LIVESTOCK went under the virtual hammer through a Carlisle company for the UK’s first dedicated online pedigree sale.

And as the bids closed for the 2020 Border and Lakeland Club annual spring sale of pedigree Holstein and British Friesian bulls earlier this week, it was deemed a runaway success.

This unique online auction process run by Harrison & Hetherington was a first for the country and offered a clear and transparent system, allowing bidders to purchase livestock from the comfort of their own home. It also offered ease of sale for sellers, saving the extra transport of livestock to traditional animal marts. With this online auction livestock can be collected or delivered directly to the buyer.

Harrison & Hetherington turned around the ebay-style auction in just seven days, and they received 100 UK-wide registrations before the auction ended on 9,000 views.

As the virtual auction closed, 80 percent of livestock had been cleared.

Glyn Lucas, Senior Pedigree Dairy auctioneer for Harrison & Hetherington has confirmed that due to this success, online auctions will be the way forward for the pedigree sales in the coming weeks. “This approach is completely new to all parties involved and has been quite a learning curve, but a necessary one that will continue to be developed and improved. Covid-19 restrictions have made traditional livestock sales in the ring impossible – and the company’s decision to launch an online catalogue and online auction allows trading to continue – albeit without the face-to-face sales that the traditional mart embodies,” said Glyn.

The sale included a catalogue of 72 Lots from Shropshire in the South to Fife in the north over to Northern Ireland. The top bull went for £4,600 and over 50 bulls sold.

Kevin Wilson of KJ & KS Wilson of Warnelview Farm at Thursby, near Carlisle, sold his ten bulls to an overall average of £3,000. “This is a key sale in the dairy calendar as buyers need the bulls to get the cows in-calf so it was important the sale went ahead one way or another. These are uncertain times and there was a little apprehension how it would go but I would like to thank H&H for turning this very important sale around so quickly.

“There were so many people at the end trying to bid that there was a slight glitch, but for me personally the sale was tremendous and all my bulls got sold. From my perspective it was a good method of selling, it certainly did the job in these challenging times, but I did miss the interaction with the buyers and the opportunity to show the bulls in front of them.”