Why the Cotter name has been synonymous with farm contracting in West Waterford for over 50 years
It was 51 years ago in 1966 when John Cotter started out contracting in west Waterford. The Cappoquin man is now a sprightly 73 and still plays a hands-on role in the family-run business, Cotter Agri Contractors Ltd.
His son, Kieran Cotter, is now managing the business which employs up to 10 staff during peak season. Its main services are silage and maize harvesting, slurry spreading and contract maize and fodder beet growing.
The maize harvest in the south east was just starting when I met the Cotter team. Their 2015-registered Claas 860 harvester with eight-row header was busy gobbling up a 50-acre field of maize on the Dungarvan to Cappoquin road.
Powered by a Mercedez-Benz 450hp engine, the harvester was well up to the job.
Trailer loads of maize were being ably drawn away by the Cotter fleet of New Holland tractors - with the exception of one John Deere which is subcontracted in from a family friend to help out on busy jobs with heavy yields.
The Cotters harvest around 400 acres of maize annually with the vast majority grown under plastic.
Kieran Cotter has been involved in agricultural contracting since he was a teenager. "I remember helping Dad out from a very young age - you want to be useful and help out so you learn to drive a tractor in the fields in your early teens and then later on the road.
"I grew up surrounded by all things contracting so that probably gave me the interest to make a career out of it."