Kanturk Co-Operative Mart Ltd has been at the heart of the agricultural community in North Cork for nearly 60 years. Mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe explains more.
Established in 1959, Kanturk Co-Op Mart comes alive every Tuesday when farmers from throughout the region flock to the centre of Kanturk for the weekly cattle sales. The mart has been part of life in the town and its environs for decades, attracting sellers from within a 25-mile radius and buyers from as far away as the Midlands and West.
Kanturk Co-Op Mart was set up by a group of local farmers and like-minded business people who felt it was time for a more organised way of selling stock. The Mart has 175 shareholders, who meet once a year, and a committee of 16 who convene monthly. Committed to providing buyers and sellers with a fair platform, the Mart continues to go from strength to strength under chairman John Cott and vice-chairman John Noonan.
Major investment in recent years has seen the addition of several new pens, a new catwalk which has greatly enhanced the health and safety of the public and viewers, a new computer system and a new canteen which is run by Joan and Liam Buckley. Kanturk Co-Op Mart is part of the ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) whose core business is to provide vision, leadership and value to the co-operative movement in Ireland. ICOS member co-operatives and their associated companies collectively have over 150,000 individual members, employ 12,000 people in Ireland (a further 24,000 abroad) and have a combined turnover of almost €15 billion.
Once a platform for sales of both cattle and sheep, Kanturk Co-Op Mart now deals in cattle only and sells in the region of 30,000 a year, including 12,000 calves and 10,000 bullocks. Proceedings get underway at 10.30am every Tuesday with the sale of calves in Ring 2, followed by Friesian Heifer calf sales at 2pm. In Ring 1, dry cows are sold from 11am, followed by heifers and bullocks. The auctioneering duties are shared by Tim Connell (Kanturk), William Troy (Cashel) and John Ryan (Tullamore).
“The Mart has been a meeting place for farmers in this part of Cork for the past 58 years,” explains Seamus O’Keeffe, who has been manager since 2000.
“The running of the Mart is overseen by 16 committee members, at the head of which are John Cott and John Noonan. We have four full-time staff and 22 part-time. Collette O’Connor is our office manager and financial controller. Our staff and ringmen have a wealth of experience and knowledge in how to handle stock in all situations, and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to them for ensuring the smooth running of the Mart. They are a pleasure to work with.
“I would also like to thank our customers and hauliers for their support down through the years.”
Kanturk Co-Op Mart uses Newline Auction Management Software which provides all the information buyers and sellers need to know from the weight of the animal to its movement, test dates and whether it’s from a quality assured farm. The Mart is located on a six-acre site in the centre of Kanturk, is easy to access and boasts a large parking area.
“Our location is one of our biggest selling points,” Seamus continues.
“We are 12 miles west of Mallow, just off the Mallow-Killarney Road. The nearest marts to us are 20 miles away in Macroom and Kilmallock, so we cover a big area. Buyers and seller arrive here in their droves every Tuesday and they contribute handsomely to the local economy. We’re proud to be part of the fabric of Kanturk and try to support local businesses as much as we can. When we celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2009, we held a banquet in the Edel Quinn Hall and sourced everything, including the mementoes and trophies, from within the town.”
As well as the weekly sales on a Tuesday, Kanturk Co-Op Mart plays host to dairy cow sales every Saturday from the beginning of January until the end of April, while weanling sales are also held on a Tuesday from the end of July until the end of December. The weanlings are from top-class Belgian Blue, Charolais and Limousin suckler herds. In addition, Kanturk Co-Op Mart can arrange collection and sale of your cattle and calves in all areas.
The Mart is well on course to surpass last year’s sales figures.
“We’re about 2,500 ahead of where we were this time last year,” Seamus informs us.
“We had 2,500 animals at one of our sales in April, which is a massive number for us. The average number is 1,300 and our capacity is about 1,800. With 400kg whitehead bullocks making as much as €975, it’s a seller’s market at the moment, but the buyers keep coming.”
Kanturk Co-Operative Mart Ltd,
Telephone: 029 50081 / 087 2527464
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 5 No 5, July/August 2017