BY JEREMY HUNT

This week’s announcement that Cheshire auctioneers Wright Manley and Frank Marshall have decided to merge is clearly a sound business decision for both companies. But every livestock producer, and not just those within shouting distance of their proposed new auction centre to be built at Middlewich, should be heartened by the news.

 

The importance of auction marts should never be underestimated. Their role in the social framework of our rural communities has been inestimable through good times and bad, while the transparency of trading afforded by the auction system – and its core role in setting a true market value – remains its enduring strength.

 

But we can no longer get too carried away with the comfort of tradition. Many livestock markets have been under sustained pressure and there have been casualties along the way that have inevitably driven some to seek other ways of selling stock. So the announcement of the new company – Wright Marshall – and the creation of a purpose built market to be opened in summer 2015, sends a positive message to the industry about the future of the auction mart system.

 

Alternatives to live trading have won business from producers who feel strapped for time to take stock to market or to sit and bid at the ringside. But if the facilities and marketing arrangements of our “new age” auction marts can provide a modern, fast and efficient system of buying and selling stock, they will continue to keep pace with the needs of livestock producers and ensure we retain the fairest and truest method of stock valuation.