Scottish livestock auctions will continue during the latest lockdown and farmers and crofters are being encouraged to adopt a “drop and go” selling strategy.
The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IASS), which represents livestock auctioneers and markets, said the guidelines remained similar to those introduced last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since the first lockdown in March 2020 auction marts have been functioning under stringent protocols to ensure the continued operation of livestock auctions, meaning the supply of quality produce to the food chain has been uninterrupted and cashflows to farmers and other primary producers maintained,” said IAAS executive director Neil Wilson.
“Therefore, our guidelines to buyers, sellers and hauliers remains similar to those used for the majority of 2020 – only buyers should attend marts, and we strongly encourage the ‘drop and go’ policy for sellers.”
He said vendors are asked to email paperwork in advance and to make a booking with the mart before arrival.
Anyone dropping off animals at a mart is required to sit in their vehicle until an unloading spot becomes available and once the stock has been unloaded they are asked to leave their paperwork by the pen, if it was not possible to send by email, and leave the market.
“Only one buyer per business is advised and those who wish to attend must contact their mart to register for a particular sale,” added Mr Wilson.
“Since places are limited to maintain physical distancing at all times, only genuine buyers already known to marts will be admitted. The number of people allowed in will depend on the size and layout of each mart.”
He said all buyers attending a market must wear a face covering at all times, unless they are exempt for medical reasons, and they are encouraged to make use of hand-washing stations, sanitisers and foot dips.
Meanwhile, United Auctions has postponed next month’s Stirling Bull Sales due to the latest lockdown restrictions.
The first instalment of the sales, comprising Aberdeen-Angus, Beef Shorthorn, Lincoln Red, British Blue and Limousin cattle, will take place on February 20-22.
The second instalment, comprising Simmental, Salers and Charolais cattle, will take place from February 27 to March 1.