With new lockdown rules and regulations proving to be a hurdle for live ringside sales already this year, Highland cattle breeders will have the opportunity to sell stock at more than one auction in the coming weeks.

As well as United Auctions’ live breed sale taking place on March 8 at the Moleigh-based mart, just outside Oban, the Highland Cattle Society’s official annual spring sale – usually held in February – will be run entirely online this year on March 1, with the help of the online livestock marketplace, SellMyLivestock.

“There is only one official Highland Cattle Society sale online, which is running separately to the pedigree Highland sale, at Oban, ran by United Auctions,” commented Jim Paice, president of the Highland Cattle Society.

“It is not a competition between the two sales, however, given the Covid-19 situation, the society felt that it was unrealistic for people to travel to Oban to buy or sell cattle.

“Oban is our traditional centre and at the heart of Highland cattle sales, however the society represents folds from all over the UK and this year we believed that an online sale would cater for more of our members who live further away,” he explained.

One benefit that consignors will gain by choosing to sell their cattle through SellMyLivestock is that the live sale can take place with the cattle remaining on the farm.

“United Auctions are proceeding with a live sale in the ring, but the main difference is that the animals still have to be at market to be sold, whilst our online sale doesn’t require cattle to leave the farm,” Jim added.

With entry numbers for the society’s official sale reaching 30, it looks to be a promising event for both vendors and prospective buyers, especially those from further afield.

“In these exceptional circumstances, we felt we had to create the opportunity for our members to sell their stock from home. The advice from the government is not to travel unnecessarily, although there are exceptions for taking stock to markets,” said Jim.

“We just take the view that it wouldn’t be responsible to encourage travelling, however, we also want to stress that this is one off event for this year and we are hopeful to be back in Oban in October for our autumn sale,” he commented.

With the society’s catalogue being released this week, buyers will still have to pre-register to attend the online sale, however, vendors will have the choice to promote their stock at both the society sale and United Auctions’ pedigree auction.

With a total of 60 entries, comprising 35 bulls and 25 females from 29 folds, United Auctions is hopeful for a buoyant sale, regardless of the current restrictions.

Its managing director, George Purves, commented: “We have got an abundance of regular consignors bringing stock to Oban in March for the annual sale.

“Most breeders like to show their cattle to the public and the feedback from our buyers is that they like to see cattle in the flesh. We have been conducting sales over the last year and adhering to guidelines all the way through – this ale shall be no different,” he added.

The format for the Oban sale kicks off on with the parade of cattle on Monday morning, at 10:30 followed by the sale at 12pm. All cattle shall be haltered and the UA team shall be taking telephone bids, as well as online bids. If you are planning on attending the sale, it shall be one person per business, with only serious buyers invited to attend.

For more information of both sales, please visit: https://www.uagroup.co.uk/ or https://www.highlandcattlesociety.com/