Clare’s top mart

22 Aug , 2018  

Clare Marts Ltd is a farmer-owned co-operative which consists of 2,500 shareholders and has an annual turnover of €73 million. Irish Tractor & Agri heard all about the Ennis-headquartered co-op from its General Manager and Secretary, Martin McNamara recently.

Four marts and 2,500 shareholders would put pressure on any General Manager, but Martin McNamara has been taking it all in his stride for well over a decade at his stage.

When the Co Clare native took on his role with Clare Marts Limited 13-and-a-half years ago it would have been safe to say he knew what he was getting himself in for, having been involved in the mart – and the industry itself – most of his working life

Clare Marts Limited, Auctioneers and Livestock Salesmen is a farmer owned co-operative with branches in Ennis, Scariff, Kilfenora, Kilrush, which holds weekly livestock sales.

The Ennis site is the co-operative’s flagship and head office where sales are held every single week. Sales in the other centres are seasonal and sale dates can be viewed in the sales diary on the co-op’s website.

“We’re operating with four marts in total but our headquarters are in Ennis,” Martin explained. “It does 85% of all of our business and we had an annual turnover of €73million last year.

“Clare Marts was started as a co-op in 1959 and it remains a co-op to this day. It started off as a Co-Op in ’59 and from there it developed over the years. Since the time it has been in Ennis it has emerged and grown year on year ever since.

“I’ve been working for the co-op 13-and-a-half years as its General Manager and Secretary. The society is owned by the farmers of Clare and they elect a board of 18. I report to that board on a monthly basis.”

Clare is renowned for the production of top quality weanlings, beef and store bullocks and heifers, which are produced from a well-established suckler base within the Banner County.

On Tuesdays, weanlings, suckler stock, calves and sheep are on offer, while on Thursdays they sell beef and store bullocks and heifers, dry cows and factory bulls, and on Mondays they have some special pedigree sales.

These cattle are deemed very suitable for finishing at heavy carcase weights with customers from all over the country frequenting the Clare Marts sales, particularly from the Midlands and Northern Ireland.

The general base of the suckler cow herd within the county was of good type stock, however in order to further improve the quality of stock on offer the society has, over a number of years provided several premia schemes to subsidise the purchase of top quality continental bulls.

These schemes have brought about a further improvement in the quality of stock available at the co-op’s sales. Approximately 85,000 of these quality animals pass through the Clare Marts centres on an annual basis.

At Clare Marts Ltd the following services are provided: Purchase of animals for customers, Transport Arranged, Lairage facilities available overnight, Trading of Entitlements and Land Letting and Sales.

It’s little wonder why most farmers close by won’t go elsewhere.

“Business was pretty good last year. We are up from the year before anyway,” the General Manager stated. “Our suppliers are predominantly Clare-based and then we’d have others coming from Galway and Limerick as well.

“We source good quality cattle and there are between 80,000 and 85,000 cattle a year sold here. With regards to sheep, there’d be in between 12,000 and 13,000 sheep sold each year in our mart.

“We employ between 35 and 40 staff on a busy day and then we’d have contracted engineers as well on top of that.”

In January, the co-op launched a major breeding programme aimed at maintaining and enhancing the supply of top quality cattle through support for suckler farmers in the form of Bull premiums and the use of AI straws.

Clare Co-operative Marts are working in partnership with Dovea A.I., Munster A.I. and Eurogene A.I. to promote the use of top quality 5 star terminal sires, within the suckler herd.

Renowned for quality stock, the co-op believe that by introducing a scheme for the use of 5 star terminal sires will help maintain a vibrant suckler herd in the county and beyond.

Clare Marts has recognised that the demand for quality stock is on the increase due to the expansion of the dairy herd and many feeders in these areas are finding it difficult to source quality weanlings and stores. They believe that the suckler herd in their catchment area has a very good future provided the focus is on the production of quality stock.

Suckling is suited to Co Clare due to average land type and many fragmented holdings.

Clare Marts believe this scheme is complimentary to the beef Genomics Scheme in that the use of 5 star terminal sires qualify in all respects for the scheme and this together with the improvements that have been achieved through the scheme already will only enhance the quality of stock on offer and increase the customer base and market for quality stock.

The scheme envisages providing a subsidy for the purchase of 5 star terminal beef breed bulls together with providing subsidies towards the use of 5 star AI Straws from the companies previously mentioned.

In total, up to €35,000 is being invested in this by Clare Co-operative Marts and their partners of Dovea A.I., Munster A.I. and Eurogen A.I.

The feeling is that this scheme will be very beneficial to Clare Marts’ supplier base with the potential to receive assistance in their breeding policy and more importantly in the production of quality stock which we believe there will be a strong market for.

Clare Marts would like to acknowledge their partners in this scheme, those being Dovea A.I., Munster A.I. and Eurogene A.I., for their commitment to the production of quality livestock.

Clare Marts Ltd

Quin Road,


Co. Clare

Tel: +353 (0) 65 6824411

Fax: +353 (0) 65 6829978

Email: [email protected]

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 6 No 2, March/April 2018