NORTH-EAST livestock sector giant the ANM Group has fast-tracked a groundbreaking link up with the online livestock sales platform

The community-owned co-operative, based at Thainstone Mart, Inverurie, had planned to announce the service later this year but has accelerated work in response to the coronavirus outbreak and public health advice requiring people to keep their distance from each other.

ANM hopes that the online service will help those who are unable to attend live auction rings to continue to trade. The move follows the introduction of live online bidding at last week’s store cattle sale, which allowed buyers to participate in the sale remotely, and sellers to watch their stock being auctioned.

As of now, the platform – which provides an online portal for sales by private treaty across the UK – will make available the services of an experienced ANM auctioneer and valuer to everyone looking to buy or sell stock in Scotland. The arrangement becomes part of their standard internet sales offer north of the border.

ANM Group chief executive, Grant Rogerson, said: “The launch of this partnership has been in the pipeline for some time but fast-tracking the roll-out we had planned seems the sensible thing to do given the public health advice surrounding coronavirus, particularly for those in at-risk groups.

"Although our marts are trading as normal – responsibly and within Government guidelines – being at the live ring is unfortunately not an option for some of our buyers and sellers at this point in time. We hope this service coupled with live online bidding directly into the auctions ring will provide additional routes to market for livestock producers across Scotland.”

Mr Rogerson added: “We remain convinced that the best place to sell livestock is in the market ring, where buyers and sellers can both be sure of complete price transparency and immediate settlement at a fair price on the day. However, there has always been a proportion of livestock sellers who can’t, or won’t, make the commitment to bring their stock to the market ring for sale.

“For some, an internet listing is their preferred way to test the market, potentially avoiding transport and other costs. This announcement means that for those sellers, wherever they are in Scotland, they can benefit from our advice on selling online and support in doing so – including photography, listing advice, lotting support, payment services and screening of enquiries.

“This groundbreaking announcement puts qualified auctioneers at the heart of online transactions across Scotland.”

Director of SellMyLivestock, Andrew Loftus, said: "We're delighted to be working with one of the biggest and most respected livestock markets in the UK. This has been made possible by the trust that has been built up between us, and shows how the industry can work together in these difficult times”

ANM’s online commission rate for selling through the remains unchanged at 2%.