H&H optimistic about future of local marts with more livestock coming through

Sales director Scott Donaldson with H&H staff at Wooler.
Sales director Scott Donaldson with H&H staff at Wooler.

Six months ago Harrison & Hetherington (H&H) became the largest livestock auctioneering company in the UK when it amalgamated with John Swan & Sons to run St Boswells and Wooler marts.

Six months ago Harrison & Hetherington (H&H) became the largest livestock auctioneering company in the UK when it amalgamated with John Swan & Sons to run St Boswells and Wooler marts.

The company is very optimistic about the future and believes there is potential to increase the usage of the facilities at both sites.

By increasing the services offered and the number of people on the ground at both St Boswells and Wooler, H&H has already begun to see greater numbers of livestock coming through the marts.

The primary focus is on prime stock and store sales but the introduction of deadweight collections of cast cows and prime sheep, as well as farm-to-farm sales, is offering customers more options.

All of these services are already operating successfully across H&H’s seven other marts across Cumbria and South West Scotland.

Sales director Scott Donaldson said: “Despite an overall reduction in livestock numbers in the area, there remains a concentration of quality livestock in north Northumberland and the Borders, and from our livestock centres at St Boswells and Wooler, we want to work with producers to maximise potential markets.

“I strongly believe that there is a major role for livestock auctions to be involved in the marketing of livestock, and through the marketing network of our nine livestock centres, H&H is able to offer the most comprehensive and encompassing service to livestock farmers.”

He added: “We are overwhelmed with the positive response we have received from customers in North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

“They have been made us feel very welcome since taking on Wooler and St Boswells centres and we are greatly optimistic about the future.”

In recent weeks H&H has seen an improvement in the prime sheep trade.

Although the company has seen a tightening of numbers in some centres, the weakening of the pound has opened up opportunities in the export market. With the influence of beneficial fluctuations in the exchange rate, prospects are positive for new season lamb, and there has been genuine interest from abattoirs wishing to support H&H in the spring season.

Currently it is in the middle of the store cattle selling season, and Wooler mart has increased numbers and price trends, which is a great credit to farmers in the area. One of the most recent H&H events was the annual spring sale of native bred store cattle, held last month at St Boswells mart. This is a showcase event for native cattle, particularly Aberdeen Angus bred in the Scottish Borders. The event is also the biggest one-day sale of Aberdeen Angus cattle in the country.

H&H also intends to grow machinery sales at St Boswells and Wooler, which have become a regular and popular feature at both sites.