I have been involved in agriculture for over 30 years, starting off as a teenager helping with hay making for a local farmer. In the mid 80's I kept
a small herd of milking goats. This then led to buying a tractor &
machinery to make life easier & to justify the outlay I started to contract
out my services.
By the early 90's the goats had been sold & contracting had become the main enterprise, in 1999, I was baling in excess of 25,000 bales annually as a one man operation.
The millennium was not a good year, my father was not well & was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February,
he became quite ill and deteriorated over the summer & passed away in mid October. This gave me a different view of life & in late 2001 I sold my tractor and all of my machinery.
In 2001 a change of career meant I left agriculture & became an agency lorry driver for two of the major suoermarkets.
In September 2007 I re-entered agriculture, with the purchase of a John Deere 6420S, McConnel PA60E hedgecutter, Suire flail mower & Lloyds Greenline flail collector.
Spring 2008, hay making equipment was added & also saw heavy flat roll & spring tine harrows arrive,
In 2011 major investment saw the arrival of the first Bale Baron, being bolted on the back of the Welgar baler, it packs the bales into 21's making the carting operation so much more efficient, this replaced the bale sledge.
Adding a loader & front linkage to the tractor in 2012, with various attachments changed the business, giving me the abillity to load & unload produce & equipment.
For the 2013 season saw the biggest changes to date, the Welgar AP730 baler was sold, a second Bale Baron was purchased & also a pair of Massey Ferguson 1839 inline balers.
A pair of JD6150R CVT, were hired to go on the front of the baling rigs, making an impressive site when entering a field.
2014 saw a change of colour out front, with a pair of CVT New Hollands (T7.210 & T7.220) were hired, as power for the baling rigs.
In 2015 the NHT7.210 was purchased, having a loader frame & front PTO fitted, also purchased this year was a Krone mower rig, consisting of a 3.2 metre front & a 3.2 metre rear, both plain with out conditioners, giving a cutting width of 6.2 metres & greatly increasing my mowing capacity.
Haylage contracting & Euro baling were added to the services provided. With my business evolving, this year saw me moving into sales in both wholesale & retail of Hay, Straw & Haylage into the equestrian market
Early 2016 saw the Krone 7.82 tedder traded in for a nearly new Lely Lotus 770profi & the purchase of a new Lely Lotus 1020profi, the new trailed Lely tedders giving a more consistent tedding action with their hooked tines meaning they do not dig into the ground & contaminate the crop, with the two machines, an increase in capacity was also achieved .
In 2017 my business looks to be evolving yet again, with more interest in wholesale straw & the availability of another storage barn. With the arrival of a pair if new MF1840 balers with updated pick-up Augers and the geometry of the stuffer tines altered giving more reliability, for the Baling Rigs.
2018 has been a very different season, taking on a new storage barn for forage & machinery in April, giving me the much needed storage space.
I also sold one of the baling rigs in the early part of the year, which meant my business needed to change in how it operated, This meant that less contracting work was undertaken & I concentrated more on work for forage sales.
I also needed to update my van, having hired one for most of the summer, I ended up getting a Transit Flatbed LWB, this has changed how I do deliveries, loading packs of hay, straw & Euro bale Haylage without the need to manual handle goods onto the truck.
2019 Haylage season was from a new specially sown ley, which was sown the previous August and had become well established with an excellent crop in both quantity & quality.
A new baling & wrapping contractor meant I was more in control of when the crop was harvested, producing a great quality product for my customers.
Hay making was a fairly easy season once the rain stopped in early June, I made more hay for my retail trade this year having taken on a couple of new contracts.
I'm now working with another contractor when I have availability, making full use of my time & machinery.
The straw season started well, but with some heavy rain became a stop start season, with good quality wheat & barley straw in my barn for both wholesale & retail customers.
2020 has seen the purchase of a Krone Swadro 710/26T rake, which is able to produce two rows or one row, giving more flexibility in different crops & more importantly doubling the working width and speeding up the raking operation.
On the 29th May 1st cut Ryegrass haylage was all finished, but more surprisingly I baled hay for another contractor which was beautiful quality. This is first time I have baled hay in May in over 40 years of haymaking.
In July saw the arrival of a secondhand Manitou 732 Telehandler, although it showed how useful a telehandler is with the extra height & reach, it proved to be problematic with breakdowns and faults and was returned to the dealer in October.
I also traded in my Marshal flatbed trailer & my Keeble tipping trailer for a very well looked after AS Marstons 12tonne tipping trailer which will be more suitable for Muck heap clearance & be much more stable on the road.
With the start of hedge cutting approaching the McConnel PA60E has been replaced by a brand new Shelbourne Reynolds 875VFRT Powerarm, giving an extra 1.5metres of reach and a more comfortable operating position.
In Mid November a brand new New Holland TH7.37Elite telehandler arrived, this machine is so good, I can store around six thousand more bales in the main barn as the full height is filled to the roof, the manoeuvrability is also a great asset.
2021 has seen a very busy time with sales, with stocks of hay & straw going down rapidly, I managed to source 3500 bales of real nice meadow hay.
With the realisation that I could potentially have forty thousand bales to cart this year a new Richard Western 32ft, 16tonne bale trailer has been added to the fleet.
I also supply top quality Hay, Straw in conventional bales & Euro bale Haylage.