Harrison and Hetherington announced return to the sale room under strict government guidelines
Harrison & Hetherington has announced that following in-depth negotiations, regulatory bodies have agreed that breeding sales will re-commence next week under strict government distancing guidelines.
This decision was a welcome one, agreed this week by the combined governments of England, Scotland and Wales, to raise the current barriers on commercial breeding sales. These sales will be for all types of commercial breeding livestock – sheep, cattle and dairy.
In terms of logistics, the system will be run to minimise contact and potential spread of the virus. The marts will start commercial breeding sales as of next week and are already restoring the sales calendar to ensure that Harrison & Hetherington can accommodate the strict procedures dictated by the regulations in place.
On announcing the lift, it must be emphasised that trading can only take place under the very same strict conditions related to COVID-19 that has been operated at recent store sales of livestock. This will mean that vendors must adhere to a ‘Drop and Go’ policy and buyers can only attend, who must have registered in advance.
This welcome news is getting the commercial breeding livestock market up and running again for the UK. Since lockdown Harrison & Hetherington has been running their weekly sales under these guidelines so the business is very aware of what it is doing, and how sales need to be conducted.
David Pritchard, Joint Managing Director for Harrison and Hetherington explained: “In the last few weeks the store sales have worked well, however, everyone was fully aware that if these commercial breeding sales were postponed, this would be a major issue for farmers, as breeding stock needs to move, particularly at this time of year.
“I believe this is how we are going to be trading for a while but it is good news that commercial breeding stock trading has now been permitted. Our highly experienced and conscientious team of auctioneers and support staff here are very much focussed on ensuring that our farmers can trade at this vitally important time and they have played a pivotal role in keeping in contact with both vendors and buyers.”
This decision will allow H&H to get back up and running fully, in recent weeks we haven’t closed our auction marts and momentum has remained, but it is very important that we keep everything as normal as possible. We must ensure that trading continues for all sectors, commercial, breeding and pedigree so that every step of the food chain continues as this will ensure that the supermarket shelves remain stocked, at this critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The benefits of the auction system and the specialist team at H&H is that they know the vendors and buyers and can make sure that trading is seamless and all parties’ objectives are met. David concludes:
“In terms of logistics, the system will be run to minimise contact and any potential spread of the virus. Although this is excellent news, I must remind all attendees to the mart that strict biosecurity is maintained at this point as we do not want any breaches, as these would result in a reversal of the decision and a much longer term disablement.
“It is also our duty to safeguard the health of our customers and staff, which is absolutely paramount at this time. We are contacting vendors and buyers currently to make them aware of the changes and to ensure that everyone understands the procedures in place.”
“Our aim now is to make a satisfactory trade for everyone and we are confident that we have provided this with our store and prime sales. The message is that as long as everyone sticks to strict guidelines, we will continue to trade.”
Full details of all H&H sales being held across its 9 auction marts along with trading guidelines can be found online at – www.harrisonandhetherington.co.uk.