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Contractors price guide

  • 28-03-2023 10:13pm
    Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭

    Have you seed the FCI contractors price guide.

    Some of the prices quoted at crazy, north of 175 an acre for silage. Bales at €25 each in the yard.

    It cant be sustainable for farmers.

    I fully understand that a man needs to make a living and a fair return for his investment.

    The contractors quote interest and machinery prices as reasons for price hikes. Farmers dont demand that contractors buy new machines and have massive repayments.

    2nd hand tractors and machines can be reliable to. Never mind costing a fraction of new.

    Im starting to question making my own silage. I have the tractors.

    I make 700 bales annually @ €25 is €17,500. 250 bales max at a time. 3 to 4 cuts. Light crops

    Used Fusion 2 circa 20k, i have a mower and a small tedder. Just need a rake.

    Labour is not an issue here. And i get the job done when i want, not fobbed off because a larger farmer shouted louder than me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,421 ✭✭✭Jb1989

    Most Them prices in the farmers journal contractor section are haywire every year, some of them are even minus vat if I remember correctly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭Bangoverthebar

    Serious money when you add the vat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,236 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    I'm not looking at the figures because I'm still getting over the winter vomiting bug and a relapse might carry me.

    The price of things is a serious relapse issue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 477 ✭✭anthony500_1

    I hear what your saying, but I have to disagree to an extent with you, I meet a lad on holidays most years who's a fairly large contractor, prob because we are opposite ends of the country and never meet at home we offen talk freely about his contracting business when you hear him talk about costs it's eye watering stuff. Set of tyres for the tractors start at 6k for a set of 4 His fuel bill from march to September would have me kept awake at night worried where will the money come from to pay it. Never mind the wages for the staff some of which are full time and not just seasonal so they get paid on a bad week the same as a good week. It's the only hope he recons of retaining the best lads he has and having them when he needs them. I always admire these lads as it takes some bottle to get up every morning and be at the mercy of weather and bad payers to make a living.

    What happens the day your fusion 2 breaks down as she has already done 30k bales when you buy her and you left with 20acres of silage on the ground for 3 or 4 days while you wait for that one part no one in the country has in stock???

    If you look at marteye the last few months there has been a few big sales of contracting gear going for sale. Obv the money as is/was is not in it and the lads are getting out as it's not viable going forward.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,363 ✭✭✭✭Reggie.

    Simple thing is. If ya think contracting is such a Rob go and do it for a year or two.

    Most of my customers are the best in the world but throw in a few head melters and it can really ruin your day/week

    I'm sure most fusion 2s out there for 20k are nearly worn out. As said before it's the parts. I think the chains for a fusion are near 2k. Then you have pickup tines, roller bearings, rollers themselves. Parts sometimes aren't the issue it's fixing the machine. I know lads who bale all day then might to stay up till 2 or 3am fixing a breakdown to head out at 7am the next morning or earlier.

    Not as glamorous as people think.

    It's the same as dairying. Some lads think they are making a fortune with milk. I'm on a dairy farm the last 3 months and it's no joke even tho plenty of people claim dairy farming is money for jam.

    Grass always looks greener on the other side but it's just usually the case it's harder to mow.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,871 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    If no one buys new machines then the 2nd hand ones won't be cheap or any good, because they will be worn out. Buying new means that you have a warranty and the dealer will send someone out to fix any breakdown so less time down, which is critical in most industries and even more in agriculture, buying 2nd hand you have to worry about how well maintained it was and usually no have support from the dealer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 181 ✭✭KAMG

    I'm an accountant. We have a fair few agri contractor clients. I can guarantee you that none of them are making big profits. The cost of the machinery has gone mad the last few years. Wages, diesel and repairs are all huge costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,141 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    One of the biggest thing catching contractors is the season is becoming more and more squeezed. There was a time when the pit silage season was 8-10 weeks.

    It started with the early dairy men in mid May. Moved on to the bulk of the crops in late May to mid June. Then you had the lads making bulk crops in late June and finally the lads starting second cut in late July into August.

    A lot of dairy men change second cut to bales. Smaller beef lads moved to that as well as they had no choice as to when they did pit silage.

    I expect put silage cost to significantly rise over the next few years. The costs and sees are horrendous. Most arracontractor's have 30-50% of the machinery sitting idle for 8-10months of the year. That is not sustainable.

    Bales are not under as much pressure. It's an easier operation to set up. Every young jockey wanting to go driving a tractor looks at it and sees an opportunity to enter the sector. Add a slurry tanker bought with a 60% grant and you have 6 months covered. Add a bit of hedge cutting and drawing bales or hay etc and you are getting near full time.

    I expect bale cost to be in the 12-15 euro to cut, take, bale and wrap this year. Diesel dropping slightly compared to last year will help.

    Slava Ukrainii

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,745 ✭✭✭Jjameson

    I’ve never went to a contractor on the basis of cost. Personal relationship/friendship and service, beating the weather and all the variables as best possible is the priority.

    But it does strike me as a mugs game! I told this story before but anyway 🤣

    last year shaking 20 acres of hay in a Sunday morning my trusty haybob decided it wanted the day off and a burst tyre and then a broken time retired itself after 2 round of a little field. No tyre place open I called on my friend to shake it with his big rake,

    I went to the beach with the family…

    the bill was considerably less the cost of a little tyre and a a new tine😆

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,553 ✭✭✭older by the day

    I'm the same. A cheaper lad who won't answer the phone in June is feck all good to you. And when it comes to cost, I delay changing the oil in the back axel of my old ford. Not to mind the cost of new machines.

    We were at a tractor run lately and was amazed at the fresh tractors the farmers had. When I was younger, the silage around here was cut with single chops and any crock that could pull it. If lads ain't happy try cutting it themselves. They won't complain about cost next year.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭Bangoverthebar

    Thanks for the reply, i have been caught with grass 3 or more days on the ground because the big dairy farmer who owes my contractor 50k wont pay anymore if his bales not done today.

    I appreciate contracting is a prick of a job at times. And there is no easy money in anything.

    My gripe is purely on price and a dislike of the FCI whinging.

    Re buying a used baler, you take a chance as with all machinery.

    My father in law bought a tarrup bio 2 years ago, makes about 450 bales. Its been fine for him, and they are not known to be great. He would not go back to a contractor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,927 ✭✭✭alps

    If FCI rates were introduced in our area, we'd be looking at a price reduction.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,542 ✭✭✭Cavanjack

    I’d get the contractor bill a few times a year and spend a few minutes thinking that I’d be better buying more machinery and doing a lot of my own work. Then I spend the few minutes realising that the off farm job pays near as much per hour as the contractor charges per hour and I’ve none of the expenses only to get to work.

    Say for slurry at €60 per hour for a tractor and tank, he has to make repayments on his tractor and tanker, diesel costs, labour costs repair costs and still try and leave a bit of profit. It all doesn’t seem so dear then.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,225 ✭✭✭Dunedin

    It’s only the pit silage contractor that has the reduced season. I remember when I worked with a contractor back in the day it was june to august. Now it’s tied up in nearly less than 3 weeks. But bales are made from April to October. Manpower is another issue for pit outfits - hard to get good realible drivers for such a short season

    however, the baler is the game changer here. Probably north of 50% of silage is gone to bales now and due to less capital input there’s way more ‘contractors’ out there now and competition is cut throat. 25 years ago we had 2 silage outfits in our area. Now we have have 6.

  • Registered Users Posts: 181 ✭✭KAMG

    Exactly. If people just stop and think about it for a few minutes, they would realise this but no, they have to moan about it to everyone. You wouldn't believe the amount of dairy farmers who spent most of the meeting they had with us last autumn moaning about the money they had to give their contractors. How we had the manners to keep our cool I do not know. And nothing at all about what they were getting for milk.

  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭Bangoverthebar

    You might be left wondering about what Dairy farmers get for their milk this year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,927 ✭✭✭alps

    And the contractors will drop their rates in line with dropping milk price...fair play