Auc­tion ad­vice

A be­gin­ner’s guide

Country Smallholding - - Welcome -

If you’ve never been to an auc­tion of any kind be­fore, the idea of vis­it­ing your lo­cal sale may seem a tad in­tim­i­dat­ing. I know it did for me the first time I vis­ited, with images of my­self scratch­ing my head, stretch­ing my arms, or hold­ing up my hand to cover a cough and in­ad­ver­tently buy­ing a herd of wa­ter buf­falo or such­like by mis­take. Yet, with a re­cent sur­vey by the Live­stock Auc­tion­eers As­so­ci­a­tion (LAA) re­veal­ing that 93% of farm­ers use im­por­tant auc­tion mar­kets as a re­li­able method of buy­ing or sell­ing their stock, it show­cases the im­por­tance of such mar­kets still in the coun­try­side.

These ru­ral sales cer­tainly pro­vide small­hold­ers with op­por­tu­nity to se­lect from a large range of live­stock. Whether you have a par­tic­u­lar breed in mind, or are look­ing to de­cide, the huge va­ri­ety on of­fer can help you work out which is best for you and your plot. The LAA says that ex­tended mar­ket reach, prompt pay­ments and the com­pe­ti­tion of the ring are a ma­jor draw for both sellers and buy­ers.

“Auc­tion marts of­fer a mar­ket­place for all cat­e­gories of stock, and the abil­ity to sell in suit­able batches, often with the help and guid­ance of the auc­tion­eer, helps achieve the best price. Our re­cent re­search cer­tainly backs this up,” ex­plained Chris Dodds, LAA ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary.

Such events are also a pop­u­lar so­cial out­ing for many, and over time you’ll get to recog­nise and know the reg­u­lars. For new small­hold­ers in par­tic­u­lar they can be a good way of get­ting to meet oth­ers in your area.

TIPS AND IDEAS FOR BE­GIN­NERS Go along and ob­serve first

Rather than rush­ing into the process it can be help­ful to at­tend an auc­tion first just to watch, chat to oth­ers and learn to fol­low what goes on. Just keep­ing up with the auc­tion­eer can be a tad con­fus­ing till you get the hang of it so this is a good way of ac­cli­ma­tis­ing your­self to the noisy, fast paced ac­tion. This way you can watch it all from a re­laxed po­si­tion, get­ting a feel for

the sys­tem so when you go along to bid for real you’ll have a much bet­ter idea of what you’re do­ing.

Take a sea­soned auc­tion at­tendee with you

This is what I did the first time I went and it made the process a lot eas­ier to ne­go­ti­ate. Not only will your mar­ket vet­eran prob­a­bly know half the peo­ple there but they can also guide you through the sys­tem.

Get there early

It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have a good look at the an­i­mals be­fore you even con­sider mak­ing a bid for them. If you’re not sure what to look out for in a healthy an­i­mal then take some­one along who does and can help you. Speak­ing to the own­ers can be use­ful as well so you can ask any ques­tions you might have and get a fur­ther idea of the stock. Nowa­days it’s sen­si­ble to also look the breed­ers up on­line. This way you can check if any­one has posted any com­ments about them, ei­ther good or bad pre­vi­ously.

If it’s your first auc­tion then I’d also recommend in­tro­duc­ing your­self to the auc­tion­eer if you can so they can recog­nise you in a larger crowd. Tell them you might be bid­ding to­day.

Don’t ap­pear too keen

I’ve heard this said by a few peo­ple. It’s best to hold back on mak­ing the first bid to see how the land lies, price­wise. The auc­tion­eer might drop back on the price this way and also you can see who else might have an in­ter­est in buy­ing so you can bide your time on de­cid­ing whether that in­cludes you.

Mak­ing an ac­tual bid

Hold­ing your bid­ding num­ber up (which you ob­tain from the of­fice prior to the auc­tion) is the best bet as a be­gin­ner. Look at the auc­tion­eer when do­ing so to make sure he (or she) has clocked and ac­knowl­edged your bid. Then it’s time to be ex­tra vig­i­lant and keep as calm as pos­si­ble to see how the bid­ding pans out. Hav­ing a max­i­mum price in mind is es­sen­tial to help stop you get­ting car­ried away in the ex­cite­ment of the mo­ment (be­lieve me this is easy to do). Other­wise a fur­ther nod to the auc­tion­eer if you’re agree­ing a bid, or if the price goes above your max­i­mum avoid eye con­tact or shake your head for a ‘no’, keep your hands and card down out of sight to be on the safe side till bid­ding moves on.

Col­lect­ing your live­stock

So you’ve won the bid, then it’s just a case of tak­ing your bid­ding num­ber back to the of­fice so you can pay for your live­stock and ob­tain a re­ceipt which en­ables you to claim your cho­sen an­i­mals.

Rather than rush­ing into the process it can be help­ful to at­tend an auc­tion first just to watch, chat to oth­ers and learn to fol­low what goes on.

Piglets at the mar­ket.

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