Established in 1997, J Catterson Agri Contracting is a leading contractor based in Convoy, Co. Donegal which specialises in pit silage, umbilical slurry spreading, dump trailer work, ploughing, cultivating and aerating the land along with spraying.
Jonathan Catterson is the brains behind the operation and also helps his father Roy to run the family farm. The Catterson’s are sheep and beef farmers as well as potato growers.
“I juggle the two,” Jonathan explains. “We have 180 acres of our own and rent a further 60 or 70 acres. We keep 250 ewes and around 150 beef cattle. Things can get quite hectic on the farm during the winter and spring months when you’re feeding cattle and have ewes lambing. We also grow about 25 acres of certified Kerr’s Pink and Queen’s which we supply to local shops and neighbours.”
The contracting enterprise takes up most of Jonathan’s time and continues to go from strength to strength. Committed to providing a top-class service and complete customer satisfaction, Jonathan has a wide range of machinery to carry out your work quickly and efficiently, providing you with value-for-money and an alternative to investing in your own expensive equipment.
J Catterson Agri Contracting’s success and longevity can be attributed to the knowledge, skill and expertise of its staff as well as the quality of its machinery. Jonathan and his professional team deliver the value and quality farmers expect from their agricultural contracting partner.
“I worked for a local contractor called Sammy Porter and when he retired, I decided to go out on my own. I bought a CLAAS Jaguar 71 harvester. I also bought a Ford 8200 tractor and that’s how it all started.”
From humble beginnings, Jonathan has built up an impressive fleet of tractors and machinery. He runs six tractors, namely a 2019 New Holland T7245, a 2014 New Holland T7235, a 2010 T6080 New Holland, a 2009 T6080 New Holland, a Case MX135 and a SAME Silver 130. In terms of silage equipment, he operates a New Holland FR600 self-propelled forage harvester, which was purchased from R Kennedy & Co in Ballymena, Kverneland and Viking front and back mowers, a CLAAS Liner 2900 rake, 2019 320s JCB loader and a Manitou MLA 628 loader.
Other equipment includes Kane and Donnelly silage trailers, an Agquip 12-metre dribble bar umbilical system, an Abbey 2,500-gallon slurry tanker, a Kverneland four-furrow reversible plough, a Lemken power harrow as well as a variety of rotators, destoners, Amazon 21-metre sprayer and harvesters for the potatoes.
All machines are maintained and upgraded on a regular basis to avoid breakdowns and downtime.
“While we can do a lot of the maintenance ourselves, if there’s ever a problem with the New Holland tractors we send them to Cowan Tractors in Galdonagh for repair,” he says.
There is no such thing as a quiet time for this highly-regarded contractor who will work around the clock at busy times and take on extra staff to keep clients happy. Slurry spreading, ploughing and potato planting take precedence in the early part of the year, followed by silage cutting during the summer months. After that comes more slurry spreading and potato harvesting.
No job is too big or small for J Catterson Agri Contracting which operates within a 40km radius of Convoy.
“The area we cover is mainly the Finn Valley, but we also go as far as Newtownstewart in Co. Tyrone. We have good, loyal customers on both sides of the border,” the affable contractor continues.
“We pride ourselves in providing a top-class, reliable, clean and value-for-money service. Reliability is a big thing in this game and locally we’re hard to beat. When we say we’ll be there on time, we mean it. We always do our best for our customers. We have found that if you look after them, they will look after you and recommend you to others. Nearly all of our work is secured through word of mouth.”
Reflecting on 2020, Jonathan says it was a satisfactory year for his enterprise.
“We had a decent year despite some unfavourable weather for the second and third cuts of silage. The first cuts were very good, though. The weather dictates everything in this business.
“We’re always striving for improvement and extending our range of services. We are thinking about getting into round baling and bale handling for the incoming season, but there are already a lot of contractors in the area providing these services.”
Jonathan receives tremendous support from his wife Linda and children, twins Dione and Amy (19), Chloe (14) and Alfie (nine). Chloe and Alfie take a huge interest in the agri contracting and farming. Chloe was a great help to her father and granddad Roy, when the schools were closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Jonathan concludes by thanking his customers and staff for their continued support: “We are lucky to have so many great customers who have stuck with us through thick and thin. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the lads who work with me, Cowan Tractors and R Kennedy & Co for backup during the busy season. They’re all hard-working and always take great pride in their work.”
If you want the job done right, be sure to give Jonathan a call!
J Catterson Agri Contracting
Telephone: 087 6777599
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 4, July/August 2021