Speaking with Farmers at Northallerton Auction Mart

A great morning at the Auction Mart. I got to test out my knowledge of liveweight and deadweight, fat stock, store stock and cull cows, and was even given a quick test on identifying different breeds!

Northallerton Auction Mart has been going for over a 100 years and holds a twice weekly livestock auction. A loyal contingent of local regulars makes the Auciton Mart a friendly place with a good community vibe. Live auctions like the ones conducted at Northallerton are a good way for buyers and sellers to figure out a true market price for livestock – something that is often difficult when dealing in bulk with large supermarkets.

I spoke to dozens of farmers about the various issues on their mind. A topic that came up repeatedly was the 6-day standstill rule that prevents any livestock from being moved off a holding for six days after a new animal comes on to the premises. The rule makes life difficult for farmers and several years on from foot and mouth it is unclear whether it is still necessary in its current form. 

Other topics I spoke to farmers about included frustrations with electronic sheep tags, the behavior of supermarkets with regard to milk prices, and new greening requirements relating to European subsidy payments. Look out for more on all of these issues in later posts.