Alan Naughton is a farmer from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway who runs a pedigree Limousin herd in partnership with his father Brendan on a 53-hectare farm, under the ‘Park’ prefix.
Brendan started breeding Limousin’s in 1987 and the pair are members of the Irish Limousin Cattle Society.
The 34-year-old completed his Green Cert from Athenry two years ago, before joining his dad on the farm.
Alan was no stranger to machinery when he branched out to start a contracting business as his father spent years cutting turf.
Alan was just 18 years of age when he started contracting 16 years ago with a small amount of machinery, but he has grown the enterprise over the years although he would still consider his business to be a modest one.
Brendan works with the contracting business full-time and Alan also has a full-time employee called Peter.
The contractor runs a fleet of four New Holland tractors, two with Quike front-loaders including; a TS115 with a Q45 front loader, a T6090 with a Q76 front-loader, a T6090, and a T7030. He also has a Puma CVX 160.
Three of the tractors have front-linkage and PTO that will allow for machinery such as a front-mower.
Because Alan is a good businessman, he decided that it would be a useful option to also rent out his machinery while he was not using them for contracting.
He will rent the tractors or slurry tankers to people in any part of the country and he currently owns machines that are in use in counties Leitrim, Clare and Tipperary.
Admitting that he is not too precious about letting his machinery, he said: “I’d rent you a vice grip if I wasn’t using it, there’s no point in having them sitting in the yard”.
Alan also stated that renting them out keeps the machinery in better condition as he will look after them with more care if they are to be leased.
Customers can come and collect the machinery or Alan will deliver it directly. He started the self-drive hire division of the business just 18 months ago and he is thankful that it has gone smoothly.
“I haven’t had one bit of bad luck; it’s a stable income because it’s getting so hard to find employees” he noted.
As a farmer, Alan understands the economic difficulties that other farmers are currently facing and he knows that many of his customers have good tractors, so it is much cheaper for them to simply rent a slurry tanker and complete the job themselves.
It was when Alan travelled to Northern Ireland to purchase a Joskin manure spreader that had already been used as a hire machine when Alan realised that he could do that too.
“I’ve no wages to pay, no diesel to put in the tractor, all I have to do is deliver the machine and keep it serviced,” said the enterprising farmer.
Naughton Agri Contract Hire also provides slurry services, with the choice of a Hi-Spec 2,500 and an Abbey 2,500.
A further inventory of his machinery includes a Joskin 9-cubic-metre rear discharge spreader, front and rear Kverneland mowers, a McHale Fusion 2, a rake, McConnell hedge cutters and a pair of agitators.
Alan plans a couple of upgrades to his machinery which for the moment, is to be kept under wraps.
Personally, he prefers mowing over all the jobs in the business as it means that he doesn’t have to keep leaving the tractor and it is easier to take phone calls without interruption.
The laid-back contractor doesn’t necessarily buy all of his equipment from one single dealer, however, he said of Whelan’s in Loughrea, “You couldn’t fault them, they would never see you stuck for a part, if you went in looking for a part for a mower and they didn’t have it on the shelf, and they had a mower in the yard, they’d take it off and give it to you,” he said in a glowing reference, also mentioning that he’d be “lost without Hogans in Eyrecourt”.
Alan is married to his wife Laura and he is also a new father to 11-month-old Éabha. He has six siblings with two brothers and four sisters, none of whom went into the farming industry.
As children, all of them would work on the farm, but the others were more drawn to attending university, while Alan was keen to start his business directly after school.
He loves the career path that he has chosen and he manages to do it with a relaxed attitude, helped by the fact that he has managed to strike a good work/life balance.
“I don’t have long days and I’m home every evening to spend with my wife and daughter, sure what more could you want?” concluded Alan.
For more information on his business, click here
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