21 May 1999

Clitheroe market moves primestock sales to Tuesdays

By Jeremy Hunt

CLITHEROE Auction Mart is moving its primestock sale day from Monday to Tuesday from Jun 1 because the market, which currently handles around 500 lambs, 50 clean cattle and 100 ewes a week, is one of five within a 25-mile radius – Skipton, Haslingden, Lancaster, Brock and Kendal – currently trading in primestock on Mondays.

It is intended that the move will reduce competition between Monday marts and boost the number of buyers, helping to reduce the current squeeze on live selling.

The closure of nearby Preston Auction Mart, already widely rumoured, would make Clitheroe the only market offering a Tuesday primestock auction within a 100-mile radius.

Clitheroes senior auctioneer John Swingler says the switch to Tuesday will give the market a stronger position among the regions markets by offering an alternative sale day.

"It will alleviate the pressure on farmers to draw and prepare stock on Sundays, it will avoid the four bank holiday Mondays and it will enable more buyers to procure stock from Clitheroe because there will not be a clash with other markets trading on Mondays.

"More buyers have pledged their support for the new sale day and I have not had one farmer complain about the change," says Mr Swingler, who adds that the market will also be able to rent out its extensive car park area for "other uses" on bank holiday Mondays.

The market will continue to hold its store sales on Friday and its huge sale of poultry and sundries every Wednesday evening.

Lancs beef and sheep farmer John Stott is a staunch supporter of Clitheroe Auction Mart. He believes the decision to move primestock selling to Tuesday will help farmers and buyers and ultimately strengthen the markets position within the region.

"Farming is bound up with traditions but there comes a time when changes have to be made for sound business reasons.

"Monday is not everyones ideal day for selling primestock. Lambs have to be drawn and selected on the farm on Sunday and that puts a lot of additional pressure on farming families especially when labour is not always on hand.

"I know there are new buyers who have said they will now come to Clitheroe because of the move to Tuesday," says Mr Stott of Laund Farm, Chipping, near Preston.

Abattoirs in the region have made it known that they welcome any changes markets can make to their sale dates to help the meat industry spread the weekly "kill".

John Martin, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Assoc-iation, says Monday trading of primestock hailed from the days when butchers were the predomin-ant buyers and closed their shops on Monday to buy stock from markets.

"Over 50% of the UKs primestock is traded on Mondays and Tuesdays. Marts must ensure they continue to offer the best service to their farmer customers and a consistent supply of stock to the trade," he says. &#42