Noonan Agri Contractors Ltd. are a Cork-based outfit that has fifty years of service built up by Maurice (Moss) Noonan. He has continued to successfully toil the fields of Conna and his sons, Padraig and Seamus run the business with him.
A successful enterprise must evolve with the times and this is exactly what the Noonans are achieving with their brand new, 6-metre Lemken Solitair 25 Drill, complete with Isobus Control and Self-filling Auger.
A first of its kind in the country, the pneumatic seed drill has arrived in the Castlelyons branch of Farm Power - dealers of agricultural machinery, in preparation for the harvest season.
“I had seen bits of the Lemken drills at various shows when I was in Hannover and dad saw one at the SIMA show in Paris,” he explained.
“They had an older version of it there and I liked the idea of it,” said Padraig.
The farmer continued to say that he had heard great reports about from the Lemken Power Harrow and as the contractors already owned a Lemken plough that proved to be no trouble for them, so they decided to purchase the most up-to-date version of the drill.
One of the reasons that the Cork-men liked the drill so much is that “It’s not fully mounted onto the tractor as it’s trailed, so it’s not dependent on the one tractor.”
Speaking of which, they have just recently bought a new John Deere 6250R tractor with which to pull the drill and Padraig mentioned that this was another reason for the purchase.
“I bought the drill with the tractor in mind as it’s all operated from the Isobus- all the technology is in the tractor,” said Padraig, who explained that it is better to keep the technology together and purchase it from one place.
This will prevent computer faults or crashes that may occur when using differing technologies. Padraig decided to use GPS technology instead of markers and this helped him shave off a price tag somewhere in the region of €10,000 that could be put to better use somewhere else.
The Noonans also have a 6-metre disk harrow and other large machinery and contrary to what might be believed. Padraig explained that it is actually easier to see that machinery out the sides of the tractor window, rather than a 3-metre machine that may not be seen at all.
On maneuverability, he stated, “They’re ok in the small fields, they’re all fairly manoeuvrable, you’re only backing into the corner once with them.”
Given that the new Solitare 25 drill is the first, in Ireland, you might expect that the purchaser would like to handle it himself, however, in the interest of fairness, the operator will be the staff member that usually does all the drilling “He’d be upset if I let someone else up on it” laughed Padraic.
The contractors have six full-time staff throughout the year and hire a further three or four seasonal workers during the harvest time.
There is a lot of dairy farms surrounding Conna and silage would play a big factor in the work that has to be completed during the summer, with the contractors' workload consisting of a 50/50 split between the silage and tillage.
They complete approximately 700-acres of tillage annually, with almost the same amount to complete at re-seeding. Disk harrowing plays a big role in the company also.
Most of their work is carried out locally, usually within a 10-13 km radius as the savvy farmer is aware of how much time and money can be lost on the roads. “I’m lucky that way” he added.
The Noonans have a 100-acre tillage farm where they grow winter wheat, winter barley and maize.
The Cork man is also very pleased that the new machine has a weighing unit fitted to the hopper so you can set five-acres in advance and later, see how much is gone out of the tank so the operator knows whether it’s spreading correctly.
Before the contractors can truly get into re-seeding, their new Lemken Drill must be set up and configurated.“Farm Power will spend the day with it and they have two people from Lemken over to set it up, the backup service from Farm Power is great”.
He added that: “Working and calibrating it is one of the easiest systems that I’ve seen."
"It all takes time, and this will make things so much easier and time-saving,” he concluded.
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