UK’s first online-only livestock auction to take place next week

The catalogue is already published and plans are well underway for the UK’s first-ever totally virtual livestock sale.

The lockdown has seen marts across the country close down but one quick-thinking auctioneer has found a way to save the event, which is a cornerstone of the Border and Lakeland Club calendar.

Harrison and Hetherington’s Annual Dairy Pedigree Sale will still go ahead – albeit with a bit of a twist to allow it to comply with lockdown regulations.

The innovative initiative will allow the important sale of dairy bulls from across the North of England and Scotland to go ahead.

The catalogue is already published, and the Live Bidding will commence on Friday, April 10 at 9:00am, with final bids to be made by Tuesday, April 14 at 5:00pm.

Glyn Lucas, senior dairy auctioneer for Harrison & Hetherington, said: “We find ourselves in exceptionally challenging times, but it remains an important time of the year for farmers and it is imperative that the flow of breeding animals, that are critical to our milk supplies, is able to continue in order to reach the necessary businesses and individuals.

Online selling is a fact of life in the economy, with auction sites proving to be effective and popular. In the context of livestock trading, it may well prove to be an additional way of business in the future.

Lots

The sale will comprise 70 bulls: 49 Holsteins, 13 British Friesians and eight Fleckviehs.

The top sires on sale are suitable for all markets, so commercial milk producers, breeders, and farmers who have heifer rearing units, will be able to find something to suit their own specific requirements.

Lucas added: “One of the big attractions of this year’s catalogue must be the large selection of outcross sires. All bulls selling have been tested free of BVD.”

All entries will be shown in both photograph and video form on the website, along with their pedigree and accompanying notes. The information will be able to be accessed prior to the sale to allow buyers to check the information about the bulls on offer and the herds they come from.

“It is a way to get around these difficult times when we need to keep our customers, buyers and staff safe. We have buyers and sellers from all over the UK, so it would not be fair to ask them to travel here in these extraordinary times,” Lucas said.

“Allowing videos to be accessed, allows buyers to witness the locomotion of the animal.”

Sale highlights

Lucas explained lots included top sires suitable for all markets, so commercial milk producers, breeders, and farmers who have heifer rearing units, will find something to suit their own specific requirements.

The herds represented in the sale include Adams, Annandale, Berryholme, Carrock, Errolston, Evening, Gerrard, Heatherleigh, Jenkin, Lismulligan, Miresdale, Newbirks, Nerewater, Petteril, Queenscairn, Rockhall, Tallent, Tynevalley, Warnelview, Whinnow, Winnoch & Wormanby.

Holstein sires include sons of Unix, Bomaz Skywalker, Monument Impression, Westcoast Lighthouse, Westcoast Yamaska, Walnutlawn Sidekick & Mogul Vortex Lexxi Foxx and Mapel Wood Brewmaster.
British Friesian sires include sons of Catlane Chad, Kirkby Premier Collycroft Solo, Carrickshock & Marshside Rocket 3.

An auction of this kind will embody the best features of the market system, where open trading sets a true value for stock providing best value for sellers, and equal opportunities for buyers to obtain the best breeding animals they need.

New territory

Kevin Wilson of KJ & KS Wilson of Warnelview Farm in Thursby near Carlisle is selling 10 bulls through the virtual sale.

“It is a shame we cannot take the bulls to the usual auction sale but under the circumstances, we are fully aware that this is absolutely not possible,” he said.

We have taken the next step and it is online instead, for me it is new territory, but a necessary and safe move. Without the benefit of the physical presence of a live auction room, I know that they are being presented the best light possible to potential buyers.

“I have prepared the bulls by washing, clipping and videoing them leading on the halter from all angles. We will have them on our own Facebook pages along with the online auction.

“It is very innovative to sell them under these circumstances and we hope to secure plenty of bidders to realise the best price. We are even happy to retain the bull under the purchase if the buyer can’t take it straight away.”

“We believe this is an opportunity,” Lucas added. “At Harrison and Hetherington, when we are faced with problems, we need to be able to present the solutions and we do hope that the industry will get behind the sale and support the farms who have brought stock forward.”