IN AN effort to support livestock auction marts in their efforts to continue trading responsibly throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland has issued updated advice to its members.

IAAS believes that the continued operation of livestock marts is vital to ensure the supply of quality produce, give confidence to consumers across the country that supplies will be uninterrupted and provide reassurance to farmers and other primary producers that their cash flows will be maintained.

While people should check specific access and sale arrangements direct with individual auction companies, IAAS has made these updated recommendations -

For farmers delivering livestock to auction marts:

• Deliveries made to marts as normal via livestock trailers/hauliers. Hauliers/farmers to unload livestock into pens beside loading bay. Farmer/haulier to leave premises;

• Mart staff to collect livestock from the loading bay pens and pen up in the mart;

• Mart staff collect required paperwork from driver across biosecurity line or via email (preferable) ensuring maximum social distance is maintained.

For buyers coming to auction marts to purchase livestock:

• Any buyer must pre-register their attendance at any sale;

• Buyer must declare that they have not been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case nor have visited a high-risk area during the previous 14 days;

• Buyers to sign in and out of auction mart premises;

• Only pre-registered buyers will be allowed access to the mart;

• Buyers will be advised to keep a distance of two metres from each other around the auction ring. All rings have sufficient space to accommodate this spacing and marking of areas recommended;

• Suitable bio-security measures will be in place and available – hand washing facilities/hand gels/foot dips etc. Buyers will be expected to use these on entry and exit;

• No additional visitors will be admitted to the mart on sale days outside of key staff and registered buyers.

Removal of stock post auction:

• Hauliers/farmers arrive at mart in normal manner; however, they are to remain in vehicles until loading bay space becomes available;

• Reverse to loading bays and, from a safe distance, inform the mart staff of consignment to collect;

• Mart staff to deliver livestock to pens beside loading bays and haulier/farmer should complete the loading of the lorry/trailer. Mart staff to share paperwork with driver as required across the biosecurity line. Mart staff to retain maximum social distance possible from vehicle driver;

• Haulier/farmer leaves the site.

Food/Mart Cafes:

• Complete closure recommended.

IAAS executive director Neil Wilson said: “We are in continuous dialogue with the Scottish Government seeking guidance on this rapidly-evolving situation.

“It is vital for farmers, the rural economy and the wider food chain that marts can continue to operate during the COVID-19 crisis and especially during any government-imposed lockdown/quarantine type situation. Businesses and people depend on operational marts for their livelihoods.

“IAAS members absolutely agree that it is critical that human health is always protected. Our aim here is to present a workable solution to limit exposure to COVID-19 through marts whilst ensuring the livestock trade continues in a measurable and safe manner in the event of a lockdown situation.”