SCOTTISH FARMERS can look forward to reduced costs for selling livestock through the live ring with Aberdeen and Northern Marts (ANM) – kicking off what could become a wave of commission rates’ wars.

In a bid to build greater value for its members, the co-operative, which operates livestock centres at Thainstone and in Caithness, sets a new precedence in having what are claimed this week to be the lowest commission rates in Scotland, and the lowest for more than 30 years.

As from January 1, 2020, commission rates on all stock will fall as low as 3% for all sales, with the maximum charge being reduced to 3.5%.

The co-operative, which has been community owned since 1872 and boasts in excess of 5000 members, is cutting commission rates by 0.3% to 3.5% for store and breeding sheep and cattle and almost 1% for prime sheep and cattle, to 3% – excluding VAT.

However, the reduced rates will only be available to shareholders in the co-operative, who will also receive an annual dividend on their investment. For all other livestock customers, commission rates will be held at their current levels of 3.5% and 3.8%, excluding VAT.

Grant Rogerson, chief executive of the ANM Group, said: “This announcement transforms our offer for those with livestock to sell and who are looking for access to one of the most vibrant markets in the UK, at commission rates that set new standards in value for the farming community. However, access to these rates will be exclusive to the members of our co-operative – existing and new customers can easily unlock these rates by investing as little as £500 in our community-owned business.

“At a time of uncertainty and change for the entire rural economy, this will be a significant boost to members, rewarding their continued loyalty. As an innovating co-operative, we fully expect that this will provide wider leadership for the entire livestock market sector.

“This positive step will further enhance benefits for members. But this is just the start – the more members that use the Mart, the more we can support them and their businesses. That’s the unique benefit of our co-operative business model.”