Yourbid, the Helmsman-style auction system, is coming to the UK for the first time for the Scott's and McGowan's on-farm sales at Fearn Farm, Easter Ross and Incheoch, Blairgowrie, respectively.

The two farming families who have been staging successful on-farm sales for a number of years now are bringing this new style of selling for the Fearn Farm sale on August 28, while the McGowan's Working Genes event is due to be staged on September 3.

The Yourbid system was developed by David and George Giddings of Meadowslea Genetics, New Zealand, for their recent Angus sales, and allows producers in the UK the opportunity to bid from the comfort of their farm office, tractor seat, or in person on-farm where social distancing measures will need to be observed.

Similar to a silent auction, all lots are for sale at the same time.

Neil McGowan explains: “The main difference will be that the hammer will come down only once, after there are no further bids on any lot. This gives you every chance to keep bidding, either on your first choice or change to another lot either later or earlier in the catalogue.”

Videos of all lots with commentary on their performance figures will be available before both sales, and stock can be viewed by arrangement.

John Scott said: “We plan to have bidding up and running on-line for a week before the sale, but things should get interesting in the last hour or so on sale day. We expect that Covid 19 will encourage most bidders to operate from home but wanted to make it possible for those who want to be here to do so.”

Prospective buyers attending on-farm will need to pre-register and will be able to view a large screen where they can bid, using either a smart phone or bidding slips through auctioneers. Both businesses will continue to use Dingwall Highland Marts and United Auctions respectively to accept and input bids on the day and to manage the financial side of the sale.

‘We have studied sales all over the world for some time and we consider the Helmsman system the fairest method for the buyer, with all the benefits of an auction but less pressure on bidders,’ said Neil McGowan of Incheoch Farms. ‘When we saw the Meadowslea team had added an on-line dimension to their sale, we were certain this was the way to work this year, with the risks of Coronovirus a concern for everyone.

Mr Scott added: “This is an exciting time for us as a business, we believe in our product and are delighted to be working with two other like-minded families to bring this concept to the UK, giving farmers and crofters the opportunity to buy the genetics they need to drive their flocks and herds forward in uncertain times”

Fearn will have 120, NZ Suffolk, Texel, Aberfield and Beltex rams and 300 NZ Suffolk and Aberfield gimmers available at their sale whilst Incheoch will have 100 Texel, Lleyn and Stormtrooper (Sufftex) rams and 19 Simmental, Angus and Luing bulls forward. Pre-sale viewing on both farms welcome by appointment.