Enniskillen mart goes online

LIFE on the farm goes on under lockdown with spring bringing the birth of lambs and calves as the cycle of another year begins. On Thursday last Enniskillen Ulster Farmers Mart held its first online sale. Over 200 buyers registered with thousands of bids recorded as the sale got underway. Commenting on the sale James Johnston director of the local livestock mart said, “It went very well. There is a lot of work involved in setting up for these online sales compared to a normal sale. “There is a huge demand from buyers with 200 buyers registered and a total of 200 cattle for sale on the first day and the vast majority of them sold as there was a really strong trade.”
The success of the first sale and strong demand from buyers and sellers has meant plans are in place to run online sales from Enniskillen on a regular basis. “We’re planning to run at least two sales a week for the foreseeable future. We may even stretch it out to three a week depending on demand,” Mr Johnston said. Setting up to sell online was arranged quickly, but Mr Johnston explained the limits of using the system. “Working online it takes longer to run a sale as you can’t take the same number of cattle. Say on a Thursday we would have had six different rings set up selling six different types of cattle, and five of those rings would have been going at the one time, whereas now we are having to stagger it.”
Using online selling is a first for the local mart, Mr Johnston remarked, “During the foot and mouth crisis years ago there were video sales at that time it wasn’t online.” Yesterday (Tuesday) the second online sale took place, this time with bullocks and heifers in the ring. “A lot of farmers are in a position where they have to free up space and they have been very positive about these sales. We are fully booked for next week and have already began to take bookings for the following week. People are very keen to use this service to keep things moving.”

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