“Passion for machinery and mechanics”
Willie Crotty runs a highly successful and well established agricultural contracting business located just outside the small village of Lattin in Co. Tipperary. Willie initially started farming in the late 1980s before moving into the agricultural contracting side of things back in 1995, “I always had a passion for machinery and mechanics so decided to combine the two and start off contracting”. Willie started by offering his customers services such as silage harvesting and slurry spreading, “I started off with a double chop silage harvester which I kept for two years before trading up to a precision harvester which at that time was a big advancement. I also started to specialise in umbilical slurry spreading around that time which I am very much still involved in today”.
Over the past two decades Willie has steadily grown his business largely by offering a reliable and efficient service, but also by using the most technologically advanced machines available in order to maximise productivity. “In the early days we were harvesting between 200-300 acres of silage which at the time was quite a lot, fast forward to today and we are covering 1200 acres in a much shorter time frame due to weather constraints. This simply wouldn’t be possible without quality machines that perform such as Strautmann”.
“It just really suits our business”
In 2007 Willie made the move from precision trailed harvesters to self-loading forage wagons purchasing two Strautmann Super Vitesse machine, a 2H and a 2+. “I decided to upgrade my silage entreprise for a number of reasons. We started to reach our limited with what could be done with the system we had. This meant having to either go down the self-proplelled forager or wagon route. I opted for wagons after speaking to my customers who all wanted a longer chop length. At the time labour was also a big problem due to it simply not being available as well as running costs. On a good day we can easily get through 60-80 acres with only 3 men as opposed to 6 with a self propelled operation. There is also the advantage of running two machines, not only for performance and output but also if one stops for whatever reason the other keeping going and gets the job done, if a self-propelled stops everything stops. It really suits our business”.
“Steady and uniform crop flow”
In 2009 the 2+ was swapped out for a Giga I which is still working in the fleet today with over 5000 loads on the clock. The 2H was changed then in 2014 for a 3601 which features the unique crop flow system (CFS) accelerator drum which spreads the grass across the entire width of the pickup and knife bank for a steady and uniform crop flow as well as uniform crop length. New this year in September, Willie added a third Strautmann to the stable – this time a 3102.
“I went for the 3102 due to the fact that I wanted a wagon that was that little bit lighter and more manoeuvrable for zero grazing purposes. I have steadily increased the amount of zero grazing I do for local farmers since starting to offer the service in 2008.This year I will have done 300 loads with each load carrying enough grass to feed 120 cows. The 3102 also has the CFS system and doubles up in the silage season when the pressure is on. So far it has preformed extremely well and both my customers and I are very happy.
“I wouldn’t look at anything other than a Strautmann”
So why a Strautmann? “The answer to that is really quite simple. It ‘s the build quality. I looked at different wagons over the years and have been approached by different salesmen about changing brands but to be honest I wouldn’t look at anything other than a Strautmann. They are built for Irish conditions. For example the newer wagons are all shaft driven and can handle the heavier grass and higher horsepower inputs in order to get the maximum performance and output from the wagon. They are very user friendly and simple to operate which is very important as in this game anyone could end up operating it. So it’s important that I can change operators without any problems. ”
Dealer Support – “down to earth service & attitude”
“Finally and most importantly is the dealer support and backup. In my industry, time is everything and we simply cannot afford any down time. Machines do break down which is unfortunately inevitable but what is more important is how fast we can get back working again. We carry out all the general maintenance ourselves with each wagon getting a new set of knives every season regardless along with some general repairs such as pick up tines. All the bigger jobs are carried out by our local dealer M&S in Cashel who are always on hand with parts or advice 24/7. In the rare event that a special part is required then IAM in Kilkenny will have it on the shelf and can offer the service where I can simply collect it from them and pay the dealer. It’s this kind of down to earth service and attitude that keeps me coming back to Strautmann year after year.”