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Covid-19 and Autumn Livestock Markets

10 August 2020

For generations of farmers, livestock markets/marts have been the heart and soul of livestock farming.

Last year, collectively, the 10 Scottish Livestock Auction Companies sold 2.7 million head of livestock with a total sale value of £482.5 million.  While stock sold through the fat ring totalled 1.5 million in number and £168.4 million in sale value; the 1.2 million of livestock sold through the store ring, many of which were sold at autumn markets the length and breadth of the country was almost twice the value, at £314.1 million (Source: Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS)).

While over time many marts have relocated to the outskirts of towns for ease of access and others have evolved into large agri-business complexes; they have continued to provide a valuable social hub for farmers and farming communities.  However, they have all had to adapt in the face of industry crises like BSE and Foot and Mouth Disease to new working practices, and while Covid-19 is a human disease, all auction marts must comply with the new Scottish Government Auction Market Guidelines.

New Operational Guidelines for Markets

  • Face coverings are required in all enclosed areas. Social distancing must be adhered to.

Farmers/Hauliers Delivering & Picking up Livestock to/from Auction Markets

  • Prior to sale, check booking in arrangements with auction mart.
  • Hauliers/Farmers must remain in their vehicles until a loading bay space becomes available.
  • Farmers/Hauliers only to unload/uplift livestock into/from pens beside the loading bay.
  • Where possible, selling paperwork to be sent by email prior to the sale. Selling paperwork should not be taken to the mart office
  • Where paperwork has to handed to/collected from mart staff, social distancing must be adhered – minimum 2 metres.

Seller Access

  • From Monday 20th July, individual marts may allow one vendor per consignment to enter the mart premises to see their stock sold, subject to meeting all current Public Health and IAAS guidelines and in agreement with HSE/Local Authority officials.
  • In compliance with the Test and Protect system, Vendors must pre-register their attendance with their stock.
  • Vendors must not congregate and should leave the premises once their stock has been sold.


  • All buyers must pre-register their planned attendance at any sale in compliance with the Test and Protect system.
  • Buyers must sign in and out of auction mart premises
  • The number of buyers a sale can accept will depend on the size and layout of the sale rings.
  • From Monday 20th July marts may allow buyers to view stock held in the penning area before the sale commences, subject to meeting all current Public Health and IAAS guidelines and in agreement with HSE/Local Authority officials.
  • If required to enter the sales office, social distancing must be adhered to.

Pedigree Sales

  • While some large pedigree livestock sales have been cancelled for public safety, auction marts are working very hard to continue to hold smaller sales/use alternative venues when and where possible.
  • Contact Auction marts/view Auction company websites online for up-to date sale details.

 Machinery & Implement Sales

  • While Machinery & Implement sales are to be held online/by telephone/remote bidding only, viewing days may be available in advance.

Live Streaming of Sales & Live Bidding

  • For farmers unable to attend a livestock sale, some auction marts are offering free live streaming of sales and a live online bidding service.
  • Prior to the sale potential buyers have to register with their chosen mart for the Live Bidding Service.
  • Some Auction Company websites offer an online Live Bidding tutorial to explain the process prior to registration.

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