Michael may be only 19-years-old, but that is not to say he hasn’t significant experience in the industry.
Based out of Rathnure just outside of Enniscorthy in the Strawberry pickers county, Michael resides on his family farm, which is primarily beef, sucklers and tillage. They have approximately 400 cattle on the farm at the moment, keeping them busy, aside from all the other work.
“We would have nearly 400...all continental. The brother and I, also bought a few Friesian bulls last year, which were all bucket fed, but the rest are all continentals”. He said.
“We fatten them and sell them then,” he adds.
The family are not only busy with livestock, but they also cut corn on the farm, as well as for other locals.
“We have a grain store on the farm that we draw the corn home to and then roll and sell on as meal.” said Michael.
“We don’t do any pit silage, but we make a lot of bales,” he admits.
Michael helps run the operations of Michael Martin Grain, with his father Michael and brother Stephen, when he’s not in college. Every spare moment away from his Agricultural Science course in Waterford IT, is spent helping out at home, meaning that weekends are generally spent on the farm.
He hopes to go back into agriculture, as soon as he completes his degree, with an eye on a career in contracting and tillage, following in his father’s footsteps. His father first set up the company just over 30 years ago now, with no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“Hopefully we will do our own kind of work, which will be less strenuous,” he said.
“We were actually the first ones in the village to have a round baler,” Michael stated.
The team is made up of Michael Senior, Michael Jr, and brother Stephen, with two full-time men working all year round. During the harvest season, there is usually another man brought in to help out.
“When it's busy there would be five or six, during the harvest,” he says.
The team have a mixture of New Holland, Massey Ferguson and John Deere. On the New Holland side of things, they have a T7235 2016. and on the John Deere side of things, the team is currently running with two 6930’s and a 7530, 2013. They also have a John Deere 6430, a 6910 and a Massey 8110 too.
Michael says they moved on from John Deere to New Holland, mainly due to pricing.
“If you bought a John Deere, the same horsepower, it would be savage more money,” he said.
On the harvester side of things, they stuck to the John Deere, while they also have an older New Holland harvester.
“The John Deere would do most of the cutting,” he said.
The team runs a John Deere mower, Kuhn silage rake (30ft), two balers John Deere and a Lely, A John Deere sprayer purchased last year along with a hardi sprayer, two ploughs, two sowers, for the cattle there’s a Mchale straw chopper along with two beet choppers. Their collection also includes a JCB 412 loading shovel, a JCB digger alongside a Hitachi digger not to mention the large range of trailers they have along with a slurry and dung spreader. That is only some of the machinery on show.
Michael has plenty of ideas for the coming years, with plans already in motion to build new cattle housing facilities.
“We are building sheds now, we are hoping to build a new cattle shed,” he admits.
On the contracting side of things, Michael hopes that the team soon purchase a new McHale Fusion 3 plus.
“We’re looking at a Mchale fusion 3 plus but might stick to the Lely Welger for now", he said.
Weather, as always is the case, is one of the leading challenges facing the Martin team. Another problem is keeping machinery on the road, with expensive maintenance costs an issue.
“If your combine broke down, you could lose a lot of cutting, or if a tractor broke down, the cost of fixing it would be a challenge,” he said.
“The price of tractors as well, their a scandalous price. Its crazy money for a new tractor now,” he added.
Why he loves what he does:
“You get to do something different everyday, with different challenges”, he said.
He also listed the freedom connected to the job as another factor behind his love for the career.
“You can do your own work, with nobody telling you what to do,” he said.
He also, like most, is a major machinery fan, adding that he kind of “grew” into the love. Michael may only be 19-years-old, but he and his younger brother Stephen have their heads firmly screwed on and a real future in agriculture.