Agri-Spread hosts Aussies at Irish HQ

By: Chris McCullough

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Agri-Spread International has hosted Australian and Canadian customers during a one-week trip, writes Chris McCullough

Agri-Spread AS150T tandem-axle spreader in Australia
An Agri-Spread AS150T tandem-axle spreader at work in Australia
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It’s been a successful year for Irish-based machinery manufacturer Agri-Spread International, which recently exhibited at the world’s largest machinery show, Agritechnica, and hosted some Australian customers at its HQ in Ballyhaunis, Ireland.

Agri-Spread managing director David Murphy was present on the Agritechnica stand with the Australian and North American distributor John Warr.

John farms 8900ha near Geraldton in Western Australia and uses Agri-Spread machines in his own business. He says the main advantages of using Agri-Spread spreaders are that they can handle all materials including fertiliser, manure, gypsum and lime.

Earlier, Agri-Spread hosted a group of customers and importers from overseas, including some who were visiting Ireland for the first time.

A group of 15 farmers, contractors and importers from Canada joined a similar-sized delegation that had flown in all the way from Australia to view for themselves the range of Agri-Spread machines on their home turf.

This was the first time Agri-Spread had hosted such an event for its customers and hopes to host a similar event in the future.

The visitors spent a week in Ireland viewing the machines, looking at how they are made and receiving the latest training on the most efficient ways to use the spreaders. 

Of course, on top of that, as many of them were visiting Ireland for the first time, they were treated to some Irish hospitality, visiting some of the most scenic locations in the country and sampling some of the best food in the world.

The group said they were very pleased with their machines, particularly one Canadian contractor who runs six spreaders.

Matt Gosling, who travelled over from Strathmore, Alberta, is a contractor running six Terragator TG8400 self-propelled tractors with Agri-Spread AS100 units fitted to them.

Gosling spreads 81,000ha to 121,000ha each year in an area stretching to 1500km north-south and 500km east-west.

"We spread 75 per cent of that from harvest time in mid-August to October just ahead of the big freeze season. The remainder we would spread from March to May," he says. "Once the combines get rolling for the harvest, we start spreading with really only 120 days to do it all in.

"We are super happy with the Agri-Spread spreading units. Before making our purchases we researched the entire market to see which brand could step up and suit our requirements."

Australian farmer Scott Vaessen runs a 3600ha broadacre farm in the Riverina region of New South Wales.

Even at only 41 years old, Scott has owned and worked this farm for the past 18 years and grows barley, wheat, oats, canola and field peas.

With temperatures reaching a peak of 45C and dropping to -5C in the winter, Scott battles low rainfalls and must use the moisture in the air efficiently when it’s there.

"Our biggest challenge is the lack of rainfall," Vaessen says. "Our main growing season is April to November and we must farm efficiently, using every drop of rainfall we get.

"I run 3m tramlines and work with 12m multiples on my machinery to give me maximum widths in the fields. I use a John Deere 8370RT as my main tractor and a John Deere 8220 on the sprayer, which extends to 36m boom width."

Vaessen operates an Agri-Spread AS120 spreader on a single axle and is now in his second season of using it.

"I am well pleased with the spreader," he says. "I needed a machine that spread the fertiliser 36m equally and, thanks to the persistence of the Agri-Spread guys, they achieved that goal for me," he says.

Kerry Eitzen hails from Linden in Alberta, Canada, where he runs a custom spreading operation and manages his own chicken farm.

He runs two Agri-Spread AS150T machines, each covering 10,000ha per year spreading Biosol, which is a sulphur-based slow-release fertiliser.

"We pull the Agri-Spread 15-tonne machines with 360hp New Holland T8 front-assist tractors," Eitzen says.

"The furthest we have travelled to a customer is 550km, but he had 9000 acres [3600ha] to do. This is our second season using the Agri-Spread machines and they are head and shoulders above the competition.

"It was actually a friend of mine who sells them that pestered me to demo an Agri-Spread machine and thank goodness he was persistent," he says.

Ben Kirkby runs a broadacre farm near Moree in New South Wales and uses an Agri-Spread AS120 spreader.

"We grow barley, chickpeas and wheat on 6000ha and carry out some contracting too," he says.

"Temperatures rise to 43C where I’m from, so we are also short of some rainfall as well.

"We spread fertiliser during one pass before seeding and perhaps a later top dressing if the crop requires it. I use a Case IH 380 tractor to pull the spreader and a Case IH Steiger 500 rowtrac tractor as well.

"This is my first time in Ireland," Kirkby adds. "It’s very green so I see you guys have no problem with low rainfall! Have to say I love the place."

On the Irish tour were (from left): Australia’s Ben Kirby, Agri-Spread’s Carol Conlon, and Canada’s Kelly Manikel and Kerry Eitzen
On the Irish tour were (from left): Australia’s Ben Kirby, Agri-Spread’s Carol Conlon, and Canada’s Kelly Manikel and Kerry Eitzen


Irish DNA

Agri-Spread International was founded in 2006 by Mark Murphy and is based in Ballyhaunis in County Mayo in Ireland.

Operating out of a purpose-built 2200-square-metre factory, the company makes spreaders capable of handling fertiliser, lime and other materials.

Now headed by Mark’s son David, Agri-Spread currently exports to over 12 countries and has set a goal to increase the number of international markets in the future.

The product range includes fertiliser and lime spreaders with single and tandem axles plus a series of rear-discharge spreaders and spreaders that attach to trucks.

Customers can specify exactly the spreading unit they require for their own particular truck and AgriSpread will manufacture the spreader to suit the requirements.

One of the company’s more recent developments is a rate controller for trailed spreaders.

Local Enterprise official John Magee, Agri-Spread founder Mark Murphy, Mayo County Council chief executive Peter Hynes and Agri-Spread general manager Alan Rattigan
Also at the Ballyhaunis event were (from left): Local Enterprise official John Magee, Agri-Spread founder Mark Murphy, Mayo County Council chief executive Peter Hynes and Agri-Spread general manager Alan Rattigan

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