New IAAS president Scott Donaldson said auctions were hoping to build on encouraging figures in 2016
Throughput at Scottish auction marts jumped last year, highlighting the vital role marts play in the livestock sector, the new Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) president Scott Donaldson said.
In recent years there had been a downward trend in throughputs and values. But in 2016, the value of livestock through IAAS members increased by £778,794 to about £512 million.
Mr Donaldson said auctions were hoping to build on these ‘encouraging’ figures.
“Despite some movement away for primestock in particular, we are holding our numbers. Auctions are offering a professional business with top-class facilities,” he said.
More than 2.3m head of sheep were sold last year, an increase of 2.36 per cent, and the amount of cattle sold rose by 1.5 per cent to 387,997.
Mr Donaldson added auctions needed to offer as much as possible to rural communities.
“There are less people on farms and less time to meet with your neighbours,” he said.
“In Scotland, markets are getting more spread out. Time spent meeting with others at the local market has got to be a good thing for farmers.”
In the prime cattle and over 30 month sector, numbers and values fell although the average value remained the same at £869. Prime sheep numbers also fell but value increased by 0.85 per cent.
Mr Donaldson, sales director at Harrison and Hetherington, was announced as the new IAAS president at its AGM in Edinburgh. He replaced retiring president Willie McCulloch of Lawrie and Symington.
Mr Donaldson said: “I started in the business in Scotland and I was always involved in IAAS as a young man. It is an honour.”
He added he was optimistic for the future of the auction mart.
“Brexit may offer some challenges to the livestock farmer, but auctions are hoping to drive forward,” he added.
Past president David Leggat was also made an honorary member of IAAS.
Mr McCulloch said Mr Leggat had ‘represented the IAAS for more than 40 years as president and council member and has contributed a great deal to the IAAS and the livestock industry’.