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Small is beautiful at Bryncir Market

Bryncir Auction Centre was taken under John Lloyd and Hughes Auctioneers’ management in 2001, at the time of Foot and Mouth. Laura Bowyer paid a visit to see how things have moved on since.

After the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001, it was not uncommon to hear of livestock markets closing or amalgamating, with the emphasis on scale of operation.


But farmers in north west Wales were not prepared to let that happen to Bryncir market.


With the nearby marts at Llanrwst bought by another firm and Talycafn closing down in the wake of the crisis, things were looking grim when Bryncir closed its doors after the crisis too.


However, local farmers and both the Welsh farming unions decided they would not let this facility disappear. The NFU and FUW got together to start a fund to buy the market and, all-in-all, some 240 shareholders clubbed together, raising £130,000 to put towards the £250,000 needed to buy the site.


This attracted the interest of two professionals working on Anglesey at the time, valuing stock for foot-and-mouth compensation.


John Huw Hughes and John Lloyd Williams, both sons of local farmers, got involved to buy the roadside site. They formed Bryncir Auction Centre and the firm of Lloyd Williams and Hughes Auctioneers has now been running the market for 14 years.


Seven local farmers are part of the working group responsible for running the facility.


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Legislation and movement restrictions dictated the site was initially used as a foot-and-mouth cleaning and disinfection centre, but the firm staged a machinery sale in November 2001 and carried out some dispersals, as well as facilitating farm to farm livestock sales.


It was not until March 2002 the first livestock sale was held at the site – a sale of store cattle.


The region is historically store cattle country – and this is what the market specialises in.


Between 5,000 and 6,000 stores go through Bryncir a year, peaking at up to 500 per week in September and October.


Mr Lloyd Willams said: “All our cattle sales are catalogued, enabling orderly marketing. We do the numbering and lotting on Monday mornings. This ensures a seller’s stock are all put through the ring together, because farmers save money in coming to their local market, and some might make several journeys with loads of stock. We are lucky the market here is supported so well by the locals.


“We are in a good location. We cover the whole of North Wales, from the Lleyn across to Anglesey and to Meirionydd in the South.”


Mr Hughes, said: “We have been able to keep up the strong numbers from when we first reopened.


Quality stock attracts buyers and many of the stores which go through the ring at Bryncir end up in Anglesey or on the Lleyn Peninsula, but also into England and as far as Scotland.


We are the most westerly market in Wales and the quality of stock draws buyers in.”


The regular week at Bryncir

The regular week at Bryncir:

  • Monday store cattle sale, store lambs, rams and breeding ewes
  • Monthly calf and stirk sales also on Wednesdays
  • Annually, Wednesday sales see 50,000 lambs, 20,000 cull ewes and 1,500 cull cows
  • 10 docks and 350 pens; one sale ring

Special and society sales at Bryncir:

  • Sheep fair (breeding sheep) - August
  • Ram fair - August
  • Cwm Pennant and Cwmystdrall Yn Flockmasters sale of hardy breeding ewes – October and April
  • Rare and minority breeds – October and April
  • Breeding cow sales – May and June
  • North Country Cheviots
  • North Wales Suffolk Sheep Association
  • North Wales Charollais Sheep Society
  • Special sales of breeding ewes and stock rams of all breeds
  • Welsh Mountain ram sale
  • On-farm Welsh Mountain sale of the stock at Gwastadanas Farm
  • Christmas fatstock sale of finished cattle

What has improved since the market purchase?

  • New sheep pens
  • Safer cattle handling facility
  • Addition of a cafe
  • Improved car park
  • Addition of an effluent tank

Who is who?

  • John Huw Hughes, director and financial controller, and cattle auctioneer
  • John Lloyd Williams, director, also sells cattle
  • Iolo Ellis, sheep auctioneer
  • Iona Lloyd Roberts, market office manager
  • Rhian Jones Hughes, office supervisor
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