The farm: “We are mixed beef and tillage farmers from Terryglass, Co Tipperary. Philip is the one who has been looking after the farm for the past few years. On the beef end, we take in calves from local dairy farmers and rear them to beef. We were lucky to get our first silage cut in on Friday, just as the weather was improving.”

Contracting: “We have a silage contracting partnership with local man Richard Hogan. Our drivers are all friends or family of myself and Richard. My son, Philip, mows with the Case and Richard is on the pit. My nephew Michael draws for us too. I am usually on the harvester, which is a John Deere 2640 we purchased in 2015. We would not have the equipment to cover huge areas but we get through a good 900 to 1,000 acres, which is enough when you are farming as well.”

Starting out: “I started out in silage contracting in 1967 with my brother, Brendan. I would pick the silage up with a 43” single chop on a David Brown 990, while Brendan buckraked. In those days, pitting 3ac would have been a full day’s work. I moved to precision chop in 1978 and went self-propelled with a New Holland harvester in 2006.”

Weather delays: “We are about 10 days behind schedule because of the weather we have had from mid-April. I would have seven or eight customers ready to cut in the morning if the weather was right. The bulk in silage crops is slowing us down even more.”

This week: “We have cut for a few customers since we started on Sunday. Quality will be down on the crops still standing, especially those that did not get a grazing this spring. It has shaped up to be a challenging year for silage contractors and farmers alike.”

Quotable quote: “I have seen huge changes on the machinery end of contracting over my 54 years of driving. The harvesters today have a lot more technology and are far more complicated than when I began. I do not think I could cope with a brand new machine being so computerised.”