At the foot of the Slieve Mish Mountains and overlooking Fenit harbour, JM Agri Design is located in a picturesque setting near Tralee in Co Kerry. Established in May 2015, the company is a relatively new name in Irish machinery manufacturing. The company is owned by Joe Moynihan.

Today, five years after Joe first set up the business, he has built and sold just shy of 1,000 handlers.

After secondary school, Joe spent five years studying agricultural engineering at Tralee IT. While in college, he worked his summers with local agricultural contractors and carried out his work placement as a design engineer with Dairymaster. After securing his level 8 degree, Joe headed to Australia to work for Tobin No-Till, a seed drill manufacturer owned by a Tipperary man. There, Joe was involved with R&D and later became a product manager after he designed an on-the-move coulter depth control feature.

A year and a half later, Joe moved home and acquired a job as a design engineer with Agrispread in Co Mayo.

Joe Moynihan established JM Agri Design is 2015.

The business

While working with other companies, Joe was always involved in the running of the family farm. As they made their own bales on the farm, it often took a day or two before these bales were brought back to the yard. Joe said: “Year on year we were faced with the challenge of trying to pick up these sagged bales with conventional bale handlers. Even the hydraulic handlers often damaged the plastic.”

From here, Joe designed and built a bale handler using a trunk to come down over the bale. After building three prototypes in 2015, Joe felt that there was a niche in the market for a similar product, so he decided to patent his design.

He said: “When I started off in 2015, I made 10 to 12 handlers. As this wasn’t viable to live off, I worked for a local agricultural contractor that summer. My job was actually driving a tractor with my own handler on the front. That year I stacked over 10,000 bales. So it was a good test for one of my prototype machines.”

The next year, Joe added two more handlers to his range. He was still unsure if the concept would take off, but built and sold a further 65 units. From here on, he noted that sales grew from 30-50% each year and he often lost out on sales due to a backlog. The following season Joe had sold a handler in every county in Ireland.

Today, five years after Joe first set up the business, he has sold just shy of 1,000 handlers. Joe claims his single handler is 25% more efficient than a standard loader-mounted bale handler, and his double handler 115% more efficient.

He now has four full-time staff and recently introduced a new implement adapter product. He is working on more new products, the first of which we will see at Grass & Muck next year.


At present, most JM Agri Design handlers are working in Ireland. After attending some shows in the UK with his implements, Joe has retailed more than 50 in England. He’s in talks with two dealers in the UK ahead of the 2020 season.

Joe has identified the Scandinavian countries as a potential market and recently attended the Elmia Show in Sweden. “The handlers got a lot of serious interest at the show. However, it’s just like when I started off in Ireland. Guys are initially afraid to buy a new product until they try it for themselves”.

Joe has over 50 handlers working in Australia. He also has smaller numbers working in countries such as the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium. All of these sales to foreign countries have been through the internet.

Today, five years after Joe first set up the business, he has built and sold just shy of 1,000 handlers.

Threats and opportunities

Joe noted that building up a good reputation is vital and he thinks his machines are serving his name well. He is hoping that the UK will take off in the next few years. This is because a unique selling point to his TR range is that it can handle both round and square bales.

With these opportunities also come threats. Joe explained that running his own business isn’t all plain sailing and that there are a lot of hidden expenses such as complying with regulations. Holding on to skilled labour can also be difficult. He added that finding dealers that will push his products can also be tough, especially as they are products with a low retail value.

This headstock adapter was added to the range earlier this year. Futher new products are in the pipeline.


Business: JM Agri Design.

Managing director: Joe Moynihan.

Address: Derrymore East, Tralee, Co Kerry.

Established: May 2015.

JM Agri Design logo