ON my closing sentence last month, I stated “let’s hope during the next few weeks that we will see some relaxation in the guidelines and allow us to get back into a form or normality for operating livestock sales”.

Well there hasn't been much change, we are still challenged with two metre social distancing and every week we look for a glimmer of hope that it will get to one-metre or less.

In the last week, we released some good news with the announcement about livestock sales through the Live Sale Ring. It will be our intention to hold the Annual Pedigree Sheep Sales scheduled for the autumn sale season through Borderway Mart, Carlisle.

Under the present government guidelines, there will be restrictions applied to both vendors and purchasers attending the markets during these sales.

With the guideline information changing on a weekly basis, the details of the restrictions to attend the sales will be announced nearer to the scheduled dates.

Planning to get sale schedules and entry forms out to the various sheep breeders up and down the country has generated a busy time recently as the first of these events kick off at the beginning of August.

The weekly three-days-a-week commercial sales have continued to build momentum and stock numbers also continue to grow for buyers’ demand.

The ‘Drop & Go’ system for consignors to these livestock sales continues to be a safe and efficient method of marketing stock numbers.

The message we have put out to all farmers is - You're Still Farming, We're Still Selling.

Another step forward with the Live Ring selling, since Covid-19 started, was when we conducted our first dairy dispersal sale.

To allow purchasers to bid confidently for stock we have also been operating our Live Stream Bidding facility, which allows bidders to buy cattle from their own mobile platform without entering the market.

Trade was outstanding with over 40 animals purchased through the Live Streaming system and 30 buyers from 12 counties recorded on the buyers list.

The success of our online timed auction system for pedigree livestock continues to be a major player in our business with the various restrictions of movements still in place.

The most recent ones have been a Machinery Sale, which attracted items from as far north as Aberdeen down to North Wales, this sale was topped at £40,000 for a John Deere 6125R with loader. Over the same period of time, we held a very successful pedigree ewe and lamb sale, which saw a Blue Texel gimmer securing the leading price at £5400 from Northern Ireland breeder Janet Carson.

We can envisage this alternative system of livestock selling will continue to run alongside the live sale rings for the present time.

Over the last few weeks, the determination to make sales happen and to keep the farmstock business operating has been down to the dedication of the whole team here at H&H - our key workers of the farming world. Until next month, stay safe.