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“We have put up the fight but in the meantime we’re going to make this work” so says a local mart manager as facilities in Carlow & Kilkenny move online

Both Kilkenny & Tullow marts are adhering to Covid-19 restrictions

When it comes to the country’s marts, level 5 restrictions have seen many move proceedings online.

Eric Driver manages Tullow Mart and last night on our Glanbia Farm Show he outlined how it’s working saying “They can bring their cattle to the sale, they onload the cattle and leave them in the care of the mart staff, so they come with us to the cattle crush they exchange the cards, express the way they want them put and then they have to make themselves scarce is the easiest way of putting it in the layman’s terms, now they can stay on site but they have to stay in their vehicle or they can go home, they can watch the sale then from the MartEye app in our instance or through whatever sales platform is being used”.

He also says it’s not easy noting “It’s very different because you’re looking at a computer screen and that’s feeding you the information, but look nevertheless the art of auctioneering has to be carried out, you have to value the animal in the ring, you have to try & open the animal at a price and ensure that a good market value is being upheld, it’s a harder task than having the farmers around the ring for the auctioneer certainly because you’re not in control of such as where your auction bidding is going but look it the platform has come on well in the last number of months we have made lots of developments in it, we’ve our increment bidding of 20, 10, five so the auctioneers can play a role in this”.

And Mr Driver concludes “We will do everything in our power for to get the farmer over the line, to get the buyer in a position where they are comfortable to bid for the stock they want to purchase and we will keep the auction alive, I have to be positive about it, it’s definitely a very difficult situation that the government have put us in, we could be very growling about that, I have spoken to the Minister for Agriculture, I have raised it with the Taoiseach’s office but through ALM levels, the Association of Livestock Marts, and as a privately owned mart as well, we have put up the fight but in the meantime we’re going to make this work”.

Kilkenny Mart …

Kilkenny’s Mart has experienced four different ways of trading this year from normal selling to tender selling, half online and yesterday they went full online.

Manager there is Michael Lynch and he outlines “It presents a lot of challenges because with all the Covid-19 level 5 restrictions the sellers had to come, drop their cattle & go home, the buyers could only come in for an our to view them from the cat walk, then we had to remove everybody at half past ten, they had to leave the premises and we started out sale at 11 o’clock of about a thousand cattle and not a sinner in the rings, the pens, anywhere only the staff and everyone in the country was bidding online”.

Going full online yesterday (Thursday, 22nd October) was different but turned out okay according to Mr Lynch who says “You would be a bit anxious obviously when you don’t know how it’s going to go I suppose the positives were it went well, a lot of people bid online and the prices were good, I think people would be happy enough, sure in every sale there’s excellent prices and there’s mediocre prices, but overall it went well, people would b happier in the ring and a lot of people particularly standing in the catwalks to look down on the cattle they’re not as happy to do that but look we live in a strange time, people do understand that as well, the resilience of the buyers & sellers to deal with the changing challenges is admirable”.

He also says while numbers were lower than usual, that looks set to improve commenting “There’s definitely people that didn’t bring cattle in, they told us, they just wanted to wait and see, which is perfectly understandable, now based on what happened today I think they’ll have plenty confidence to come the next day and, I suppose, if it happend in July people could say ‘I’ll wait for three or four weeks and I’ll keep them on grass’, we’re in October people need to sell for either money purposes or grass is changed and they don’t have sheds they need to sell, it’s not a great time for this to be happening so it’s important it goes well”.

KCLR News brings you updates from the local marts in our main lunchtime news at on Tuesdays & Fridays. And don’t forget to join Matt O’Keeffe every Thursday from 7pm for the Glanbia Farm Show with a repeat on Sunday mornings.