AUGUST 2018 Machinery Whole Farm Contracting IS the Way Forward By Tom Murphy Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland Longterm members of PAC Ireland will know that for years we have backed the concept of Whole Farm Contracting. I have written many articles on this subject and several years ago I met with the then General Secretary of the IFA to explore this model, but there was no interest. My vision was simple; that agricultural contractor’s should work closely with their farmer clients o ering a comprehensive range of services. In addition to addressing the rising labour and machinery costs facing farmers, whole farm contracting would provide a stable and regular income stream for contractors and ensure the longevity of their businesses. Now it seems the penny has finally dropped. Minster for Agriculture Michael Creed has acknowledged that the labour crisis in farming is a huge issue and could a ect projections outlined in Food Wise 2025. In a recent press release the Minister complimented the various working groups for coming up with solutions to the labour shortage in agriculture, particularly the Dairy Sector. Whilst agricultural contractors only get a fleeting mention it is clear from the many reports I have read that that they will be major players in providing support to farmers into the future. However if this is to happen there will have to be a sea change in how the Department of Agriculture, Teagasc and other stakeholders view the agricultural contracting sector and contractors need to be respected for the vital role they will be required play. The potential is there for a sustainable and viable agricultural contracting sector. The children of agricultural contractors are highly educated and are exactly what is needed to spearhead smart farming and whole farm contracting, but the Department and Teagasc need to promote contracting as an attractive and sustainable career. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; unless agricultural contracting sector is formally recognised then the farming sector is sleep-walking into a crisis. Farmers risk the demise of agricultural contracting sector by using pop-up contractors who cherry pick the most profitable work, avoid paying tax and insurance, undermine the prices legitimate contractors must charge - and then disappear. My request to the Minister is: • Formally recognise agricultural contractors for the vital role they play in sustainable agricultural production by bringing them under the umbrella of the Department of Agriculture • Establish a register of agricultural contractors • Allow agricultural contractors access to EU Grants for machinery Over to you Minister Creed and your o cials. optionally available mechanical suspension for the Power version and the optional pneumatic suspension for the Profi version. The driver seat is available in different levels of comfort. A new ventilation and climate control concept ensures the most comfortable surroundings: the air is uniformly distributed in the cab. It has automatic defrosting, which clears windows fast. The air- conditioning and heating can be controlled precisely using just one centralised, conveniently located control. The two-gate Power joystick can actuate the reverser as well as the automated linkage functions (Go/End). There is one key for the cruise control and one for the engine speed memory. In the Profi equipment level, the Profi joystick provides six additional functions: the third and fourth valves with floating position can be activated electrically. Furthermore, four sequences (Go, End) can be saved, and there are keys for the engine speed and two cruise control settings. The automatic hydraulic oil summation needs no input from the operator and therefore ensures high efficiency. A constant flow pump with an oil delivery capacity of 83 litres per minute is installed in the Fendt 300 Vario Power as standard. An axial piston pump (load-sensing) with up to 110 litres per minute is available as an option and standard specification in the 300 Vario Profi. It is optimally suited for implements with a high oil requirement, e.g. front loader operations. Through the high oil delivery capacity, it is possible to work at a lower engine speed and the tractor also consumes less fuel. 45