Edward Kennedy from Killenaule, Co. Tipperary has owned his own contracting business for the past eleven years.
The thirty-five-year-old is a forward-thinker who learned everything he knows from watching his father - William.
Edward is the eldest of five children and after he left school, he was a digger operator in a local quarry - Gleesons - and then with Farrell's Contract Crushing among others.
It was in 2007 that the Tipperary man could see that the construction industry was slowing down, and he had to form a plan.
In 2008, he decided to purchase a New Holland 8560 from M & S machinery in Cashel. His idea was that he would do some contracting if the construction industry were to collapse.
On the other hand, if the construction trade continued, then he would have a good tractor at home to help his father with silage in the summer. It was while helping his father with the silage that Edward initially grew an interest in machinery.
The young contractor grew up on his father William’s beef farm. William built all the sheds himself and anything else that needed to be done, he would turn his hand to it. Edward possesses some of those ‘action’ genes.
He had no idea how to use a welder the first time he took one in his hands, but he tried anyway and it worked out. The married father of one was eventually able to construct his own trailer using a lorry base.
“I started driving the harvester at a very young age because I had no road licence and dad needed someone to draw silage on the road,” he said diffidently. Edward’s brother - Robert - would help out working on the pit.
“When I was old enough to drive on the road, I actually got demoted” laughed Edward, “Dad got into the harvester then and that’s the way we stayed until this day.” William Kennedy owns a JF 900 harvester that he keeps for personal use.
Although William never did any contracting, Edward decided that he could at least try it and started doing the occasional seasonal work, spreading slurry using his father’s tanker for local farmers.
It was in 2009 that the entrepreneur got his break; Ger and Pat Boyle from Boyle Agri in Thurles hired him to draw their silage with his own tractor and Edward thanks them for the start. “I was with Boyles every year then until 2015,” he added.
Edward concentrates his agri-contracting business in slurry spreading and drawing bales of silage and straw; he now owns a Claas Arion 630 with which he tows a Major 2400-gallon slurry tank with a Mastek dribble bar.
The tank was retrofitted with the dribble bar in 2016. “I’ve noticed that slurry has changed a lot. I’ve lost about half of my clients now because they prefer the umbilical system,” said Edward, who admits that he won’t be taking on the umbilical system himself as it takes two people to operate it.
However, it is important to point out that Edward does have a strong and loyal client base. “I have great customers; I wouldn't be where I am today without them,” he said.
Edward prides himself on giving a good service to his customers. Qualities that he also applies to Breens Farm machinery in Cashel, who he said has never let him down.
The young contractor started drawing bales of silage and straw in 2012, using the self-made trailer. Since then, Edward procured a loader for the tractor and he uses a Lynch trailer that he bought in 2017 from Lynch Trailers in Cork. It carries twenty bales of silage or thirty-one bales of straw at a time. “Last year I drew 10,000 bales of silage,” smiled Edward.
Although He likes drawing bales, Edward admits that there is very little social time in the summer, barely seeing his wife Aisling and baby Max. “I wouldn’t give it up or anything, but it is really hard work,” he insists.
Due to the unusual weather patterns last year, Edward was drawing bales right up until October. He found that the short daylight hours made the work very difficult.
Edward bought a New Holland Kobelco digger in 2017 and added another string to his bow, which also keeps him busy outside of the harvesting period.
“I do team up with another sole operator and we do a bit of concrete and things like that, I have the digger and he does the concrete and it seems to work well,” said Edward - who works on laying farm water systems among other things with his digger.
Edward admits that his business started out slowly, but for the past two years, his it has thrived and is now standing on its own without having to do any supplementary work. He is a member of Farm Contractors Ireland and there seems to be no stopping this businessman now.
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