Under the present regulations, which have closed down markets and much of the UK economy, Harrison & Hetherington is holding what is the UK’s very first dedicated virtual pedigree livestock sale. This is the 2020 Border and Lakeland Club annual spring sale of pedigree Holstein and British Friesian Bulls.
These are unprecedented times and this innovative initiative will allow this 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 10th April at 9am with final bids to be made by Tuesday April 14th at 5pm.
Harrison & Hetherington is at the forefront of the industry as the UK’s largest livestock trading company, and as such it has been a priority to ensure that an effective and efficient approach was found to replace the live sale room. This sale of Dairy Bulls is a key sale in the calendar as it enables farmers to source on the open market, new pedigree stock which is needed to guarantee the future of their herds.
Covid-19 restrictions have made the conduct of livestock sales impossible – and the company’s decision to launch an online catalogue, followed by the timed online auction, will allow “normal” trading to continue – albeit without the face-to-face sales that the traditional mart embodies.
Glyn Lucas, Senior Dairy auctioneer for Harrison & Hetherington, says:
“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.
The sale will comprise 70 bulls – 49 Holstein, 13 British Friesians and 8 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.
Glyn adds: “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 pictured and videoed, on the website, as well as their pedigrees and accompanying notes, which will be able to be accessed prior to the sale, to allow buyers to check on the bulls on offer, and information about them 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. Allowing videos to be accessed, allows buyers to witness the locomotion of the animal.
This impressive bull sale has 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.
Kevin Wilson of KJ & KS Wilson of Warnelview Farm in Thursby near Carlisle is selling 10 bulls and on taking part in the virtual sale, he said:
“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. 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.”
Glyn Lucas concludes: “We believe this is an opportunity. 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. ”