FCI publishes Contracting Charges Guide for 2019

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is pleased to publish this FCI Contracting Charges Guide for 2019. At FCI we are satisfied that this averaged price guide will act as a reasonable guide for both contractors and farmers. However, it must be remembered this is only a guide.

Contractor Chris O'Dowd from Rooskey baling in South Leitrim

Supported by FBD Insurance

FCI Objectives

To represent agricultural contractors at the highest level with

politicians and the Department of Agriculture in Ireland and Europe.



To promote good contractor / farmer relationships.

To promote the benefits of a good agricultural contracting service.



To provide members with knowledge and courses to help them run their businesses.


To provide a good working relationship between contractors 

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Latest News from FCI

FCI Silage Safety Factsheet for Contractors & Farmers for 2019

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has published a Safety Factsheet for Contractors and Farmers for the 2019 Silage Harvest, in order to provide advice so that farmers and contractors can work together to keep everyone on the farm healthy and safe during the silage season.


The FCI Factsheet provides guidance to explain what both Farmers and Contractors can do to keep each other and their staff, safe during the busy silage making time. The Factsheet highlights the need for better communications as a key method approach to help to reduce accidents around the busy silage harvesting time.


FCI believes that Farmers and Contractors must work together to meet their overlapping duties every time a contractor comes on farm. Having a face-to-face or over the phone meeting before work starts can help farmers and contractors to reach a common understanding and establish clear roles, responsibilities and actions. It will also prevent any gaps in managing health and safety risks.


FCI advises that Contractors must make sure:

•          that any risks from their work that could affect the farmer, farm workers or other contractors on the farm are reasonably managed. If a risk can't be eliminated then it must be minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.


FCI advises that Farmers must make sure:

•          that any risks from farm work are reasonably managed (eliminated or minimised) to protect the health and safety of contractors

•          that risks from any previous work carried out on the farm (eg land drainage, levelling, spraying hazardous substances) are reasonably managed to protect the health and safety of contractors

•          that farm buildings and any area where work is being carried out is safe for everyone including contractors

•          that any risks from low overhead wires are made known to the contractor for the safety of operators

To download the FCI Safety Factsheet Click here

Manage Costs and Your Money at Silage 2019

With the silage season getting into full swing here is some useful advice for running a successful Agri contractor business. 

Know the costs involved in your running business (labour, fuel, time spent carrying out repairs and the cost of financing your machinery). Any basic costing analysis will show that a 100hp tractor is costing you, the contractor, €50/hour before you put a machine or trailer behind. 

Properly cost your silage making operation & charge accordingly, not for reasons of cash flow, for a profit to allow to reinvest in the best Machinery for your customers future needs.

Send out invoices quickly and chase for payment - it’s your money & extended credit costs your business dearly. Add interest to overdue accounts not paid after 30 days from invoicing.

Join the FCI for more

business advice

Email: info@farmcontractors.ie


L-Plate & N-Plate Driver Questions & Answers for Tractor Drivers











Question 1: Is the driver of a tractor with a W Learner Permit or a W and B Provisional Licence, required to have a qualified driver in the tractor cab with them at all times when driving on the public road, if there is a second (instructor) seat fitted to the tractor cab?

Answer 1: No, the driver who holds a W Learner Permit shall not carry a passenger in or on such a vehicle unless the vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry a passenger (has a second seat) and that such a passenger already holds a full drivers licence, B or W category, otherwise NO PASSENGERS by LAW!

Question 2: If hold a ‘W’ licence Learner Permit are you required to display an L plate when driving a tractor and trailer?

Answer 2: You are NOT required to display L plates if you hold a Learner Permit in Category W, they are required for a range of other licence categories.

Question 3: If you have held a ‘W’ licence for a number of years and seek a provisional ‘B’ licence why should you have to display an L plate when driving a tractor and or trailer, if you already hold and have held for more than a year a full ‘W’ licence?

Answer 3: You are not required to display L plates if you hold a Learner Permit in Category W, they are required for a range of other licence categories.

Question 4: If you already hold a W and B licence and you are driving a tractor with a trailer/implement attached that is displaying an L or N plate from a previous driver, are you considered to be breaking the law for displaying either of these signs? If so what is the fine for such activities?

Answer 4: You are NOT breaking the law and there is no fines relating to such activities.

Message on Safety Awareness when working near ESB Networks overhead electricity lines

The ESB Networks has sought the support of members of the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) in raising awareness of the dangers associated with working near overhead ESB Networks electricity wires.


Arthur Byrne, Public Safety Manager at ESB Networks, advises all contractors saying, “A major risk is working near overhead electricity wires. Coming close to these live wires is extremely hazardous and can be fatal. Very serious electrical accidents have taken place involving silage machinery, both in the silage field and at the silage pit.”

Contact, or even near contact,

with electricity lines can be fatal.

The minimum safe distance is

3 metres, horizontally and vertically;

it is more for higher voltage lines.

Arthur Byrne says that accidents

with overhead wires are preventable

with advance planning and safe

behaviours. He advises putting

these precautions into practice



Watch out for Poles and Stay Wires

Steer Clear

Identify where Poles and Stays  are

in the field and avoid coming  within

3 metres.

You may need to physically ‘Red

Flag’ them.

Avoid crossing beneath

Overhead Lines and Work Parallel

to the Line.

Arthur says that Poles and

Overhead Lines must never be

close to a silage pit.

If they are closer than 6 metres,

you must contact ESB Networks

to re-locate. Do not work until ESB

Networks advises that it is safe to

do so.


If you have concerns about overhead wires, poles, or stays, please phone this number 1850 372 999 (24 hour/ 7 day service) immediately. In an emergency, the speed of your phone call could make all the difference.


The emergency contact number is 1850 372 999 (24 hour/ 7 day service). He advises all Farm & Forestry contractors To store this number in your mobile phone.


In an accident situation, where any part of the machine is in contact with the electricity line/equipment, follow these steps:


  • Stay in the cab;


  • Keep everyone else clear of the scene, at least 5 metres;


  • Phone ESB Networks immediately;


  • If possible, reverse out of the contact situation;


  • If you exit the cab (e.g. because of fire) , jump clear and take short steps until you are 5 metres clear;


  • Do not return to the cab.


  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, TOUCH the line or anything the line may be in contact with.



Urgent Working Height Directive needed for Silage Pits

FCI has requested the Health & Safety Authority to issue a directive to farmers on the maximum height for the loading/construction of silage pits as farm sizes increase.


















This week FCI expressed its concerns to the Health & Safety Authority as well as Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed TD and Minister for State with responsibility for the Health & Safety Authority Pat Breen, TD on the issue of silage pit safety following concerns from members as silage pit heights continue to grow to dangerous height levels.


FCI has informed the Ministers that the huge increases in dairy cow herd sizes on many farms, coupled with the heavy grass crops and the fact that there is a 10 to 15% carry-over of silage in many pits due to the earlier start to the grazing season in 2019, have meant that many farmers are expecting/forcing many farm contractors to put more silage into existing silage pits.


The reality of this is that the only way that farm contractors can put more silage into an existing silage pit is by going up!


FCI is urgently requesting that the Health and Safety Authority to issue a warning to all farmers as to their responsibility in this matter. FCI is requesting that the Health and Safety Authority issue a Working Height Directive for silage pits, limiting the height to which a silage pit can be constructed to a maximum of 6 metres.


Alternatively, FCI requests that the Health and Safety Authority issues a Working Height Directive that limits the height to which a silage pit can be constructed to twice the height the silage pit retaining walls.

In the meantime, FCI advises all farm contractors to exercise extreme caution in the construction of high pits of silage. FCI advises members to explain to their customers the reasons for limiting the height to which they construct the silage pit the guidelines above.


FCI believes that an urgent directive coming from the Health and Safety Authority, at this important time, will provide the necessary strength to ensure that action will be transferred down to farms so that farmers will learn to appreciate the dangers that their actions are having in insisting that their contractor’s construct silage pits to unsafe heights.



FCI Contractor Charges Guide 2019

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is pleased to publish this FCI Contracting Charges Guide for 2019. At FCI we are satisfied that this averaged price guide will act as a reasonable guide for both contractors and farmers. However, it must be remembered this is only a guide.

These figures are produced on an annual basis and are compiled by collating an average figure for each operation from a panel of FCI Contractor Members from across Ireland. This year sees contractors quoting a 5% increase in charges, rounded off in order to cope with the increases in costs of machinery and higher labour costs since the start of 2019.

The increased costs of new machinery for contractors and farmers, are impacting on the sustainability of many agricultural contracting businesses. Machinery cost increases in 2018 and into 2019 as a result of the Tractor Mother Regulations (TMR) have added costs to new tractor prices, which have been absorbed by contractors in their charges, to date.

There are indications from the farm machinery industry that sales of large self-propelled silage harvesters are this year expected to exceed last year’s 35 unit total. It is important that contractors understand the costs associated with such investments and take account of these additional costs as well as possible improvements in output, in establishing their charge rates.

The arrival of the new Revenue Commissioners Payroll System from January 1, 2019 has been an added cost to agricultural contractors. Skilled operators must be paid weekly and tax returns issued weekly, contributing to additional costs.

Driver availability also continues to be an issue, as operating costs increase for rural-based contractors. Contractors across Ireland within FCI will be making new efforts to promote and raise awareness of the important role of a modern farm machinery operator within an agricultural and forestry contractor enterprise, during 2019.

The cost of farmer credit continues to rise for farm contractors. Some contractors have outstanding debt from 2018. FCI is encouraging all contractors to issue monthly or weekly invoices followed by monthly statements in order to help to manage cash-flow. This level of long term debt level valued at more than €60 million now owed to farm contractors is costing the contracting sector in Ireland in the region of €3.5 million each year in interest, based on a 6% interest rate.   

Because of the local differences the actual prices quoted in the FCI Contractor Charges Guide may vary considerably between regions, across soil types, distance travelled, size of contract undertaken, size and type of equipment used as well as the amount of product spread. There are some consistencies in terms of operating costs which transcend all regions, these include the machinery depreciation costs and the finance costs as well as the machinery purchase costs. 

Michael Moroney, FCI Chief Executive Officer said, “FCI always advocates that all contractors should examine their costs of operation in working out their individual charges. Charges must be based on a realistic examination of the cost of the operating tractors and a full host of machinery.

“A basic cost analysis will show that a 120hp modern tractor will require a minimum rate of €50 per hour in order to cover the operating and labour costs, irrespective of the work done,” he added. He believes that 80% of that hourly cost is accounted for by labour and diesel costs, with just 10% allocated to depreciation and repairs, giving a very tight running margin.

“This FCI guide is helpful to both contractors and farmers in highlighting a national average. Contractors need to look closely at costs in order to establish rates for their services that will allow for profit, and take into account the huge depreciation costs associated with owning modern farm equipment,” he added.

The FCI is also aware that some contractors are now making individual arrangements with their customers regarding diesel (eg separate fuel surcharge, fuel used on-farm etc). The prices below do not reflect this as diesel prices are variable throughout the season. Such individual agreements may make a significant difference to contracting charges.

Agricultural contractors offer a wide range of machinery services to their customers and this is why they have been proven to be the best and economical choice for many Irish farming businesses. “FCI farm contractors have shown the ability to offer the best service to their customers, with skilled operators and modern machinery. While on occasion the dedicated land-based contractor may not always be the cheapest option, an amateur may end up costing your business more in the long run,” said Michael Moroney.

 “FCI contractors provide their customers with a professional, prompt and efficient service, with the latest equipment, that’s properly maintained and with skilled operators. They are tax compliant, hold the correct contractor insurance along with health and safety certificates to protect you and your farm business. The price and value of this service is being increasingly appreciated by many farmers as they work with their contractors to become partners in the planned future growth of many successful farm businesses,” he added.

To Download the FCI Contractor Price Guide Click Here

FCI Confex 2019 date is set for Wednesday, 4 December 

The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is staging its second joint Conference and Exhibition (FCI Confex 2019) based on the success of the previous event held in January 2018. Once again, this year, with the support of FBD Insurance sponsorship, the FCI Confex 2019 will combined a busy seminar programme with a machinery exhibition, that is tailored to meet the needs of Irish contractors.
























The FCI Confex 2018 event attracted an attendance of more than 700 contractors from all corners of Ireland, who used the opportunity provided by the event to get information to help improve their businesses as well as look some new technology options.

“At FCI we set out to provide a professional event that was run along similar lines to the DeLuTa Contractor event held every two years in Germany by our CEETTAR counterparts at BLU,” said FCI National Chairman Richard White. "We visited DeLuTa in 2018 and we will incorporate some additional features from that experience for this year. We will be getting support from our database of 1,500 contractors across Ireland with the aim of providing them with a combination of a conference and exhibition where they could get information and network with one another,” he added.

“The FCI Confex is being made possible again this year with the valuable financial support from FBD Insurance, said Richard White. “At FCI we continue to work with FBD Insurance to their help our members to get the best possible insurance cover, which is an essential part of any contracting business. We know just how important it is for our member’s customers to know that their contractors have adequate public and employer liability insurance cover when they come to their farms.”









Exhibitor and information packs have been sent to a large number of companies in the farm machinery and allied sectors that provide services to Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland. If you require any information please email us on info@farmcontractors.ie for a full pack.

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