Livestock increase through marts

Six months ago Harrison & Hetherington (H&H) became the largest livestock auctioneering company in the UK when it amalgamated with John Swan & Sons to run St Boswells and Wooler marts.

H&H believe there is potential to increase the usage of the facilities at both sites.

Through increasing the services offered to customers and the number of people on the ground at both St Boswells and Wooler, H&H has already begun to see an increase in the number of livestock coming through the marts.

The primary focus is on prime stock and store sales, however, the introduction of deadweight collections of cast cows and prime sheep, as well as farm to farm sales, offers the customer who has sought an alternative marketing route more options.

All of these services are already operating successfully across their seven other marts across Cumbria and South West Scotland.

H&H has outlets for every class of store and breeding cattle and sheep, as well as the expertise to operate pedigree sales at all sites.

The company is in the strongest of positions to market all types of stock in the most cost effective and efficient manner.

Harrison & Hetherington sales director, Scott Donaldson, said: “Despite an overall reduction in livestock numbers in the area, there remains a concentration of quality livestock in north Northumberland and the Borders, and from our livestock centres at St Boswells and Wooler, we want to work with producers to maximise potential markets.

“I strongly believe that there is a major role for livestock auctions to be involved in the marketing of livestock, and through the marketing network of our nine livestock centres H&H are able to offer the most comprehensive and encompassing service to livestock farmers.”

In recent weeks H&H has seen an improvement in the prime sheep trade.

Although the company has seen a tightening of numbers in some centres, the weakening of the pound has opened up opportunities in the export market.

With the influence of beneficial fluctuations in the exchange rate, prospects are positive for new season lamb, and there has been genuine interest from abattoirs wishing to support H&H in the spring season.

Currently it is right in the middle of the store cattle selling season, and Wooler mart has increased numbers and price trends, which is a great credit to the farmers in the area.

One of the most recent H&H events was the annual spring sale of native bred store cattle, which was held on Thursday, March 24, at St Boswells mart.

This is a showcase event for native cattle; particularly Aberdeen Angus bred in the Scottish Borders. The event is also the biggest one day sale of Aberdeen Angus cattle in the country.

Aside from livestock sales, H&H intend to grow the machinery sales at St Boswells and Wooler, which have become a regular feature at both sites. These have proved to be very popular.

Mr Donaldson added: “We are overwhelmed with the positive response we have received from customers in North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

“They have been made us feel very welcome since taking on Wooler and St Boswells centres and we are greatly optimistic about the future.”