Livestock Markets – Where do farmers stand (literally)….

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Since the regulations have been put into place to seek to control Coronavirus, there has been huge impacts on livestock farmers and the sale of their stock through livestock markets. This article seeks to clarify the position and confirm the recent changes that have allowed some sales of breeding stock to commence.

First and foremost sales of prime, store and cull animals is still permitted. All livestock markets in the country should be operating a “drop and go” policy, sellers should not be entering the market premises by foot. When dropping off livestock, farmers must remain in their vehicles, market staff should unload the trailers on their behalf, and sale documentation must be collected by auctioneers/staff from the vendor who remains in their vehicle.

The aim is to reduce attendance at markets to the bare minimum, when in market buyers must stand 2m apart, this includes ringside and in queues for payment. In some instances, buyers will need to buy for additional accounts, to further restrict the number of people in market and to assist those who have been identified as vulnerable. Buyers will be expected to register on attendance to the market and should sanitise on entry and exit of the premises.

It is due to the success of the implementation of drop and go, and social distancing within markets, that DEFRA and the Welsh Government have now permitted the sales of some breeding stock. Breeding stock sales can commence from TODAY (Monday 27th April). The same measures for buyers and vendors still remain in place, and vendors must still drop and go, and buyers must remain 2m apart and register on arrival. It is advised that only “known purchasers” will be given access to the market.

Shows and sales, or sales that would normally generate a large gathering of people such as pedigree bull sales are not permitted under this review.

In the instances of bull sales, multiple breed societies are working alongside the relevant auctioneers to pull together digital catalogues for available stock, with vendors details, so buyers can contact vendors directly. Systems have also been developed by Newline (most popular auction system software) and Farmers Guardian to assist with the sale of breeding stock. The Auction Marts website from Newline offers access to timed online auctions, and Farmers Guardian have enhanced their classified site; with free sign up and online only listings.

Whilst these restrictions have not been ideal, they have allowed the continued sale of livestock throughout these uncertain times in a safe way, and without which, the effects on the livestock industry would have been hugely significant. The measures are under constant review, and when the situation improves, and the governing bodies deem it appropriate; the measures will start to be phased out as and when it is safe to do so.

Agri Advisor are happy to assist with any queries relating to what is permitted regarding selling your stock at this difficult time.