To say that Martin and the Duggan family are involved in agriculture would be one of the year’s biggest understatements.
The farming family run a small Suckler operation near Claregalway in the Tribesmen county. This farm, with approximately 40 head of Suckler cows, consists of Continental breeds such as Charolais, Limousine and Angus breeds. They currently run with a CH and LM bull on the farm, though they previously used an Angus.
“We have a small Suckler farm…I would have been involved in the farm from a very young age,”, Martin explained to Kevin.
“My father would have been part-time working on the building sites and part-time farming as well, so I would have been helping out on the farm from when I was young. I was out every evening and every weekend, it was a part of life”, he said.
How it all began:
Duggan Agri Contractors have been up and running for just over ten years now, having celebrated a decade in the industry just last year and recently set up their website to mark the occasion.
Martin’s father actually was the one responsible for Martins progression into a career as a contractor, having carried out other tasks on the farm back in the day.
“Back in the late 70’s, early 80’s, Dad would have done a small bit of square baling and dung spreading for ourselves,”, Martin said.
His father then moved into the construction industry not long after this, as he sought a regular wage to support his family.
“He would have cut his own silage and that…But when he (my father) started working, we got in local contractors to do the work on our farm when we were small. When we got older then we moved back to making our own pit silage again,”, Martin noted.
This is where his interest in contracting truly began to grow and develop into a serious passion. To help feed his new addiction, Martin actually began his career by working with other local contracting outfits, before taking the plunge himself eventually.
“I started up officially myself back in 2007 and built it up from there”, Martin explained.
“I started spreading slurry for neighbours and carrying out a few jobs with a dump trailer. We got a digger then and began doing a bit of digger work. I would have driven for three contractors locally before I started out myself,”, Martin added.
As Martin admits himself, he is not one of the bigger contracting firms in the game. A one-man operation, during the peak times Martin also ropes in the help of friends and hires in drivers when needed during harvest season. He also said that his brother is “roped” into some wrapping work on occasion.
“Primarily I am on my own, I am only a small-scale contractor. I try to cover as much ground as I can myself, but during the peak times I hire in a bit of help”, Martin said.
“I hope to eventually move to having one man full-time with me…It is very hard to cover a lot of ground on your own, but two men would cover a lot,”, he added.
Services wise, Duggan Agri Contractors offer the general list of contracting services. They initially concentrated on slurry spreading, though the business steadily expanded its range of services to meet the needs of a growing client list.
They now, not only provide baled silage, mowing and reseeding services, but they also offer plant hire and haulage, groundworks services, pipe laying, slurry and dung spreading, hedge-cutting and tree removal but also ploughing and fencing services.
He now is kept going with the plant hire and groundworks side of the business.
“We do quite a lot of digger work. Along with all the agricultural work, we do a bit of work with a builder as well… I have crossed over into construction on the digger side of things,”, Martin said.
“The father was well into the construction…Now between myself and my brother, we can tackle the full range of groundworks jobs,”, Martin added.
The hedge-cutting has been a recent enterprise for Martin and the team, having only purchased one last year. This, Martin hopes, will enable him to ensure there is work to be done all year round.
At the moment, Martin is pinning his colours to the John Deere flag, running two at the moment, with more to be added to the roster in the near future.
Tractors - John Deere 6900, John Deere 6310,
Grass - Baler - John Deere 578, Wrapper - McHale Hs2000
Slurry - Hi-Spec 2000 gallon, Hi-Spec 1350 gallon (for hilly ground)
Plant - Fiat Hitachi 135, with a mini digger hired in when needed.
Hedgecutting - Spearhead 565 XL Hedgecutter
Martin’s plan is to keep plugging away with how things are going. As mentioned, he hopes to add another tractor to the ranks, a John Deere of course, maybe a 6920.
“It will be another John Deere and there is a great dealer down in Headford…That man never lets me down. I have had great service from the John Deere’s.”, he explained.
That being said, Martin is quite content with how things are progressing. The one-man band is already covering a large area of ground on his own at the moment and will surely cover a lot more this coming summer.
What keeps him contracting:
As mentioned the contractor has a huge interest in machinery, which is partially what keeps him behind the wheel, among other things.
“It’s a mix of everything. Job satisfaction is one of them. There is nothing like seeing a field well cut or building site shaped up…You can see it there all nice and tidy”, Martin said to Kevin.
“When the customer is happy, I am happy,”, Martin stated.
Plain and simply, Martin prides himself on a job well done. He has taken with him some solid advice from his studies in Mountbellew back in 2003, which was, to carry out every job as you would want it done yourself. This, Martin says, is what keeps pushing him on to provide the best possible service to his loyal clients, friends and family.
The former Mountbellew graduate has been going strong for 11 years now and will surely go for many years more. He may only consider himself a “small-scale” operation, though he has made a lasting impact on the contracting scene in his native Galway.