Live cameras now in place as Skipton Auction Mart looks forward to high profile autumn sales season
Skipton Auction Mart is forging ahead with plans for its keynote autumn breeding sheep sales season later this year.
At the same time, it is now enhancing the overall selling experience for vendors following the installation of live streaming cameras in all three main sales rings.
While there is still uncertainty as to whether shows will take place this autumn – they are currently banned under Covid-19 safe distancing regulations – Craven Cattle Marts’ livestock sales manager Ted Ogden explained:
“In relation to our big September breeding sheep sales, we want to allay the fears of vendors, as we are sure that live sales will take place in the normal pattern. We, therefore, urge vendors to carry on making the usual preparations.
“In terms of who will be allowed into each sale, while priority will be given to market staff and buyers we are assuming social distancing restrictions will be slightly relaxed by then, and, at the very least, the vendor whose livestock is in the sale ring will be allowed to be present, in turn followed by other vendors.”
All Skipton’s main autumn sale dates, including annual breed society highlights, along with closing dates for entries, are posted at www.ccmauctions.com though the mart said anyone with concerns about forthcoming sales should get it touch direct,
In the interim, Skipton continues to stage its usual weekly sales for prime, store and breeding stock, both cattle and sheep, along with dairy cattle and rearing calves.
Mr Ogden said: “While from an operational viewpoint the Coronavirus crisis has given us a difficult few months we have carried on with live auctions every week and are confident that we will continue to do so into the critical autumn breeding sales period.”
Because vendors are still not being allowed to enter sale rings due to safe distancing requirements Skipton Auction Mart has responded by installing live streaming cameras into all its rings.
The system allows vendors to drop their livestock off in the morning and then log into the auction mart website and watch their stock being sold live via laptops, tablets or mobile phones to check how it is selling. Furthermore, customers who have provided the mart with an email address should receive selling prices when their stock has been through the ring.
Mr Ogden added: “We remain keenly aware that many sellers obviously want to be in the ring to help sell their animals, which just isn’t possible with the current restrictions in place, but at least they can now watch the sale live.
“This valuable bolt-on facility is already proving extremely popular and it is something we may well continue, even after Covid-19, as it reduces time spent at the auction.” Full instructions on how to access streaming cameras are again posted on the mart website.
STOP PRESS: After taking advice from the LAA (Livestock Auctioneers Association), the mart decided this week that there is now potential to allow vendor access to certain sale rings where this can be done safely and while observing social distancing.
CCM’s general manager Jeremy Eaton explained: “However, the acknowledgement that this could be achieved is further qualified by LLA advice that Test and Trace could potentially source a positive case back to a person who has attended a market, causing contacts to be isolated for 14 days.
“This could potentially debilitate mart staffing levels to a point of temporary closure. Buyer attendance is easy to police because their numbers are quantifiable and their access contained.
“Vendor access is less easy to manage because of a desire to enter penning areas and, because of the number of vendors, the avoidance of congregating points. On the basis of risk to market operations and the desire to proceed to a format to enable the autumn sales to proceed in as near normal circumstances as possible, CCM is continuing with its current policy of ‘drop and go’ to keep staff and customers safe and to the longer-term operational benefit of both the company and our customers.
“We are reviewing the practicality of allowing restricted individual access to the sale ring for vendors of DAIRY CATTLE ONLY because of the low numbers of vendors involved, size of the sale ring and surplus capacity once social distancing is ascertained for buyers.”
He further commented: “I would be more hopeful than assumptive with regard to back end sales, though we are already equipped to enable online bidding for pedigree and other sales for that matter if restrictions continue.
“We could comfortably accommodate buyers attending in person or remotely, even with the current conditions. Vendor access was actually available from last week and our view at the moment is that the priorities are to continue trading and enable the autumn sales with the usual buyer attendance. A short-term relaxation at this moment jeopardises these objectives for our customers, staff and future trading.”
Entries set to close for online working sheep dog and machinery sales
Meanwhile, this coming Tuesday, June 16, is the closing date for entries for two important up-and-coming online sales, both the first of their kind to be staged at Skipton – a virtual timed sale with real-time viewing of working sheep dogs and a standalone sale for farm machinery.
The mart reports that entries are coming in nicely for the pioneering dog sale, to be staged over a six-day period from Sunday to Friday, July 12-17, with separate viewing and sale days for entries from Scotland, England and Wales, followed, subject to entry levels and hoped for access to transport facilities, by All-Ireland and European sale days.
The fixture is purpose designed to ensure that working sheep dogs continue to move into the right hands to keep sheep farmers farming, as well as provide succession on the trial field for trialists.
Ever-popular farm machinery and equipment sales – they are growing in popularity year on year - are normally staged as part of Skipton’s seasonal Agri-Trader fixtures and these too are currently on hold in order to meet safe distancing guidelines. The first-ever online macinery sale is scheduled over two days on Tuesday, June 30, and Thursday, July 1.
While both high profile fixtures remain subject to Department of Health Covid-19 advice, full details, terms and conditions, and entry forms are again available via the mart’s www.ccmauctions.com website