include slurry spreading (with trailing shoe), bulk fertiliser spreading, reseeding, pit silage, lime spreading, and sub-soiling.
Today, Tom owns a Bredal spreader K-XE, a Conor 3500-gallon and Hi spec 2000-gallon slurry tank, Three Kane silage trailers, Herron silage trailer, Amazon power harrow/disc harrow and a CAT loading shovel 926M.
Other items he owns include a CLAAS Jaguar 970 harvester, CLAAS mowers, CLAAS front and rear mowers, CLAAS rake, a Lely tedder, and a Major agitator.
Furthermore, his plant hire equipment includes a Hyundai digger 180A, Hyundai digger 210, Hyundai digger 220A, and a Herron dump trailer.
In 2012, Tom began offering plant hire services; these include digger work, land drainage, reclamation, digging for slatted tanks, foundation digging, rock breaking, site clearances, muck shifting and other services.
“I am very interested in the whole area of the contracting; every day is different with new challenges. I suppose the plant hire side has more potential for more growth.”
In 2018, Garvey Agri Services secured a contract with Liffey Mills to spread fertilisers for the agricultural merchant. The machinery involved here is a Massey Ferguson tractor, and the already alluded to Bredal spreader.
Looking ahead, Tom is very confident about the future and would like to improve his quality of service.
He believes in offering a confident service, with good time management and clear and concise communication with clients to the fore.
“I am very happy with the team of lads I have and the operation we run together. The future of contracting is going to be tough with machinery prices and fuel prices rising.”
“Managing family life is tough. You miss out a lot on spending time with kids growing up with the hours that you put in. They come out when we are working locally and sit up with us. I have a very good lady behind the scenes keeping the whole show going.”
“The biggest changes in contracting are machinery, technology and the speed at which work can be done. Everything has got bigger. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers, without whom this would not have been possible.”
“I started small and built a loyal customer base, finding a niche in the market and growing slowly from that. We cover the county and go into Limerick, Tipperary, and Galway.” the proprietor of Garvey Agri Services concluded.
To further information about Garvey Agri Services and Plant Hire, click here