The month of May has been exceptionally cold. Where I live in County Wexford, temperatures barely got above 12C during the month. Last week saw a big improvement in the weather so let’s hope that June will fare out that bit better. I hope that, for many of you, business life is back to normal again now that showrooms are open and people can enter premises to view and do business.
I hope that you were able to retain the staff you had before lockdown began over fourteen months ago. I hear of many industries, especially the retail and hospitality sector, having staff shortages as many of their former staff moved on and found work elsewhere, especially those that were let go, albeit temporarily. This is becoming a big problem.
The time has almost come when dealers can visit farms and sportsgrounds with their machines and get back to giving demonstrations on site once again. Having one to one contact and showing off the new equipment and answering any questions will be good to see once more. Having virtual demonstrations online certainly filled the gap during the pandemic but it doesn’t beat having real communication in person where the customer can sit on the tractor or mower and try it out for themselves, in a real field or pitch.
In some of my earlier blogs I would have mentioned the importance of dealers in the community, especially in rural areas. They are a source of support to the farmer or turf manager. When things are not going to plan and a machine breaks down when an important match is coming up or a crop needs to be harvested, a good dealer will be there to help their customer as best they can. The lifting of restrictions should allow call outs to take place again.
I’m sure that local demonstrations will be organised during the summer. However, even though, by the time you read this blog, that more than half of the population will have received their first vaccination, many of the agricultural shows have been cancelled, for the second year in a row. Tullamore, Tinahealy, Virginia and the Iverk shows are just a few to name. Even the trade exhibition at the National Ploughing Competition has been cancelled, along with the World Ploughing Contest. However the National Ploughing Competition will take place with limited numbers for visitors attending. You can read more about this in this edition of Service Dealer Ireland.
The picture in the UK is almost the opposite to here in Ireland. They have been ahead of us with the vaccination rollout, as most of the population there have received their jabs. BIGGA’s Festival of Turf outdoor exhibition is planned to go ahead from 21st to the 22nd July at the Warwickshire Event Centre.
Finally, as farm and garden equipment is being used more frequently during the fine weather, I would ask you to be safety aware when it comes to operating machines. Inform your customers about the hazards that exist and the necessary safety precautions needed before operating them. Let’s try and keep farm deaths as low as possible this year.