SKIPTON Auction Mart has taken up the gauntlet on behalf of pedigree livestock customers to ensure regular vendors and buyers across Cumbria are able to continue to trade.

Pedigree sales are currently suspended due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions and the ongoing need to remove any potential for large public gatherings and the associated health risks of uncontrolled social contact.

The new Craven Pedigree Sales are set to offer timed online auctions commencing on Wednesday and Thursday, May 13 and 14. This launch fixture will be an all breeds sale of pedigree cattle with entries catalogued in their breed section in age order.

Pre-sale viewing will be available via the mart’s website – - from May 4 to 11 utilising state-of-the-art technology, with the chosen software allowing the addition of video, which can be sent from smart phones via WhatsApp. “We believe that the way to derive success from this platform is to provide high quality images and video supplemented by social media and interaction with our auctioneers,” explained Skipton Auction Mart’s general manager Jeremy Eaton.

He said: “With auction trading at the mart limited to prime and store stock for the foreseeable future, we clearly need to offer pedigree breeders the opportunity to expose breeding animals for sale, the planning for which starts 12 months before or more. When trading has been interrupted in the past the traditional method for marts to adopt is to sell stock via a farm-to-farm sales list, which is fine for categories in ready or seasonal demand, but less satisfactory for other stock.

“Livestock auctions provide a platform for both sellers and buyers to network at all kinds of levels and in attempting to provide a solution we are conscious that any substitute has to provide this opportunity to come close to a normal auction experience.

“In the absence of an auction ring, the closest we can come to replication is through the medium of a timed auction over a limited period with pre-sale viewing, the nearest approximate platform to a real-time ring auction.”

Detailed instructions, including a new entry form and guide for use for the timed auction and preview, along with conditions of sale, can also be accessed online at the mart website. Entries for the first sale closed on Monday, April 20.