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Optimism at UK auction marts despite the weather issues

Farmers on the ground at Harrison and Hetherington were optimistic for the future, despite the current weather concerns.

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Optimism at auction marts despite challenges ahead

Livestock farmers at UK auction marts are optimistic for the future, despite current concerns around the impact of the weather conditions around the UK.

 

That was the message from David Pritchard and Scott Donaldson, after they were announced as joint managing directors at the UK’s largest livestock trading company, Harrison and Hetherington (H&H).

 

Mr Donaldson said: “The focus over the last two months has certainly changed and the weather, unfortunately, is the big issue.

 

“It is going to create challenges for our customers, probably for us, as values may fall as livestock gets marketed at different times because there is less fodder and less grass.”


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But aside from the weather, both believed there was a lot of optimism on the floor.

 

Confidence

 

"We have certainly seen some tremendous values for livestock over the last six months and from that point of view the customers are quite confident.”

 

And they were looking to remain as connected as possible to the people on the ground.

 

"That is one of our main strengths – that we are on the ground level, we both had white coats on this afternoon chasing cows around at the market,” Mr Donaldson added.

 

Going forward, their plans were to continue to offer the service their customers demanded, with the weekly sales the ’bread and butter of the business’.

 

Mr Pritchard said there had been major changes in the industry during his and Mr Donaldson’s careers.

 

He said: "The majority of livestock did go through a livestock market. We offer farm to farm trading, offer direct to abattoir. We offer what our customer wants and try and offer that service as best we can to meet their needs."

 

Mr Donaldson added he was confident the position the auction system had within the industry was crucial to the success of the livestock businesses they served.

 

He said their value as a social hub should not be underestimated.

 

Social

 

"Farming can be a very lonely business. If you come to an auction market you can compare how good or bad it is with your neighbour,” he said.

 

And the livestock business remained at the heart of the entire H&H group and that would never change, according to newly-appointed group chief executive Richard Rankin.

 

"The rest of the businesses are there to support our customers. These guys deliver the services they really come for,” said Mr Rankin.

 

"We try to cover a few requirements that they are going to need in their working life and be there."

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