A look at Casey Agri amid New Holland partnership

Taking on a tractor dealership can be a big step forward for any small business such as Casey Agri, especially so when the manufacturer concerned is one of the big three brands.

A look at Casey Agri amid New Holland partnership

A look at Casey Agri amid New Holland partnership

Yet that is just what Denise and Bob Casey of Portarlington, Co. Laois have done with the announcement that they are to become the agents for New Holland in the area.

Softly softly

It was not a decision that was taken lightly; in fact, it was not something the firm had anticipated at all, so when approached by New Holland it took a little while before agreeing to go ahead.

That was back in February, when Denise and Bob Casey were working on plans to upgrade the premises and improve upon the services they already offered, to better focus on the primary business of selling and supporting good quality used tractors.

Casey Tractors laois
The parts department and retail area had already been modernised with more upgrading and expansion of the premises to come

Not that the family business was new to holding a dealership. Bob’s father, Eamon, had started importing tractors from the UK in the 1990s and had taken on board Ursus, Zetor and Landini-McCormick agencies over the years.

Four years ago, he handed over the business to his son and daughter-in-law and settled on refurbishing and restoring tractors on his own account on the farm just across the yard from the main premises.

Tractors in the blood

Bob had always had an interest in the business, although he worked outside of the trade for a a number of years while Denise has a background in hotel management and cheerfully admits that she is still learning about tractors.

She does not consider this any sort of impediment, instead, she considers it a great advantage in many ways for it brings to the business a set of skills which may often be lacking in other firms.

Family business staff
Bob and Denise Casey (centre) with staff and next generation of tractor enthusiasts

Business management, marketing and just talking to customers are facets of running any enterprise, be it a hotel or tractor retailer, and cross fertilisation of ideas and practices is never to be discouraged if companies are to move forward.

As to being a woman in what was traditionally considered a man’s world, it never occurs to her as being an issue, although there have been occasions where customers have expected a male to serve them, but happily accept that times have moved on.

Casey Tractors insists on quality

It might be fairly said that the majority of tractor dealers in Ireland have similar origins in that the original proprietor started off bringing in stock from over the water, yet not all of them continued in business or had family members interested in carrying it on.

tractor stock refurbishment
Bob’s father, Eamon, continues in business in his own right, refurbishing classics to a high standard

Where Casey Tractors believes it has an advantage to build upon, is its insistence on quality, it will sell only those machines it is confident in and is happy to back up afterwards.

It has not specialised in any one particular make, that is not the primary concern when buying a tractor for stock. What is of the greatest importance is that it is a sound machine.

An eye for a tractor

Bob has been around tractors from day one and will know within two minutes or less whether a particular example is worth buying or whether he should walk away from it.

Auctions have always been a major source but he notes that he needs to stand by a machine in real life before even considering a bid.

eye for tractors
Bob has a small collection of classics which attracted a good deal of attention from those on the way to this year’s Ploughing.

This is one reason he avoids online auctions, the other is that bidders tend to get carried away and pay over the odds for machines, which is why they are so popular with auctioneers he feels.

All the tractors sold are given a thorough service before being let out of the yard, and may even be resprayed if considered necessary; the idea is to bring them back to as perfect a condition as possible.

Serving the community

Denise and Bob believe that it is this overall attention to detail and service which were the major factors in bringing New Holland to their yard. Yet they don’t see taking on the dealership as demanding any immediate changes.

Denise notes that they will be carrying on much as before with the new tractors slowly being integrated into the Casey Agri business.

Community new holland tractors Casey Agri
The familiar premises will be further upgraded and expanded as part of the Casey’s long-term plans

There is no question of abandoning the old business model and filling the yard with shiny new blue metal; for a start, New Holland simply has not got the available stock for them to do so.

This does not mean to say that they are going at it half heartedly, both are fully committed to the change, as are the staff who have been busy familiarising themselves with the new software and systems that come with taking on the agency.

Little and large

The firm is based in an area of mixed farming with a healthy mixture of dairy and tillage farms making up its existing and potential customer base.

Just a few weeks since news of the new agency broke, there has been a healthy number of enquiries for new tractors with the emphasis being on larger models, a reflection of this year’s industry trends.

Dairy farms area tillage Casey Agri
The sale of slurry equipment of all sorts is booming at present

There is though, still something of a bottleneck in supplies with the desired larger tractors not being available until May or June next year, which is an improvement on the last couple of years. Yet it it still means that buying decisions need to be made now for next season, if it’s not too late already.

It has also meant that when Agriland visited there no new models in the yard. Those that had already arrived were either sold and on farms or were away having loaders fitted by Rossmore Engineering of Tipperary.

Silver lining for Casey Agri

One benefit of this delay is that the company will have time to adapt to selling New Holland tractors as an agency. There is no intention to rush, it is a question of a gradual integration of an added dimension to the business.

New Holland is far from being just a tractor company and the deal has brought the potential to increase the sale of implements as well.

TRactors abbey bob
Tankers are hard to come by at present and these two from Abbey and NC already have new homes found

Presently Casey Tractors is the agent for NC and Abbey and with space to expand behind the current premises, there will be room for a larger range of machinery to be stocked, including New Holland equipment.

But none of this will be happening overnight; Bob and Denise are taking it slowly, an approach that New Holland is fully supportive of, as it is in the interests of all that this family firm retains its position as a dependable and trusted supplier of machinery to the local farming community.

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