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Ripple effect now starting to hit other businesses

By Chris McCullough

Published 05/08/2015

Businesses which rely on farmers as customers are also starting to feel the effects of the ongoing crisis in the industry.

With cashflows on farms drying up, the ripple effects on local agricultural machinery and equipment companies is just starting to hit.

Protest action over falling commodity prices is ongoing but some farmers fear for their futures and how long they can stay in business.

The crisis does not just affect Northern Ireland's 24,000 farms or the 50,000 people that work on them. It also affects those in ancillary businesses and into much wider circles.

According to new figures, tractor sales in Northern Ireland in the first half of this year are down 35% on the same period last year - 270 units.

Some dairy farmers have cancelled or put on hold major investments in machinery to see how the crisis evolves.

With the increasing pressure on cashflows banks are being pressed to work closely with farmers to ensure they survive.

Samuel Bell, managing director of William Bell Tractors in Fivemiletown, said: "There's no doubt the crisis is going to affect us all. I can see it taking about six months to a year before any great improvements are made."

Frank Flynn, managing director of Redrock Machinery in Collone, Co Armagh, added: "The crisis is affecting everyone and I hope things improve for farmers all over the country very soon."

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