Whilst the summer proved disastrous for many farmers with the wet weather making it difficult to harvest crops and allowing for poor grazing in water logged fields, it has proved to have some benefits for agriculture business sectors with an increased demand for specialist farm machinery that will provide solutions to the problems posed by wet fields. A select group of Irish farm machinery manufacturers such as Belmec Ltd selling zero-grazing farm machinery, have recorded a boom with some sellers recording quadruple sales.
A specialist piece of agricultural machinery, the zero-grazing machines are designed to cut grass and take it to the animals, rather than the animals traveling distances to graze the grass. Originally developed to combat farm fragmentation the zero-grazing machines have helped some farmers beat un-foretold bad weather conditions allowing them to keep in a fresh supply of grass in front of stock without creating further damage to water logged fields.
Whilst the weather isn’t the main reason for the demand, with many farmers having considered investment for many years it seems to be a deciding factor that pushed them to finally invest. And invest they have done, for a zero-grazing machine capable of feeding at least 50 cows usually starts at €20,000 with a unit designed to cater for 250-cow herds costing up to €60,000. However, the sales were not just confined to cow herds, with units to bull-beef finishers and goat herd owners also in demand.
So while the poor weather and summer conditions have been a disaster for many farmers for specialist farming machinery manufacturers and retailers it has been a godsend with increased demand and business. For following the company’s sale of 32 machines this year, Belmac Engineering has had to take on four extra manufacturing staff, bringing its total number of employees to 16, including six to Britain and Northern Ireland. All in all a little silver lining to this bad summer.