Four years had elapsed since McGinty Tractors’ last open day, an event which was held every first Thursday of April since opening back in the mid-1980s, and the company was delighted to be opening its doors once more to its customers.
The customers were equally pleased as well with a good crowd being present throughout the day which was one of the few days this spring which was dry and sunny.
Growing with Valtra
McGinty Tractors has been a Valtra dealer since 2005 and both companies have come a long way in the last 18 years.
Valtra, which was then something of an oddball brand, is now firmly in the mainstream while McGinty Tractors has made great efforts to promote both itself and the Finnish tractors.
The results have been impressive, with Valtra hitting a 33% market share in Donegal at times, quite an achievement as the tractors are not the cheapest on the market and the county is not known for affluent tillage farms.
It is, says Kevin Ward, sales manger for McGinty Tractors, a question of bringing customers over to the brand, for once they have owned one they rarely change again.
Getting customers hooked
This conversion is helped by three major factors he believes; the first is bullet-proof engines, the second is cab comfort, and third is overall practicality.
Engine reliability is hugely important in an area where repair facilities tend to be thin on the ground, although he notes that customer service is a high priority for McGinty Tractors.
Comfort and practicality go hand in hand and it is contractors who particularly appreciate the ride and ease of use of the tractors, the all-round suspension, and high ground clearance, drawing particular praise from customers.
It is not just farmers who appreciate Valtra, there are a handful of machines working in the fish processing works at Killybegs and yes, the salt laden environment does take its toll, as it does on any machine.
Used Valtras are also popular and regular trips are made to the UK to source machines to keep up with the demand.
Kevin Ward has no fear in stocking plenty of good examples as they don’t remain in the yard for long once they are brought in. There is also a brisk businesses in trade-ins.
It also helps that the family have a genuine enthusiasm for Valtra. Rory McGinty, son of the founder, has recently purchased a 2004 Valtra A85 from the US which is in pristine condition; hardly surprising as it has just 395 hours showing on the clock.
This tractor is not parked up as a museum piece though, it was bought to work some recently acquired land, and just a few days before the open day, it had been busy with a Major topper cutting rushes on fields that are being brought back into use.
New topper head from Major
Major is one of the many agencies held by McGinty Tractors with its toppers being a strong seller in the area.
This year, the company launched a smaller hedge-cutter version which has twin rotors giving a total of eight blades.
Although developed primarily for use with 360° diggers in the 10-13t range, it is equally at home on standard tractor-mounted hedge-trimmers.
It has an overall width of 1.6m and requires an oil flow of 90L/min. Cutting height is adjustable from 40mm to 100mm.
On a tractor it is ideal for verge work as the blades do not consume the energy of flails and so progress is swifter while still leaving a decent finish.
Presently, Major Equipment is starting to enjoy success in the southern states of America where the rugged construction of its toppers is appreciated by cotton farmers who use it to trim the tough stalks and stubble left by the harvesters.
Kverneland for grassland
For the majority of grassland equipment McGinty Tractors stocks Kverneland mowers, tedders and rakes.
Baling is taken care of by McHale and there was an impressive display of them on display, as there was of Kverneland machines.
Like all machinery companies, Kverneland had enjoyed a brisk start to the year but this tailed off as the weather turned wet in February.
For dealers that ordered in time last autumn, stock levels should not be an issue this year and there was certainly a good range of machines filing McGinty’s yard.
Indeed, there appeared to be a good stock of all machine types at the show; balers were filling two sides of the yard with many of them displaying ‘sold’ stickers, while the new and used tractors were double parked to fit them all in.
Further expansion for McGinty Tractors
The two latest additions to the company’s premises are a new parts display and well-appointed offices from which to conduct a modern business.
As Paddy Cantwell, sales manager for Valtra in Ireland, explained, tractor dealerships must present a professional face to the world and scruffy old offices no longer cut it when selling tractors that are probably worth over €100,000 each.
Valtra is encouraging all of its dealers to invest in upgrading their premises to not only reassure customers that they are dealing with a professional retailer, but also to attract and retain the right staff.
The latest addition to the premises in the form of offices and shop is matched by a building at the rear of the yard. This will house a display area when finished and is yet another sign of McGinty Tractors continued expansion.
It is all a far cry from the cattle shed in which it all started and the transformation is due purely to the effort put in by the McGinty family and staff over the years.
The partnership with Valtra has served both parties well and looks set to continue for a long time yet.