Mayo man Paddy Farragher established an agricultural contracting business in 1964 when he purchased a new Massey Ferguson 35X, a plough, a ridger and a tipping trailer for £960.
As the years progressed, Paddy was expanding his business while regularly upgrading his machinery.
In 1983, the Cong man made the move to a new 5t Bredal B48 lime spreader. Paddy bought the spreader off Tom Jennings from Castlebar Farm Machinery. He traded in his then 10-year-old Atkins 3t spreader.
The spreader set Paddy back £4,500 at the time. Paddy recalled doing the deal while he was late for his next-door neighbour’s wedding, but the importance of the deal wasn’t as well understood by all.
Paddy explained: “At the time, there was a subsidy for spreading lime. I suppose we were spreading around 4,000t to 5,000t of lime each year. I think the rate for spreading at the time was £1.25/t.
“The same year we bought the new spreader we also bought a new Landini 8550, which was our first four-wheel-drive tractor.
“The Bredal proved to be a great reliable machine. We had to replace very few parts over the years, with the exception of changing the flights several times and replacing the conveyor belt once, which was my own fault.”
Extra road work
By the early 1990s, Paddy and his son Ger noted that the spreader began doing more and more road work.
Instead of the quarry delivering lime to the customer, many of the jobs were quite small, so the Farraghers were drawing lime direct from McGrath Quarries to the field. At times, lime was drawn up to 20 miles away. To make the machine more efficient, 4in extensions were added. This allowed the Farraghers to carry an additional tonne of lime.
By the mid-2000s, tractors were growing in size and becoming faster and faster. As the miles clocked up, the road began to take its toll on the running gear, leading to some cracks beginning to appear on the chassis.
The spreader was brought into the workshop where it was overhauled. The chassis was repaired, significantly strengthened and even lengthened. A new towing eye was also fitted for smoother transport. This overhaul allowed it to work away largely unscathed for two more decades.
Being 38 years old, general wear and tear and condensation in the air meant the spreader’s hopper had begun to rust.
Although small bits of patching were done now and again, a restoration plan to give it a new lease of life had been on the cards for some time, but lack of time got in the way.
With a third lockdown becoming more inevitable in the days leading up to Christmas and Ger being on holidays from his job as a woodwork teacher, the break provided the ideal opportunity for the spreader restoration.
The spreader was brought into the workshop and the gutting began. All rusted areas, which included much of the hopper and hopper frame, were grinded off.
The hopper was then extended rearwards by 9in to match the previous chassis upgrade.
New sheeting was fitted before the centre of the hopper was reinforced with box iron, similar to the modern-day Bredal spreaders.
Nowadays, most lime is collected at the nearby McGrath Quarries. The Farraghers added an additional 4in extension, while the extensions at the back of the unit were angled rearwards to allow the wide bucket on the quarry loader to comfortably load the spreader without spillage. This brought the spreader’s capacity up to 8t.
New mudguard frames were fabricated from old rims off a timber cartwheel, while larger plastic mudguards were sourced from the local dealer, McHale Farm Machinery. The original 400x22.5 tyres were swapped out for new, wider 500/60x22.5 rims and tyres, which came at a cost of €1,130.
Ger noted that all of the running gear was carefully analysed when the machine was stripped. The wheel and all the roller bearings have been in the spreader since new and are still in perfect working order. New drive belts were fitted, along with new rubber strips, which slot between the hopper and conveyor belt.
The duo noted that the spreader only got one replacement conveyor belt over its 38 years.
Paddy fitted a hydraulic ram on the back door so he could conveniently open and close it from the comfort of his cab. However, it had a small leak which was dripping on to the belt, eventually damaging it. After that, Paddy wasn’t long ditching the ram for the original handle.
Ger took the LED burger-type lamps off an Abbey dung spreader which was solely used for on-farm work and fitted them to the Bredal.
A PTO cover, which was lying in the shed, was fitted, having been originally sourced from an old MF 275.
Ger explained that the project took in the region of 100 man hours to complete. The steel (including cutting discs and welding rods) cost €1,400, the two drive belts, rubber strips, primer and paint cost €200, the decals cost €50 and the new rims and tyres cost a further €1,130. This totalled €2,780.
Despite giving up much of the hire work such as baling in 2018, Paddy and Ger continue to spread lime and slurry on hire in the local region. The spreader continues to earn its keep year on year, spreading an average of 1,000t of lime per annum.
Bredal was established in the late 1940s to supply agricultural machinery to local farmers.
The name comes from the fact that the company was founded in Bredal, a village in Denmark.
The company’s early production covered spreaders that could be drawn by both horses and tractors.
The initial focus on spreaders was supplemented with harrows, commercial fertiliser and manure spreaders.
The foundation for the existing Bredal range of lime and fertiliser spreaders was set in late 1965 when the first lime spreader was put into production.
The Danish company named this model the B46. Production of these spreaders proved to be successful and they soon phased out other products to meet the demand for spreaders.
In 1976, a new division was built in Bredballe close to Vejle, Denmark. During the 1980s, Bredal developed the B2-B8 Series, which were its first spreaders for spreading fertiliser only.
For many years, the company was named Maskinfabrikken Bredal A/S. This was convenient in the company’s mother tongue as Maskinfabrikken is Danish for machine factory.
With increasing sales across borders, the name was changed to Bredal A/S in 2007 for ease of pronunciation.
If you are in the process of completing or have recently completed a restoration project, feel free to get in contact with us at email@example.com.