SKIPTON Auction Mart has taken the initiative in order to ensure that both vendors and buyers are able to trade in both breeding and pedigree livestock, currently suspended at the mart 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 mart has already introduced weekly farm-to-farm sales of ewes with lambs at foot, while innovative timed auctions of pedigree cattle involving live online bidding are due to kick in next month.

Skipton reports that 540 outfits of ewes and lambs were sold last week alone, with demand from regular customers expected to continue. “Sheep are selling away nicely, with buyers looking for both hoggs and young ewes with lambs to put into flocks, along with older ewes with lambs for grazing and finishing,” said livestock sales manager Ted Ogden.

To assist potential buyers, the mart is listing stock available at with its Facebook page also featuring both photographs and videos of several batches available for sale. Vendors are, in turn, asked to contact the auctioneers with their usual weekly entries.

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

Pre-sale viewing will be available from May 4 to 11 via 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 in a letter to all customers.

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, have been sent to all relevant customers and can also be accessed online at the mart website. Entries for the first sale closed on Monday (April 20).