Located just off the M1 at Blakes Cross, Co Dublin, is the brand new state-of-the-art premises that is the new home of WBD Farm Machinery.
“Some 37 years on, WBD Farm Machinery is pretty much back to the exact location where it originally was when set up by Jimmy Weston, Tommy Dunne and my father Michael Butterly in 1984,” Alan Butterly said.
The first letter of each of the three surnames makes up the initials WBD, which remains very much relevant today.
Now in the hands of the second generation, WBD is unique in that its three current directors are sons of the three individual founding families.
Today, Alan Butterly and Alan Dunne look after the sales aspect of the business, while Declan Weston takes care of the accounts department.
Starting out as a secondhand machinery dealer, WBD quickly took on the role as Irish importer for the Italian-built Maschio Gaspardo equipment range. In 1988, WBD became Fiat Agri dealers, up until Fiat Agri merged with Ford New Holland. As the years passed, WBD became Irish importer for Lucas G equipment, as well as OCMIS irrigation equipment.
In 2008, WBD struck an agreement with Massey Ferguson to become a dealer, having not carried a tractor brand since the days of Fiat Agri. Being in prime tillage area, this gave WBD the opportunity to offer the entire Massey Ferguson line, including tractors, combines and forage equipment.
“Given our location and the strength of the Massey Ferguson brand in Ireland at the time, we knew our bets were safe which we feel is even more so the case today,” said Alan.
More recently, WBD was appointed Irish importer for the New Zealand-built Giltrap spreader range. Alan explained that the first trailed Giltrap fertiliser spreaders, built to Irish specification, have arrived and are ready to make their way to the fields in the coming months.
Having already moved premises three times through the years, the decision was made in 2015 to buy the site on which the new premises is now built. The intention was to build a brand new modern dealership that would serve the business for many years.
“The site came up for sale and it suited us ideally. It was along the road where it could be seen and easily accessed with lots of space. So, we bought it and got plans in place. Development then started in January 2018. While building was ongoing, we remained working out of the premises 4km away in Ballyboughal,” according to Alan.
“Building was well on track until COVID-19 struck. This obviously set us back, but building finished up last summer and we moved in during October. Four months on and we’re still settling in you could say, between getting fully stocked and getting all the finishing touches done, but we’re pretty much there now.
“The new building is 200ft long by 80ft wide, in total offering 16,000sq ft of usable space under the one roof, with a sizeable yard surrounding it for stock. The new building includes a showroom, parts store, ample office space and a modern workshop with wash bay out the back. This leaves us with serious comfort and plenty of room for further expansion if required in the future,” Alan explained.
WBD Farm Machinery is currently home to 14 staff, while actively seeking personnel to join certain areas of the team.
While in conversation with Alan, I asked him what influenced the decision a number of years ago to make such a substantial investment during what could be described as uncertain or challenging times for Irish agriculture.
Without hesitation, Alan said: “There is one thing that is and will always be a given and that is that people need to eat. Consumer demands might change and so might farming practises, but either way farmers will always be needed, therefore machinery in some shape or form will be too.
“We felt that it was a case of now or never really. Having rented our previous premises, we felt that the investment in a purpose-built facility was necessary in catering for the growing business. We’d also like to think here at WBD that when a customer sees the investment we have made, that they are instilled with confidence that WBD are here to stay and are dedicated to serving our customers’ needs.”