Skip to main content

Noel Dunne
Machinery Editor

Excitement and adventure around every corner

This month, we return to a range of machines that has featured – and rightly so – on these pages before: the Claas Arion 400 range, which underwent a redesign and a Stage V emissions makeover in 2022.

Dear readers, spring has finally sprung and we have reached double digits, temperature-wise, in some parts of the country. This is ideal farming weather, so let’s hope for more of the same.
As I pen this month’s column, I am just back from an extended trip to India, which started with a four-day trip with BKT Tires, and finished with a few days’ R&R in Mumbai.
What a wonderful and exciting country India is. The noise, the smells, the hustle and bustle, the warmth of its people, its delicious food. Despite socio-economic and class challenges that exist there, the people really are wonderful and so helpful. The country is a complete assault on the senses. You just do not know what to expect, with excitement and adventure around every corner! Having been given the opportunity to sample the delights of India, its culture, its food, its way of living, I embraced all it had to offer me, and I am looking forward to returning someday soon.
The business side of the trip commenced with a visit to BKT’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Bhuj, a short flight from Mumbai. This plant stretches over 300 acres, employs about 3,000 people, and the adjoining compound comprises living accommodation for workers, a school, medical facilities, and more. The site also has its own water supply and sustainable power plant and major plans are afoot to extend the existing facilities to keep up with the growth of the expanding tyre market and demands for BKT’s tyres on the domestic and world markets. Everything from large earth-moving tyres, agri-specific tyres, industrial tyres, and more, are manufactured here and plans to increase that range are underway. Stay tuned for more on this in the coming months!
Now, down to the business in hand, while the recent €370m TAMS funding is welcome, the exclusion of dribble bars is a worry. These are a go-to piece of kit for slurry application as trailing shoes are not really suited for small farm holdings. Manufacturers and dealers have a lot of dribble bars in stock and their omission from TAMS 3 will have repercussions for both manufacturers, dealers, and farmers and contractors. 

It is rumoured that the pesticide market is expected to see large price increases of anything up to 40 per cent on individual products this year coupled with fertiliser prices still at a industry high. This is all stemming from high energy prices created from the conflict in the Ukraine, which has been ongoing for a year now. Its effects are really being felt at farm gates.

There was good news for Mountbellew Mart as suspension of its licence was lifted, which came with great relief to the local community and its many customers.
On the machinery front, in January 2022, 485 new tractors were registered representing an increase of 15 per cent on the same month in 2022, when 420 units were registered. And all counties in the Republic of Ireland saw increases in sales in January. In Northern Ireland, 60 new tractors were registered compared to 58 in the same month last year. In the UK, 644 tractors were registered in January, an increase of 28.8 per cent year on year. The reasons for the increase both here and in the UK are mainly down to strong economic circumstances both in dairy and tillage coupled with farmers ordering in advance of pending price increases this year.
Now, I’m going to finish on a rant! But, please, stay with me – I’ll be brief. One thing really frustrated me when I returned from India, was a national newspaper article that featured a certain person calling for the outright ban on tractor runs in rural Ireland! These same tractor runs raise substantial funds for both national and local charities and without this funding, the charities and services would suffer.
Tractor runs just don’t raise funds they bring out the whole community – young and old – for a day of celebration in the area. So, before calls are made to ban such events, maybe the people voicing them should realise the value of them, and that maybe one day they will need the services that these events support, such as cancer services, and much more besides. Our local tractor run has raised in excess of €220,000 over 10 years, all of which went to the local cancer centre. My family needed that service over Christmas when a loved-one died. Before knocking something, we should all consider the the bigger picture and the road ahead….

Until next month, farm wisely and farm safely.