Northern Ireland

Grassmen success - Ballymena tractor films are worldwide phenomenon

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Media captionThe videos show tractors making synchronised turns in fields

They're movie makers, but not as we know it.

A Northern Ireland company is reaping the benefits of an apparent worldwide fascination with tractors.

Gareth Gault is the brains behind Grassmen, a business built on the appeal of John Deere, Massey Ferguson and New Holland.

To his fans around the world, Gareth is better known as Donkey, the man behind the wheel of some powerful machinery.

Image copyright Grassmen
Image caption The company's videos on YouTube have more than a million views

It all started when he began watching farming videos with a friend.

Gareth explained: "We watched some DVDs that had been made about farming locally and we thought we could do that. Slowly, we built up the courage and made one and it's just grown and grown."

Image caption Grassmen's Gareth Gault came up with the idea

The company's videos on YouTube have more than a million views.

It is a simple premise - big machines cutting grass. So what's the attraction?

"It's all around you," said Gareth. "The sunshine, the tractors... it's diesel, it's the noise. It's in the blood."

Image copyright Grassmen
Image caption The firms founders are reaping the benefits of an apparent world-wide fascination with machines

"The contractors that we videoed, I asked them the question why do you do it? It's a disease; it's in the blood.

The business employs three people and has ambitions to increase its workforce in the near future.

Image caption The Grassmen have discovered that their biggest online fan-base is in Norway

It has received a helping hand from the development agency, Invest NI, which describes Grassmen as a "dynamic" company that is "really capitalising on social media channels".

Their online fans are global - outside the UK and Ireland, their biggest fans are from Norway.

Christian Lester from Scarva in County Armagh is a huge Grassmen fan.

Image caption Fan Christian Lester from County Armagh says the films 'raise the hairs on the back of his spine'

"I watch the videos because they're class, and they show you how to do everything. The harvesting is my favourite thing to watch because it's a bigger operation," he said.

"It raises hairs on the back of your spine. It's awesome.

Image copyright Grassmen
Image caption Time for your close up - tractor films are lucrative business

"My friends watch them too, they're mad about Grassmen. We talk about all the videos and the tractors, we'd argue about which is better.

"I don't think city people get it. There's a few would look at me when I have a Grassmen t-shirt on in Belfast, but everyone in the countryside gets it."

Image caption Kirsty Ward, who features in the films, says she finds solace and peace in the field

Twenty-three-year-old farmer Kirstie Ward, who features in many of the Grassmen films, explained why the field is her sanctuary.

"The world's locked out - you're at your own pace," she said.

"Of course you're concentrating, but you've nobody to answer to and everybody's good craic, everyone looks after one another and it's just... peace."

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