By John Burns

THE British Simmental Cattle Society is combining modern technology with the skills of traditional livestock auctioneers for its main bull sale this year.

Foot-and-mouth has prevented all but two of the normal 15 UK-wide live auctions of Simmentals this year, and better bulls are proving difficult to price without an auction system.

“Because of foot-and-mouth we needed to avoid gathering people together, but we still wanted to use the auctioneers knowledge of the breed and their expertise in valuing and negotiating deals,” says breed secretary Roger Trewhella.

The solution was provided by Exmoor-based Shearwell Data, which produced a custom-built website with a catalogue of 50 bulls for sale, along with a bidding system.

But buyers without internet facilities can still take part, Mr Trewhella points out. A paper catalogue can be obtained from the breed society, or they can use a local auctioneers internet facilities.

Bids are made through the schemes appointed auctioneers by phone, fax or e-mail. They are then posted on the web-site summary catalogue.

Breeders can accept a bid at any stage during the sale period, which opens on Nov 1 and closes on Dec 6.

British Simmental Cattle Associiation