Sheep farmers will soon be able to market prime lambs and cull ewes online for a guaranteed deadweight price.
The new marketing option is the latest addition to SellMyLivestock’s (SML) online bidding system and will officially launch on Thursday (31 January).
Lambs and cull ewes will be sold and graded on the EUROP-grid on a deadweight basis to processors.
Vendors will be charged a flat rate of 50p a lamb sold to cover running costs and credit insurance for all registered buyers.
Seven processors have already signed up, equating to a total kill of 4 million lambs, which SML said is around 25% of the sheep kill of England and Wales (14 million lambs, 2 million ewes).
Accepted prices are, unless otherwise stated, the price for lambs delivered to the processor. Collected prices will be developed in the future.
Plans are in place to add a prime cattle marketing feature to the website later in 2019, according to Andrew Loftus, commercial director at Hectare Agritech, the parent company of SellMyLivestock .
“Greater transparency is a key issue within the primestock market,” said Mr Loftus. “We’re committed to providing more transparent solutions so that farmers are rewarded for producing stock that meet clear market requirements; and to making the whole process as efficient as possible.
“This is the only way UK agriculture can compete in the future – clear market signals, more stock within specification and lower transaction costs.”
- 50p a lamb commission
- Batches of 20 lambs required as minimum
- 70% of SLM’s users sell finished stock
- Approximately 25% of the UK’s beef and lamb producers are already signed up to SML
How it works
Two trading days run each week, on Tuesday and Thursday. A two-and-a-half-hour bidding period is followed by a three-and-a-half-hour decision period, during which farmers can look at prices and distances and decide whether to accept any bids.
Animals are marketed by uploading weight, grade, gender and breed information. Pictures, videos and actual individual weights can be uploaded to improve seller ratings.
During the decision period farmers can compare bids and payment schemes, factoring in possible penalties and collection or delivery arrangements and travel times, explained Mr Loftus.
He added: “Farmers can walk away and not accept any bids. When they do accept a bid it is underwritten by Hectare as all registered buyers are credit-insured.”
- Farmers must be Farm Assured and upload estimated weights and grades and breed and gender information of lambs.
- Farms can also upload videos, pictures or actual individual weights of lambs using electronic weigh-head data.
Tuesday and Thursday 10am-12:30pm
Tuesday and Thursday 12:30pm-4pm
Vendor behaviour will be reported through a seller-rating system. Farms that provide accurate information on lamb weights can develop a better rating over time.
“Seller ratings will also be affected if a farmer is using the website as a means of testing the market but never actually selling anything,” said Mr Loftus. “It’s perfectly fine to not sell when people think the price could be better elsewhere, but eventually the seller rating will diminish.”